Friday, September 21, 2012

Cartoon 30: Be Careful, Not Afraid


I headed out to Colombia on my own about 2 and a half months ago and to be honest I was scared silly.  I said to myself, "I could eat bad food or get bitten by a huge bug and get sick and die!! What if I get robbed?? I could get kidnapped!" I was so scared to be the only one responsible for deciding what to do in an emergency situation.

I can now officially say that I have eaten bad food that made me sick and I got better.  I have been bitten by so many bugs that my legs match my favorite polka dot dress and I haven´t died yet.  My good friend was robbed and said it was the best thing that ever happened to her cuz she doesn´t have to deal with so much STUFF anymore.  And I was even kidnapped in Medellin! A guy was borrowing his friends taxi to drive himself home and he saw my friend and I looking for a cab. He thought we were cute so he decided to pick us up.  About five minutes into the ride he confessed that he was not actually a cab driver and that he had no idea how to get to where we wanted to go.  My heart stopped in my chest.  My friend spoke up fast saying, "Hahahaha you´re so funny, well why don´t you come get drinks with us?" (Her idea was to get us out of the car as soon as possible without causing the guy to escalate.) He agreed and we went to a bar.  After hanging out for a while he turned out to be a very nice kidnapper.  Just a normal guy with a really wierd way of picking up girls...

So I was really scared when I left for Colombia.  And fear is so powerful, after meeting so many people on this trip I would say that its got a pretty strong grip on most of us.  The first thing that people tell me about the places I´m going to are the dangers. They tell me about all the bad things that could happen there.  What´s up with that? 

Fear is so powerful.  In my vida, I have lived in fear of many things: being alone, getting sick, hurting myself, making a mistake, not knowing the right answer, not having what I need (money, companionship,_____). I have often lived my life trying to prevent these things from happening. I feel like life is teaching me that I can´t prevent them and once they do happen, they aren´t so bad.  Traveling alone has opened me up to be cared for by so many people. Its taught me that we are a generous, loving, protective species and adios to the few that are lost and trying to take advantage of others.  

When I first arrived to Colombia, I confessed to a friend my fears.  I said, "Everywhere I go I find people who tell me there´s danger at every turn. ´Be afraid of this!´´Be afraid of that!´ they say. How could I not be afraid of this world??" And she said, "Do they say ´Be afraid.´or ´Be careful.´ Although I do believe that we need to start talking about the fabulous things in the world instead of the dangers, what my friend said was just the redirection I needed.  The key is to be careful, full of care and attention in everything that I do.  Trusting the wisdom of my actions helps me let go of the fear that breeds anxiety and inaction.  

So thank you to Natalia and to life for teaching me to be comfortable as a lone cowgirl holdin´on to caution but throwin´fear to the wind.   


  1. I really enjoyed this post! It made me think of how much we are exposed to a fearfull life, mostly everywhere in the world but I guess Latin American countries fit into the stereotype of wild and dangerous places. In the end, everything can be dangerous when fear is the lense through which one sees life and I´m afraid we´ve been learning too well to live our lives in fear (mostly thanks to TV, newspapers, radio and other people´s fears). I´m glad you showed us the difference and I personally take this as an invitation to think what kind of fears limits my will. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Mariana thank you so mucho for sharing your thoughts. Yes! Its so damaging to us that the majority of what is broadcast about the world is the violence and catastrophy! There are waaaaaaay more beautiful things going on than tragic things. Arg it really makes me mad that what is shown is not chosen to enhance our lives but to enhance T.V. ratings! Time to re-prioritize. Hrumph.

  2. Hi Sara, my friend, I am Melita ... we smoke the pipe in the boat. From Brazil to Iquitos.
    Contact Profavor, my Facebook is Melita Pérez Pérez.