What Do You Fear?

For the past two months, I’ve been putting off getting the flu shot. I never get flu shots, not because I’m over-confident in my immune system or because I have a vendetta against vaccines, but because I have a completely irrational fear…

…of needles.

I’ve identified that it’s a mental thing. The idea of something sharp and pointy squirting something into my body. It’s ironic, actually. Parvin — my heroine in A Time to Die — faces a lot of my fears, yet I still can’t face them myself.

Darkness, wolves, needles…these are three fears that have plagued me my whole life. And no amount of psyching myself out or prayer will eliminate them. But hey, that’s only three fears, which makes me one step cooler than Tobias Eaton (aka. Four) from Divergent. [grin]

I’ve come to terms with the fact I’m a wimp. Tweet this! (In my defense, though, I have veins smaller than sewing thread and I’ve had my fair share of traumatic experiences when getting blood drawn.) This week I had to get that stinkin’ flu shot because my sister’s having a baby in a month (yay! yay! yay!) and I want to be able to hold my niece without getting her sick.

I’ve officially had a nightmare a week about getting the flu shot. Naturally, the dream is much worse than reality could ever be. Once I finally reached the final day of procrastination, I started the mental pep-talk.

“Come on, Nadine, you’ve survived the flu shot four times already in your mind. This is no big deal.”

“Dude, Katniss had to survive the Hunger Games twice, and you’re complaining about a needle?” (I’d just finished re-reading The Hunger Games and I couldn’t bear to tell Katniss I wimped out over a shot.) Tweet this!

“It’s never as bad as you think it’ll be.”

“You’ve survived much worse.”

So yesterday I put together my support team — Mom, Dad, and Hubby joined me in the shot line. I kept chanting in my head, I’m an adult. I’m an adult. I’m an adult. Because I guess that convinces me I need to be stronger or immune to unfounded nerves.

All four of us piled into the little doctor room. “Who’s going first?” the nurse asked.

Pulling a Tris Prior, I said, “Me.” Not to be brave, but because I didn’t want to accidentally catch a glimpse of a needle going into one of my family members.

It took about twenty seconds. And it barely hurt. (Best nurse ever!) I walked out of that doctor’s office as if I’d scaled Mount Doom and destroyed the ring of power with my eyes closed. Then I went out for hot chocolate, fried pickles, and quesadillas. (You may think it’s a weird mix, but trust me…it’s hero food.)


I could write another entire blog post on serious fears — dying without having impacted the world, letting laziness interfere with intentional pursuit of life & God, etc. But for now, we’ll focus on the small trivial things. Those are victories, too. 😉

I really felt like a mini-hero for an afternoon. Despite the triviality of the obstacle, it took surmountable effort to face it head on.

So tell me…what things do you fear? 


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About Nadine Brandes

Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She never received her Hogwarts letter, but rest assured she’s no Muggle (and would have been in Ravenclaw House, thank you very much.) This Harry Potter super-nerd has been known to eat an entire package of Oreos (family size) by herself, and watches Fiddler on the Roof at least once a year. She writes about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. Her dystopian trilogy (The Out of Time Series) challenged her to pursue shalom, which is now her favorite word (followed closely by bumbershoot.) When Nadine’s not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, she and her knight-in-shining armor (nickname: “hubby”) are out pursuing adventures.
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  1. I totally agree! Shots are the worst. I’ve been rather cowardly avoiding going to the doctor because I know I’ll probably get a shot and get my blood drawn. I’ve also never had the flu shot for the same reason.

  2. Oh, this is totally me too!! – the needle phobia. As a kid I wasn’t the child that screamed and fought against shots – I would bottle all my terror in, sit as still as death, and then almost pass out when it was over. 😛 For YEARS I avoided shots – I’d rather get the flu! – and if I had to have a blood test I’d ask to for a reclining chair or to lay on a table, because I knew I’d almost faint afterward.

    Having kids is what cured me. Do you know how many blood tests they make you take when you’re pregnant?? ALL the time. And this is my fourth pregnancy. Plus I have to watch all my babies get shots at their checkups (which was torture at first, but I’ve gotten used to it). I’ve become so desensitized to needles by this point that I actually *let* them give me a flu shot at the OB’s office this year. (I have kids to keep healthy and care for…I’d definitely rather get the shot than get sick now that I’m a mommy.) And I didn’t even feel it when she stuck the needle in me! AND I didn’t get even a teensy bit woozy! I was so proud of myself. 😛

    I tend to explore my needle fear a ton in my fiction too. 😉 I think it’s our way of vicariously facing our fears, as writers.

    • You poor dear! Yeah, I never screamed, but I’d get so nervous I’d cry and then make myself sick, LOL.

      I’m trusting that, once hubby and I start making a family that I’ll become immune, like you, to the mini-swords-of-terror.

  3. Ashley Morris

    So our newest little girl will be here in about 3 weeks, I know I’ve had two but I am super nervous about the cesarean. Maybe it’s being in a new place that’s got me tripped up

    • Awww, Ashley dear!

      One, I’m SO excited for you with your darling baby #3!

      Two, I’m praying for you. You are one of the strongest mothers I know. Being strong doesn’t mean you’re fearless, it means you persevere through the tough stuff. I’m so honored to know you.

      The cesarean is in God’s hands, and so are all three of your little girls. I am praying that He calms you and that the delivery goes smoothly and is filled with joy. Love you, friend! 🙂

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