This post is part of the Team #CANDORUK campaign for #INSURGENTUK. Click on the picture above for more information.
As part of the Insurgent release week madness I thought it would be fun to have some discussion posts about Divergent. I got the ideas for these topics from the HarperCollins Divergent Discussion Guide that can be found online here. These posts will contain spoilers for Divergent but I'd like to keep them spoiler free for Insurgent so please keep that in mind when you're commenting. I'll be welcoming members of Team #CANDORUK here every day to answer a different question so please give them all a warm welcome!
Taking part in today's discussion we have:
Carly - Writing from the Tub
Keren - Gothic Angel
Jo - Once Upon A Bookcase
M & Little M - We Sat Down
Iffath - Painting With Words
Lesley - Big Book Little Book
Today's topic:Dauntless value bravery over everything else but is bravery about being fearless or learning to control your fear? What is the difference? Can anyone ever be truly fearless? Is it braver to face your fears or not to be afraid in the first place? What are your greatest fears and do you think you could overcome them?
I don't think anyone is truly fearless, no matter how much they might wish (or even pretend) that they are. In fact I don't think it is possible to be brave unless you were frightened of something in the first place. There are lots of different kinds of bravery but most of them involve learning to control your fears. I'd be much more impressed by someone who was absolutely terrified but went ahead and did something anyway than I would be by someone who wasn't afraid in the first place.
As far as my fears go I have way too many to list them all here but I'll tell you the main ones. I'm terrified of wasps (I stood on a wasps nest when I was younger and ended up being stung more than 50 times!), I also run a mile when I see a spider (although I think that is more because my mum always screamed the house down whenever she saw one than because I've had a bad experience with them), I'm not very good with heights (although I did do a bungee jump on my 21st birthday - never again though because it scared me half to death and my dad had to push me off of the crane lol) and I panic in crowded places.
All of those fears may worry me but I usually find ways to deal with them. My biggest and most irrational fear is my blood and needle phobia. I'm one of those people who will faint at the sight of blood or if I have to have an injection, I'll even pass out at the thought of operations or what I could possibly see in a hospital ward. I know it is ridiculous but no matter what I do I can't seem to control it, I've fainted in the dentists chair, I've had fillings where they drilled right down to the nerve without painkillers because I'm so frightened of the needle - that was beyond stupid because it was a million times more painful than an injection would have been but I'd do the same again lol. I have to be physically held down for blood tests and I've fainted numerous times visiting friends and family who are in hospital. Do you have any idea how embarrassing it is to black out in the middle of a hospital ward when there is nothing wrong with you? Can you think of a more ridiculous person to choose as a first aider? Yup, I was that person who fainted in the middle of their first aid course because we'd got to the part where they were talking about blood loss! Well, at least the rest of the class had a live dummy to practise the recovery position on lol.
The really weird thing about blood / needle phobia is that it is the only phobia that causes your blood pressure to actually drop which is why I have such an extreme physical reaction and pass out. Most of the time if something scares you it will trigger either your fight or flight reflex which causes an increase of adrenaline and makes your blood pressure increase, Trypanophobia (blood / needle phobia) starts off the same but is quickly followed by an extreme drop in heart rate and blood pressure. I have had a fear of blood and needles since I was a child but I wasn't diagnosed with the phobia until I was in my 20's. Will I ever get over my phobia? I hope so but in reality I think it's extremely unlikely.
True bravery is learning to control your fear. Accepting that you have a fear and challenging it, facing it and beating it is the embodiment of true bravery. Acknowledging that you have fears is one of the bravest things a person can do, in my opinion.
Being fearless is often linked with bravery in our society but I don’t agree. People who are obsessed with showing that they are fearless are often more afraid that those who own up to their fears. Those who are ‘fearless’ are often afraid to fail, afraid to look weak and these fears can be some of the most dangerous. They can force you to make reckless decisions to prove that you aren’t afraid; that’s not something to be admired. However, admitting that you have a fear and then beating it? To me, that takes real bravery.
In terms of my greatest fears, I have a terrible fear of failure. I worry about it to the point that I will often not try something in case I fail, which I’m well aware is a failure in itself. I worry every day that I’m never going to get published, never going to find an agent, never going to see my books on the shelf – if I’m honest I know that’s why I’m still tweaking Reckless to get it perfect, why I’m always wondering whether I should start a new project. I think one of the bravest things I’ll ever do it is send a book out to an agent for the first time. I’m getting closer to being in that position and it scares me. A whole lot.
This one always surprises people as I know I appear pretty confident as a person but I’m actually scared of a ridiculous amount of things. I seem calm on the surface most of the time but under that I’m pretty much a nervous wreck. If I see someone slightly sinister in a hoodie walking towards me – I’m dead. If I hear a noise in the house after the sun has gone down – dead. The phone rings after midnight – someone I love is dead. I’m meeting a friend or my boyfriend for dinner and they’re more than five minutes late – they’re dead. Seriously! If you arrange to meet me and you’re a second late, I’ve already written you off as dead and grieved for you.
And you don’t want to be anywhere near me on a plane, for real. If there’s any kind of noise – we’re about to plummet to our death. If I see anybody so much as twitch when the seatbelt signs are on – IMMINENT TERRORIST ATTACK. If the cabin door swings open and I catch a glimpse of the pilot – omgwtf he’s like twelve, we’re doomed. DOOMED. If I see an air hostess without a massive grin on her face – she knows we’re about to run out of fuel, the pilot told her, he told her we’re not going to make it. SHE KNOWS SOMETHING.
I am aware this is not normal behaviour.
Also, spiders. Laugh it up, folks, I think spiders are actually the one I’m most scared about. Because it’s the only one I can’t control. My constant fear of dying – I can tell myself that’s just silly and I get on with my day. My fear of failure – I just make sure I’m good enough at things I care about that I won’t fail. Spiders – I have no mind powers great enough to defeat them.
Oh, and can I just say, don’t ever think it’s amusing to play a spider-related prank of me – I have punched people square in the face for pretending I have a spider on me. I’m not joking. It’s not even me being violent; it’s literally an instinctive reaction. Someone says spider and my fists of fury come into play.
I actually saw a hypnotherapist about my spider fear. They were apparently famous in their field for helping people cure their fears. Did it help? NO. If I’m faced with a spider do you know what I do? I freeze, then cry, back slowly away (never breaking eye contact with said spider) and then, when I’m at a safe distance, scream repeatedly until somebody else can remove the spider. And so it will continue until the end of time.
So, basically, this was a really long winded way of me saying that, no, I don’t think I will ever overcome my spider fear. The others? Yeah, with a little work.
I wouldn’t last a day in Dauntless, would I? Imagine how chaotic my simulation would be. GIANT SPIDERS RAMPAGING THROUGH THE WRECKAGE OF A PLANE CRASH.
I think bravery comes from becoming the master of your fears. I don't think anyone is completely fearless, no matter what they would have you believe. I think it is far braver to face your fears head on and try to overcome them than to try to pretend you fear nothing, only to be proved wrong.
My biggest fear is water.
My step-dad tried to teach me to swim when I was younger. But he thought it was clever to hold my head under the water and to drop me in the deep end with no arm bands - assuming I would either sink or swim. The outcome was always the same, I sunk.
I am morbidly afraid of water if it comes above my chin. I fear that I can't breathe and will die if I stay too long under the water. Irrational? Maybe it is. But I have tried to overcome it. I went snorkelling in the middle of the Mediterranean - I absolutely hated it. I was panicky and could not calm down.
So I will certainly never be fearless. I admit that. I try my best to confront anything else head on, but water scares the bejesus out of me.
In the examples you give, I think bravery is more about learning to control, and therefore face, your fear/s. I don’t think facing something you’re not scared of could be considered brave, even if it is risky. I think that’s more reckless than anything. I’m not sure anyone can be truly fearless, but I don’t think all fears are things you can force yourself to face, like spiders or the dark. There are also the fears of things which might come to pass. For example, you often hear of parents fearing for their child – that’s not necessarily a specific situation their child could end up in, it could be any number of situations, it’s just the idea of something bad happening at some point, in whatever form. You can’t face all those possibilities at once.
My greatest fear is linked to my biggest dream. More than anything else, at some point I want to become a mother, so my biggest fear is that I will be told that I can’t be one. I have no reason to fear being told I’m infertile and can’t have children, it’s just an irrational fear. I think anyone who wants something badly enough can relate to the fear of being told they can’t have it. If I was ever told I can’t have children, I would be crushed. But there are other options, so I would hope that time would help me heal and accept, and move in a different direction. I can’t say for certain if that would be the case, though.
Hypodermic needles, spiders, and bungee jumping. I control the first two with varying success. The third, no way – but then, I’d never be Dauntless!
Little M's Thoughts:
Heights, the sea/lakes, spiders as well. I control heights and seas by closing my eyes. Spiders, get my dad or put a cup over them then get dad to sort them out. I think I still could be Dauntless?????
I don’t think there is a single person in this world that is truly fearless. Sure, people claim they are, but I don’t think it’s true. In an ideal world, nobody would be afraid of anything, but then where would that leave us? Facing your fears to me is more brave than not having any fears in the first place. It shows that you can overcome that fear, and if you never had any, how do you know if you could overcome it, be bigger than it?
I'm not sure that bravery is about being fearless. I think it's healthy to have a bit of fear in daily life - it stops us from being too reckless and getting into danger. I think of my 22 month old who is at that 'no fear' stage and who would happily climb up to the top of the couch and leap off if I would let him. To me he is pretty fearless at the moment, but if I let him just launch himself off the furniture I know he would injure himself and there would be a lot of tears! He is only fearless because he lacks understanding and can't process yet the consequences of his actions. As adults, I think that life requires us to be pretty brave in many circumstances - not just the physical, but emotionally and mentally too and I do believe that includes being able to control our fear at times. It's not possible (for me anyway) to be completely fearless. It's part of human nature to have fears and I would imagine that to meet a person who was completely fearless (other than mine, and any other toddler around!) would be a rare thing. It's a very brave thing to confront your fears and unrealistic to expect people just to not be afraid in the first place. Life is too unexpected and for myself, having people that I care about means that I can become fearful if they are sick or in danger. My own greatest fears are usually the thought of the loss of any family member or close friend. I don't worry or become fearful regarding my financial or social status but the thought of anyone I loved suffering in anyway does scare me. I can only overcome it by being as faithful and loving a parent/wife/friend as I can be and to know that I do my utmost to ensure their safety and happiness. Fear for me sometimes is knowing that I can't always control the outcome of a situation and bravery is stepping up to the plate to handle it no matter how painful.
Thank you to everyone for taking part, I've really enjoyed reading all your answers!
I'd love to know what you all think too so please join the discussion in the comments. A lot of the Candor team will be checking back throughout the week to see if you agree with them or not!