Thoughts on Fear

Today a man knocked on my door with a couple of rakes and a bag of trash bags, and he asked me if he could rake my leaves. I don’t usually open my door to strangers, but I did for some reason today. I told him no before I thought about it, and then he offered to do it for $20 and stressed that he was really fast and could have it done in a second. I told him my landlord usually has someone who does it for me (he doesn’t) and then I wished him luck.

I told him no before I thought about it because I don’t like interacting with people at all, especially at my house. More importantly, I live alone and I avoid having any sort of involvement at all with men I don’t know. I’ve lived alone a lot, and I feel perfectly comfortable with it, but I do try not to draw attention to it, and strange men dropping by out of nowhere make me nervous. Most people reading this will probably understand this and will say that it’s a wise apprehension to have. But really, I’m 99% certain that if I had allowed this guy to rake my yard, he would have raked my yard (which I did need done), been very happy for the money (which I could easily afford), and gone about his day.

I said no because of a fear that wasn’t really even very convincing. And sure, I can blame him for going door-to-door in this day and age, for persisting (however politely) after I said no the first time. But really, he didn’t do anything wrong. If you need money and can’t get a job for whatever reason, that’s a pretty decent way to go about earning it, or it would be if we weren’t all afraid of each other now.

I said no out of reflex. I felt bad about it as soon as I closed the door. And I’ve thought about it since, because I’ve been very judgmental this week about the various irrational ways that many people respond to fear.

Real fear is extremely remote in my life. I almost never have to confront it. Statistically speaking, I am one of the least likely women on the planet to come to harm, but even so, I do feel afraid sometimes. When I feel afraid, I try hard not to give into my fear. I tell myself very sternly that what I’m feeling is irrational, that it’s a fear that society has tried very hard to instill in me for various reasons that have little to do with reality and everything to do with keeping me in my place. And that works, when I have the time to be logical.

Still, today I saw that when I’m confronted with even the mildest whisper of potential threat, this is how I react — reflexively, without even thinking about it. I should remember this, and try to do better.


You might be familiar with FOMO — fear of missing out. It’s that thing where you overcommit and stay up later than you really want to, because you’re afraid that the one time you stay home (or leave early) the thing you’re missing will be really fun (even though nothing is ever any fun). I don’t suffer from FOMO, but I do suffer from a similar acronym, which I call FOAP, or fear of accidental participation.
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Belize City


After our caving adventure, it was time to leave the jungle, but we wanted to make our travel day count. We planned to take a cab to visit Xunantunich, one of the larger Mayan ruins in the area, and then come back to the hotel, pick up our bags, and try to catch a bus into Belmopan and from there to Belize City.  Continue reading

Actun Tunichil Muknal


Our main goal in San Ignacio was to take the Cave of the Crystal Maiden (Actun Tunichil Muknal or ATM cave) tour. This is a cave that you swim into and then alternately swim and wade for two miles underground. Then, you climb up on a ledge, and wander around through a ton of Mayan pottery, tools, and human remains. Although over 1000 years old (dating from 300-900AD), these artifacts are extremely well-preserved due to calcification from being underground.

Or something. I wasn’t totally clear on the preservation part.

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San Ignacio, Belize


Another day, another bus ride further into the jungle. San Ignacio, heart of the Cayo District, doesn’t have a bus station, so the bus lets off in the cute little town center. We then caught a cab up the steep hill to our resort. We’d decided to splash out on a bit fancier digs this time, and stayed at Cahal Pech, which had a sweeping view of the surrounding jungle, beautiful lawns full of flowering bushes and trails winding around little cabins, an outdoor dining porch and bar, and several pools, one of which had this incredibly bizarre-looking pterodactyl looming over it. Continue reading

Belmopan, Belize

The Blue Hole

After two days in Caye Caulker, E and I decided to head on into the jungle. We took a water taxi to Belize City, then a cab to the bus station, then a chicken bus to Belmopan. The bus was packed solid and boiling hot, but fortunately the bus ride went by relatively quickly. The landscape we passed was tropical farmland — lots of hot, exhausted horses with cattle egrets on their heads, crumbling pastel farmhouses, and the occasional large open-air bar/restaurant in the middle of nowhere. Continue reading

Snorkeling In Belize

All done!

Our group outing for the week was a snorkeling trip. My coworker, Denise, who planned our entire trip because she’s awesome, had reserved for us a super fancy-schmancy boat. I think that the first time anyone invites you on a boat trip, most people picture some sort of yacht and end up in a rusted out rowboat, so over the years, you learn to curb your expectations, boat-wise. But this boat was a very excellent boat, with a big comfortable deck and mats and beanbags to sprawl out on.

We rolled up to the first snorkel spot towering above everybody else in their little dinghies, like we were rappers or something. Continue reading

Soylent: The Final Update

It’s been quite awhile since I updated on my Soylent experiment. Since last we spoke, they seem to have finally worked out the kinks in the product, since some of the more annoying aspects of it stopped being a problem for me (*cough* gas *cough*). No subsequent versions have felt as filling and fully satisfying as the original formula for me, though; and long-time users on the forums say the same. Every subsequent version has seemed more refined and easier to digest, but more like a traditional protein shake in terms of satiety. I never again got the feeling that I had fully eaten and wasn’t remotely interested in more food, like I did with 1.0. So that was disappointing. Continue reading