I remember the exact spot where I did get this thought: It was in some white portable toilets-unit, while visiting a pop concert in Amsterdam. I had fled the new family house in the east of the country and returned to my native town, alone and seventeen. I struggled with lots of things, and one of them was my mom. Her mental health was always weak, and she was afraid most of the time.  While peeing, I suddenly understood: If you let in one fear to rule you, next day there will be two, as little spooky phantoms, multiplying themselves until you are not to be seen anymore, covered by little “spookjes”. Since that moment, I have always taken a stand against them. At that time, I had two phobias, one for dogs and the second one for walking outside at night. Undoubtedly induced by the Indonesian weed I was smoking. To get rid of them I forced myself to take walks in the parks, surrounded by lots and lots of dogs, and walking at night in the city, always concentrating on my low breathing. ( you can’t be afraid while using a low belly-breath, try it!)  Cold turkey, it took a lot, but it worked, gone where those phobias, and also for the rest of my life the marihuana. Years later, there was another very persistent “spookje”; Every time I would drive away from my music studio, it would ask me:” Hey, are you really sure you closed the locks like you should?” Good point, with all my instruments in there. But I refused to give in, never once went back to check. My poor mother served as an anti-hero, giving me a strong example as how not to proceed in life. Of course, there are good, functional fears too, rest assured, I’m not talking about those.

Rating from 1-10, what score would you give yourself today in managing fear?

( drawings saskia pfaeltzer)