Book Review: THE GIFT OF FEAR by Gavin de Becker

An older book review and therefore different format but deserves a blog post:

The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals that Protect Us from Violence

by Gavin de Becker

Nikki’s Rating: 4.8 out of 5 Stars


This book was recommended by a coworker who knew I was struggling with fear and anxiety, particularly around a stalking situation. I found this book to be quite helpful in easing my stress and anxiety. I really appreciated that Gavin de Becker really stresses that intuitively we know when we are in danger and that is when we feel fear and that we just need to pay attention and act when we feel fear. Gavin de Becker argues that anxiety and worry are useless because we are usually worrying about something that isn’t likely to happen. Worry isn’t based in reality, it is not authentic, it is a choice and we can choose not to feed it. We can choose to direct our energies elsewhere and trust in ourselves that we will know when we are actually in danger and can act accordingly. Gavin de Becker includes many real stories of people listening to their instincts and being able to survive a situation where their lives were in danger. These stories are terrifying and yet provide evidence of how good our intuition can be when we listen to it. Overall this book is a great choice if you are struggling with fear, especially the fear of other people and what they may do.

Favorite Quotes:

“When you feel fear, listen. When you don’t feel fear, don’t manufacture it.”

“Few of us predict that unexpected, undesired events will lead to great things, but very often we’d be more accurate if we did.”

“The fact that most Americans live without being violent is a sign of something wonderful in us. In resisting both the darker sides of our species and the darker sides of our heritage, it is everyday Americans, not the icons of big-screen vengeance, who are the real heroes.

As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

Dealing with Death during Covid-19

As I’m writing this post I am grieving. Grieving for the sudden loss of a beloved aunt and uncle taken suddenly due to a car accident. A car accident simply caused by a semi-truck driver being too distracted. Too distracted to notice traffic coming to a stop before ploughing into my uncle’s car and killing my aunt and uncle instantly. While part of me is grateful that no one else was seriously injured or killed, I cannot help my shameful wish that it had been someone else’s family to have been affected so tragically. I also cannot seem to contain my staggering rage at the truck driver who was “distracted.” Distracted by what?! What was so important that you took your eyes off the road? Your one job while driving is to drive, paying attention to the road at all times. I am trying to be compassionate and realize that it was an accident and obviously, I know nothing about the truck driver, what they were going through that day, what their life is like, or even their working conditions. I am trying to imagine the guilt that they, or anyone else who has killed another in a car accident, may feel. But if I’m honest, my compassion is being smothered by my anger; the want to hurt this person as deeply as they have hurt me and my family is astounding. 

And while I grieve for my loss, I am grieving for the fact that I cannot be with my family during this crucial time. While many of my family is able to gather together to offer support and comfort to each other, I live hours away and while in any other circumstances I wouldn’t hesitate to drive those few hours to be with them, I have to remain at home due to my high risk of complications with Covid-19. This fact is eating at me as nothing else has since the pandemic began.

Covid-19 has turned our world upside down in so many ways. While governments and politicians have been largely concerned with the effects on the economy, the effects are most devastating for a family dealing with death. When a loved one passes, there is nothing more cathartic than gathering with others you know cared for them as much as you did, who understand how special that person was and how irreplaceable they truly are. This comfort is almost indescribable and has never been so glaring to me until this moment. Others can empathize, they can offer their love, support, and compassion but it is nothing like being in the company of those that share common memories with the departed, who understand wholeheartedly what was lost. 

I will never get the opportunity to mourn with my family over the loss of my uncle and aunt because of Covid-19. I will not be surrounded by those who remember my uncle as the rock of the family. An uncle who even after hours of work and driving around, would do more driving to visit a sick family member on a whim to brighten their day. An aunt who made me a delicious yellow chicky cake on my birthday from scratch, simply because she could, knowing my favorite toy was a giant stuffed chicky. An aunt and uncle who helped other family members financially, even when they didn’t have money to spare. An aunt and uncle who laughed and smiled easily, making any family gathering without them less bright, their absence always felt immediately.

Due to Covid-19, I will miss out on the funeral of my aunt and uncle. Many people fail to realize how important rituals are to us as a species. Every human society has had rituals for the dead as it allows closure and healing to take place, it is a way to say “goodbye” and wish them well on their next journey. Due to having cancer and other health risks, I cannot be physically present for any gathering, thus my aunt and uncle’s funeral, as the potential of exposure to Covid-19 is too high. 

Most importantly though, due to Covid-19 I won’t be there for my family. I cannot go to my family and hug my two cousins who have lost not just one parent, but both on the same day. I cannot offer the comfort of my presence or help them with anything they need. I cannot even offer them a place to stay while they are grieving so that they aren’t alone. There are no words to truly express how much this pains me. 

When this pandemic began, putting my health first and keeping physical distance from others seemed like a no brainer and not much to ask from my family and friends. But now it seems unbearable. I’ve never been more angry about the fact that I have cancer. I’ve never been more upset about the pandemic until now. And these words are truly inadequate to describe how I’m really feeling. 

I know I am not the first one who has dealt with loss during Covid-19, nor will I be the last. I am one of millions who has and will have to endure this terrible predicament. While I normally would have written these thoughts in my personal journal, I thought to write it here just in case it resonated with someone else. You are not alone. I care and hope that you find a small bit of comfort in that fact.

Being a Unicorn is Not all that Magical

While I was always that odd child, the kid that marched to the beat of their own drum, never in my life have I ever regretted being a bit unusual. On the contrary, I’ve spent most of my life feeling very proud to be different. But being different in medical terms is really not a good thing.

Being a unicorn in the medical sense means seeing multiple doctors and being told that while there is something wrong, they are unsure of what is the cause. It is having multiple tests done, many of which come out abnormal but with not enough information to give a clear diagnosis. It is literally being told by your primary care doctor, “I’m used to horses, I see an occasional zebra but you are a unicorn and I don’t know how to help you.”

After over a year of dealing with an unknown health problem, I would love to give up my unicorn status. While I’d love to simply be healthy, I’m willing to settle for typical symptoms of whatever is ailing me instead of my body’s atypical confusing bullshit. In the medical sense, being a unicorn is not all that magical and for once, I just want to be a boring horse.

Any other medical unicorns out there? Were you able to get a diagnosis?