When I was a small child, I was afraid of a lot of things. I would curl into a ball on the couch when my mother vacuumed, afraid I would get sucked in; I had to be out of the bathtub before my mother could turn the drain on, for fear I would go spiraling through the tiny holes; I would lie on the floor of the car covering my head when we went through the car wash.

When I was a little older, I was afraid that Reagan was going to annihiliate the planet with nuclear weapons, that no one would ever notice that I was getting beat up at home, that I would never have my first kiss or sex.

As an adult, I have conquered these fears. (I don't fear GWB so much as get fucking pissed off by him). But I am currently grappling with a completely unexpected, throwback to my small childhood years kind of fear: I cannot jump into the pool at my swim lessons. Every time our teacher asks us to jump, I stand at the edge, sure that this time I will muster up the courage to just do it, and every time, I step back, holding my churning stomach. I can dive in, no problem, but I cannot step off the edge of the pool.

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