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mount rushmore

Coping

Do It Afraid

November 9, 2017

I am a huge fan of Alfred Hitchcock films. North by Northwest is a favourite. To calm down after a Thanksgiving fiasco one year, it was an Alfred Hitchcock marathon we watched while eating pizza. Perhaps my love of the films blossomed because it marked a breakthrough in our marriage and coping with this disease. Strangely I get warm fuzzy feelings watching The Birds, Vertigo, Rear Window, and even Psycho because of that memory. North by Northwest has an amazing scene that is set on Mount Rushmore. As we drove up to the parking lot I felt excitement for the first time in months. I felt blessed as clouds rolled in. I felt capable of walking to see these famous carvings. Phrases from Teddy Roosevelt’s speeches and biographies came to me as I looked at his face. I recalled that Teddy Roosevelt was a sickly child. He was small and suffered from asthma, gasping for air at night. He was weak compared to other boys his age. Instead of caving in to this, he did exercises at home, slowly conditioning his body. Like me, he was riddled with fears. To prevail he simply did things afraid. He pretended he wasn’t afraid in order to overcome. I seemed to do that too. I was always scared. People said, “You are so brave. I couldn’t endure those treatments” and even, “You look so calm. You must be handling this well.”
The truth is I am often scared, silently fretting. I do not speak of these fears aloud very often. I do not allow the fears to have a voice or I would never be able to silence them. I choose to push through and do things afraid. I can convince myself that I am strong and brave. Fake it till I make it. Coinciding with the height of one scary situation was a trip to Mount Rushmore. My fears were mounting to the point of spilling out into a full blown panic attack. But looking at Teddy Roosevelt’s face carved in solid stone reminded me to press on, to do things afraid. Just because we are scared does not give us permission to quit. It was fitting to be at Mount Rushmore on July 4, to be bolstered by history and stone.