MS. REBECCA SHEIR
Sometimes the best way to combat your fear is to face it head on. That's precisely what D.C. resident Molly Kinder did. But she didn't just face one fear. She faced a whole laundry list. Last year she spent a month identifying the things that freaked her out and tackling each one. She called it Face Your Fears February. And now as Jessica Gould reports, Kinder's doing it again.
MS. JESSICA GOULD
At a karaoke bar in Adams Morgan, Molly Kinder steps up to the mic, blushes a deep crimson and slowly begins to sing.
MS. JESSICA GOULD
Kinder hates singing in public, but to truly understand the significance of this moment, we have to start our story a year ago when Kinder was watching "The King's Speech" with a group of her friends.
MS. MOLLY KINDER
And we were talking about how much we admired the king for sort of taking on this fear of public speaking. And I just posed the question to my group of friends, what's your version of that?
Now, at first glance, Kinder who's six-foot-two with flaming red hair isn't someone who seems driven by fear. She calls herself a walking exclamation point. Her friends describe her this way.
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 1
Molly Kinder is confident.
UNIDENTIFIED MAN 1
UNIDENTIFIED MAN 2
UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN 2
I would say she's fearless.
That was Ann Sodack (sp?), Tony Sodack (sp?), Kelly Keenan Trimble (sp?) and Chris Trimble (sp?). And Kinder agrees she's done some courageous things in her life. For example, for her work in international development, she's traveled the globe, sometimes stopping in some of the world's more volatile regions.
I've lived and worked in some countries that made my mother nervous.
Closer to home, she helped keep the peace among rowdy D.C. partiers.
I was a bouncer at Madams Organ Bar in Adams Morgan.
But like everyone else, Kinder says she encounters things that scare her every day.
Whatever these things are that we're intimidated by or we avoid, we hold ourselves back. If we could just get over that, we would open all sorts of new possibilities for ourselves.
So exactly a year ago Kinder decided to face her fears head on.
That I'll just name this Face My Fears February and just take a whole month of slaying fears or putting myself in situations that I'm outside my comfort zone and then doing some deep thinking about what are more of the bigger, deeper fears that I need to take on.
She started by taking an African dance class.
I was like a gazelle next to a lot of very talented dancers. But it was actually not as bad as I thought it was gonna be. I really actually enjoyed it. I wasn't very good at it, but I enjoyed the experience.
Even though she hates pictures of herself, she decided to pose for a photo shoot.
And then I took on rock climbing.
Kinder finally asked out a guy she'd had a crush on for years. And when that didn't work out, she decided to go on a date to a blues club in Bowie, Md. all by herself.
One of my sort of existential fears is this fear of not finding a partner and not having a family and ending up alone. I think I just wanted to feel that my life was full and that I'm enough. And I think it did teach me that.
In fact, the months that came after February were full of new challenges.
I bought a house. I moved to a new neighborhood. I took on a job in the government that was much more senior. I fell in love after that. And, you know, there's been a lot of massive changes in my life.
And Kinder says the month she spent facing her fears helped make her stronger to embrace those changes as they came.
I almost felt like I had a sword in my pocket and I wanted to go slay these fears. And it was so empowering and so liberating and pretty profound. I feel like it really changed my outlook. It made me a much more confident person.
After all, she says, overcoming fear is a learned behavior.
In seventh grade, my parents forced me to walk to the orthodontist and cross Main Street, which is a very busy street. And I cried the entire way. You know, years later, I went on to live in India and Pakistan and Liberia and travel on my own. I've done some pretty brave things in my life, but that takes a lot of work.
So this February, Kinder is facing her fears once again. She's determined to overcome the challenges of home ownership, tightening her budget.
I'm dubbing this February, Frugal February.
And tackling her tool belt.
I'm really daunted by the power drill.
Meanwhile, she's stepping up to the spotlight and getting ready to face the music. I'm Jessica Gould.
Are you on a mission to face your fears? We wanna hear about it. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit us on Facebook. That's facebook.com/metroconnection.org. After the break, separating fact from fiction regarding our fears of a violent crime.
MS. BARBARA DUNCAN
Please keep engaged, please keep communicating with us and stand ready to work alongside of us.
It's coming your way on "Metro Connection" here on WAMU 88.5.
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