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I had a friend in college who suffered from gephyrophobia. Not only would she avoid driving across a bridge at all costs, she’d even have panic attacks while watching other people drive across them on television!

When I became a therapist, I suggested she overcome her fear by means of gradual desensitization. Unfortunately, she watched a scene of a bridge collapsing in the movie, “Final Destination 5” and vowed never to put herself in a situation where her greatest fear had the “possibility” of being realized. Her fear of bridges became so paralyzing that it prohibited her from accepting her boyfriend’s proposal for marriage since he received orders to move to an area where crossing a bridge was inevitable.

As a resident of Hampton Roads Virginia, it is not a matter of “if” a traveler will cross a bridge, but a matter of “which” bridge they will cross. The traveler’s choice is not based on which bridge evokes the least amount of fear but, rather which bridge will get them to their destination faster.

Life is like a journey. Whether journeying from childhood to adulthood, or from having a job to owning a business, every journey has a specific path to its destination and a required method of travel. Albeit, our destinations are different and may vary in travel time, one thing is for certain, we all will have some hills to climb and yes, even some “bridges” to cross along our lives’ trek!

This entity defined as a “structure spanning and providing passage over a river, chasm, or road,” (in the form of a noun); or a “connecting, transitional, or intermediate route or phase between two adjacent elements, activities or conditions” (in the form of a verb); is a pivotal point of passage in our life’s journey…

Bridges provide us with the means to cross over passageways that could otherwise cause us to drown from turbulent waters of traumatic experiences or emotional duress. They keep us from falling into gaping holes of personal disappointments, or relational discord. Crossing bridges help us connect our pain to our purpose and guide us as we transition from life as we know it to the abundant life we’ve been promised.

Sufferers of gephyrophobia fear bridges because of what “could” happen as opposed to challenging their thoughts and focusing on what “WILL” happen once they face their fears and cross over! The thing my college friend feared the most was the very thing she needed to cross over from what she feared could happen in order to live a life that could’ve happened. Her experience taught me that crossing conceptual bridges are as necessary in helping us navigate through our life’s journey as they are in helping traveler’s get around Hampton Roads VA!

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REAL Women sister circles are building bridges of sisterhood. Our relational structure provides women with what they need to safely cross the bridges of life that appear too unsteady to carry their weight, too high for them to reach, or too long for them to cross. TOGETHER, through experiences, women connect and create an experiential entryway towards their desired destinies. TOGETHER, despite our insecurities, we conjure the strength to withstand the most unsteady suspension bridge, and our collective pasts help support our futures. TOGETHER, we bridge the gaps of age, religion, and race and collectively forge a support system towards a journey towards healing. TOGETHER, we face what we fear the most because we no longer have to cross our bridges alone…

Join us on this journey. Join us while we help others who’ll in turn help us cross the bridge towards the ONE WORD that will guide us throughout 2018.

~ Daniall Marshall Foskey

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