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13 Fears New Yorkers Deal With — & How To Beat Them

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    Image: Courtesy of Michelle Poler.

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    Picture this: You're stuck between two subway stops on a crowded, smelly train that hasn't moved in more than 10 minutes. And you are feeling really claustrophobic. Guess what? Your personal nightmare is also everyone else's. As T-Swift would say, "Welcome to New York." Our completely awesome city can also be downright terrifying, and living here means embracing all the grit along with the glory.

    Hopefully, you'll make like Michelle Poler, a very new New Yorker from Venezuela, who found a creative way to conquer her fears of life in the Big Apple. Poler is chest-deep in a project (and fundraising initiative) called "100 Days Without Fear," in which she goes head-to-head with one scary thing about living in the city per day, documenting her experience along the way. It's a four-pronged offensive strategy: 1) Assess the fear, 2) Face it, 3) Share it (misery loves company, after all), and 4) Live life a little freer.

    Ahead, Poler shares her firsthand account of tackling some of these battles head-on, along with her ingenious emoji-meter, which she uses to express how she felt before, during, and after her expeditions. Check them out, and let us know: What scares you most about New York City?


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    The Experience:
    "This was one of the best experiences I've had in my life. I've honestly never felt so good, comfortable, and confident. You must do this at least once in your lifetime! It may sound silly, but I swear it is sooo worth it."

    The Lesson Learned:
    "Put your headphones on! Once you take them off, you'll feel pretty awkward dancing by yourself without music. I love dancing more than anything, but I never do it unless I'm in front of a mirror."

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    The Experience:
    "I went to Bliss Spa on Lexington Avenue and 49th Street, and had a woman named Olga do my wax," Poler recounts. "She was the funniest lady I've met, and she was super excited about me recording the whole thing. She told me it wasn't going to hurt, but it did!"

    The Lesson Learned: "It was horrible, but Olga made it a funny experience... I might even go back. I want to be able to relax next time, so now the pain is the only thing that bothers me, not the fear of pain."

  6. Image: Courtesy of Michelle Poler.

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