My Greatest Fear is Being Differen

Have you ever watched a flock of sheep? It wouldn't be surprised if you haven't. I just so happen to have a flock of them, 20 to be exact. They live in my back yard and day in and day out for a few moments of the day, I watch them. What I've observed, their little nuances and habits, ones that come so instinctual, an innate drive from deep within, has a bigger meaning to it. This is what I've learned.

Sheep stay together, no matter what, because it's instinctual. It's what they've always done and they know no other way. They are a prey animal, being hunted by the likes of coyotes, bobcats, and cougars or anything else that would feed on them, so naturally it is safer to stay together then to strike off on their own.

Sometimes however,  I see one of my sheep off in the far corner of the pasture, simply grazing at the grass underfoot, happy to have a moment of solitude and I wonder; why did it leave the safety of it's flock?

 Eventually, one of the other members of the flock realizes one of their own has wondered off  and starts to raise a fit, making all kinds of alarming noises, guttural, deep and often obnoxious sounds, ones that I are asking the wanderer, "what the hell are you doing? You can't go off by yourself! It's a big, bad, scary world out there and if you aren't careful, something will get you!" This usually sends the solo into it's own fit of panic and it returns to the safe keeping, under the wing of it's flock.

Once in awhile you need to remove a couple of your sheep from the flock because,  say they keep trying to strike off on their own, jumping through the electric fence. Like most in the animal world, once you have left your flock, it's often hard to return, sometimes you just aren't allowed, because you have changed or unrecognizable and what is more feared in the world then someone or something that has changed.


Growing up I was a lot like a sheep. I’d follow my flock here and there and everywhere paralyzed by the idea that if I wandered off on my own, I too would be eaten by the big, bad, scary world.  I believed the lies that different was weird and uncool and instead taking chances, instead of being brave, because I was scared, I stayed close by for fear that if I left, I’d be criticized or even worse, ostracized and abandoned by my flock.

I was also a dreamer. A huge, wildly imaginative blue-eyed, curly haired kid who was incredible awkward around just about everyone I knew but I always had my dreams and they kept me company when no one else would. They gave me a little hope that one day I would rise above, conquer my fears, and live the life I've always envisions.

My dreams usually consisted of two things; the man I would one day meet, marry and have children with and the adventurous, fear-free, incredible life I would one day grow up to live. I obsessed over the places I would go and the things I'd get to try. I fantasized and dreams and longed for the life I would one day live.

I knew that one day I'd meet a man and get married, possibly have children and be happy. The problem with the latter however is that in order to live an adventurous, fearless life I'd have to give up my  fear of being different, my fear of being separated from my folk, from what you've always known, which I wasn’t sure I was able or ready to do.

Fear is a tricky bastard. (Tweet that no brainer)

He, unlike his enemy, fearlessness, causes lasting paralysis that plagues you well into your adult years, the time in your life when you are suppose to be too confident in who you and what you want for your life to worry about what anyone else will think.

Fear can creep up in many forms and entangle you in its sticky web of tendrils causing you to get stuck in thoughts of self-doubt and limited beliefs. It’s hard to find reprieve from his web, even if you manage to free a limb, he’s right there ready to weave another strand somewhere else.


So, I grew up with big dreams but as a sheep, I believed that if I ventured off by myself I'd be alone and eventually eaten by something bigger then me and I was scared so I follow my flock. I followed them all the way to a college I didn’t really want to go to where I spend a year and a half numbing myself with booze and terrible hangovers, trying to quite the voice in my head that was screaming to be different, longing to be different.

Then one fateful night that dreamer, the voice deep inside had finally had enough. Picking up the phone at two in the morning, I called my mom. To be honest, my flock, not knowing what to do with me, forced me to call my mom and between hyperventilating and soaking wet tears, I took the leap of faith, I chose my dreams.

A few weeks later there I was, without my flock and a whole lot of dreams and the world was my oyster. Or so I thought.

If you ask some, they’d say that I’m a risk taker, that I live my life and I live it according to one rule, just do it now, do it now, do it now. I’ve packed up and moved across the world in as little as three weeks’ notice, I mean, that takes balls, right? Well, if you ever find  your way into that big round thing full of curly locks sitting on top of my shoulders you’d realize that although I do take some risks I’m still, after so many years of being separated from my flock, entangled in that sticky web of fear.

I’m still scared shitless of being different.

Oh what a tangled web I’ve weaved, this web of fear and self-doubt, limited beliefs and the list goes on and on. All I’ve ever wanted was to be different. I wanted to be me, the dreamer who dreams big, scary audacious dreams and then actually pursues them.

My biggest fear is that I am going to live my life making excuses for why I can’t or shouldn’t do the things I’ve always dreamed of doing or do the things I’m just now starting to dream of. I’m terrified that one day I’ll be lying on my death bed and instead saying, ‘well, that was one hell of a ride,” I’ll be saying “what was it all for anyway?"

I'm afraid that I'll keep following, in some way or another, my flock. That I will never find my own way, live authentically, connected to my purpose.

But the thing is, we have a choice. We can follow the comfort and safety of our flock or, we can dream big, take a chance, and walk away from our flock.

So today I’m proclaiming to the world, or the few of you that are actually reading this, today I’m saying enough with the excuses, enough of being a sheep, today and going forward I’m going to show up for life, I’m going to live and I’m going to continue dreaming big and taking risks.

I love sheep, they are one of my favorite animals after all,  but I certainly do not want to be one.



Recently I serendipitously stumbled across a blog called Fearful Adventurer whose writer, Torre, followed her love onto his ‘humble boat’ and sailing around the world, she began the journey of discovering what it really means to face her fears.   Her debut novel, Love and the Chance of Drowning, was picked up by several major publishing companies shortly after self-publishing and is being made into a major motion picture. Um, I’d say that is every writers dream, right? But in all seriousness, this book is being shipped as I type this and I'm moving it to the top of my ‘to be read’ pile.

Love with a Chance of Drowning – A Memoir by Torre DeRoche

This post is part of the My Fearful Adventure series, which is celebrating the launch of Torre DeRoche’s debut book Love with a Chance of Drowning, a true adventure story about one girl’s leap into the deep end of her fears.

"Wow, what a book. Exciting. Dramatic. Honest. Torre DeRoche is an author to follow." Australian Associated Press

"… a story about conquering the fears that keep you from living your dreams."

"In her debut, DeRoche has penned such a beautiful, thrilling story you’ll have to remind yourself it’s not fiction." Courier Mail

Find out more…

"In her debut, DeRoche has penned such a beautiful, thrilling story you’ll have to remind yourself it’s not fiction." Courier Mail

Find out more…