Daria Ermolaeva

The Nightmare of the Japanese Schoolgirl, or The Breath of Fear

The story of a young tanguera who plunged into reflection and skipped a few tandas. And rightly so.
The real fear is tangible, obvious, and it consumes you completely. You can see it, hear it, smell it and touch it. You can even taste it. If you have the sixth sense the fear is anyway all over.

"Rough Draft", Sergei Lukyanenko
Once upon a time there lived a girl… . Let us call her Alice. One day Alice came to a Japanese-style milonga that seemed to be a Wonderland.

It should be noticed that our tanguera was known for her sensitivity. The character that she had chosen for the milonga that day proved this fact. Alice dressed up as a Japanese schoolgirl.

The evening wasn't running smoothly. Either sake was not strong enough or the surrounding samurai were too scary. Here is what happened several tandas later. Alice was invited by a Super-Duper Partner but then she suddenly realized that she could neither say a word nor take a step.
Such a shallow breathing is sometimes called "the breath of fear"
Perhaps everyone had such an experience at least once. But the thing is, in today's world the strong and brave are preferred. So each and everyone pretends to look so because showing weakness or fear seems to be akin to losing face.

The bad acting begins when everyone is afraid of something but pretends to be fearless. The deeper we hide our fears, the farther we are from sincerity and from ourselves including connection with our body.
What happens to us when we are scared?..
There is often a reaction "to hide inside yourself" when your body tries to shrink and pretend it is not there. Your chest "collapses", huddles and goes back with the abdomen. It looks like an intuitive intention to save the vital organs. Something has scared you after all! Figuring out what precisely it was takes some time so your body decides to play it safe. As a result, the neck moves forward and down and the shoulders go up. At the same time the muscles get tense and the respiration becomes irregular. Sometimes the respiration shifts very much up to the clavicles. In this case, all the connections inside the body become interrupted. Such a shallow breathing is sometimes called "the breath of fear".
We often try not to show this reaction to the others, in other words we try to block the fear inside us. And every attempt to suppress such feelings provokes muscle stiffness. Have you ever noticed how your body acts during a squabble? Your companion says an incredible nonsense and doesn't even want to listen to the other opinion. What a fool! Yes, in this moment you definitely want to call him a fool but your manners don't allow you to do so. So your throat and jaw become strained in order not to "release" the bad word out.

This happens every time we are in contradiction with ourselves, when we block and suppress ourselves.

Of course, this example does not mean that you need to call everybody fools. It calls to observe ourselves. People rarely notice what we have just described. It is important to remember that the body has its own logic and we shouldn't underestimate it!
There is a simple law that says that any emotion as any energy cannot be suppressed.
If you hide your fear from your brain, the body still keeps it and will be afraid. That's why the brave person is not the one who forces himself not to feel the fear, on the contrary, it is the one that allows the fear to pass through him and accepts it.
There is no need to be afraid of fear and to hide it from yourself. You just need to give it some time.
Let's go back to our young tanguera on Japanese-style milonga. When Alice was invited by The Super-Duper Partner she was nervous but tried not to show it. This condition is not comfortable to be in, let alone dancing. And then Alice allowed herself to get afraid. She left the room with a simple excuse and came back few tandas later. Then she came up to The Super-Duper Partner and invited him. The dance was great so after tanda he said 'well done, Japanese schoolgirl'.
How to overcome fear?
There are many recipes how to do this, and a lot of them are useful. The point of this story is that the young Alice realized something new: there is no need to be afraid of fear and to hide it from yourself. You just need to give yourself some time to get over it.
Author: Daria Ermolaeva. Translation: Dunya Valova.
Opinions expressed in articles within this blog may not coincide with those of the editor.
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