From the time she was a little girl, Michelle Poler was afraid of the world. She avoided big, playful dogs, scared they might bite her. Terrified of pain, she dreaded dentist’s and doctor’s appointments. She missed dinner parties and networking events that required her to drive at night, nervous about getting in an accident. A fear of vomiting kept her from trying foods with unusual textures or flavors.
In short, Poler, the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, always had the feeling that something bad could happen at any time.
She got along by avoiding risk and controlling her surroundings as best she could. But when she moved to New York City to pursue a master’s degree at the School of Visual Arts, the Venezuela native found all the things that made her feel frightened, nervous and out of control were getting in the way of enjoying her new city.
For a class assignment to do a 100-day creative project, the 26-year-old art director decided to do the things that scared her the most in order to live her life to the fullest.
“100 days without fear,” she called it.
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