#270. Fact: 99 Percent of Fear is Anticipation.

A nice pic from the folks at the Soap Factory's Haunted Basement. Cute, right? | Photo by Dan Norman
A nice pic from the folks at the Soap Factory’s Haunted Basement. Cute, right? | Photo by Dan Norman

I made up that 99 percent statistic, but anecdotally I know it’s true. Don’t worry, I’ll explain. But first:

I hadn’t planned on visiting the Soap Factory’s Haunted Basement.

I went for the first time last year. I didn’t sleep for the three weeks between the time I purchased the tickets and the actual event.

I wish I was kidding.

Somehow, I had more anxiety about walking through a basement full of actors than I did jumping out of an airplane.

Fear is so irrational sometimes.

Spoiler alert: I survived the 2013 Haunted Basement. It was not at all like I’d expected and I was proud of myself for facing my fear. I did it! I didn’t feel the need to go again.

That is, until three of my girl friends expressed interest in going.

They’d all heard about it and were all on the fence. Leaning into my fears has changed my life, so just went online and bought us four tickets.

No backing out now, ladies!

(Just for fun, I suggest you watch this year’s Haunted Basement trailer.)

The four of us went last Wednesday. I’m not going to dish on the details because I don’t want to ruin it for those who haven’t been yet.

Us four ladies with our official Haunted Basement masks.
Us four ladies with our official Haunted Basement masks.

Here’s what I am willing to share:

  • We all had to wear those creepy masks, pictured above.
  • About 40 of us entered the basement at the same time. We toured the space for about 20 minutes before heading back upstairs.
  • Us four girls were separated into two pairs immediately & we never saw each other once in the basement.
  • My friend Alyssa and I managed to stay together for the first 10 minutes. I lead the way, which is something I would never dreamed of doing last year. I was notably braver this time around!
  • One of the haunted basement’s goals is to get you alone. A man dressed as a cat eventually pulled Alyssa & I apart and led me away. I didn’t see her again until we were back upstairs.
  • I spent about half of my time in the basement walking around alone. Last year, I would’ve probably lost my mind. This year, I felt fearless!

Conclusion: A great way to deflate fear is simply to experience it. Let it happen. Most of the time, once you’re in that “scary moment”, it’s not even half as bad as you imagined.

Ninety-nine percent of fear is the anticipation.

Just a year ago, I was paralyzed by the anticipation of going through the basement. After experiencing it, I learned I had nothing to worry about. This, I didn’t fret at all. It was a breeze.

Once I learned fear is all about the build up, I could step into a lot of uncomfortable situations with less anxiety. Not just haunted basements, but public speaking, trying new sports, you name it.

I’m actually thrilled that I returned to the Haunted Basement. It perfectly illustrated how much I’ve grown and changed through the last year. I’m no longer that anxiety-filled ball of bananagrams and I couldn’t be more thankful!

* * *

P.S. Here’s what happened during last year’s Haunted Basement. My brave friend, Kate, joined me in this year’s basement. Here’s her great blog, Flock of Broads.

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