With her Southern charm and a personality that's larger than life, it's hard to believe that the legendary Dolly Parton is afraid of anything at all.
Despite all the odds stacked against her, the country gal from Sevier County, Tennessee wasn't afraid to hop on a Nashville-bound Greyhound bus and chase her dreams. This was the adventure that led her to super stardom not just as a musician but also as an actress.
The "Jolene" singer has never let fear stop her from trying new things, including opening her own theme park, writing books, and spearheading a number of philanthropic initiatives.
"You never do a whole lot unless you're brave enough to try," Parton once said.
While there's no doubt that the country star is brave, she's not exactly fearless.
A few years ago, Parton revealed that her classmates once looked her in a dark closet out of jealousy because she had the opportunity to perform on local TV. As a result of the traumatizing experience, she became afraid of the dark and slept with the light on ever since.
Now, during a recent appearance on the Bobby Bones Show, the entertainer has revealed another one of her fears, and it's one so many people can relate to.
Turns out, the 72-year-old has aviophobia, also known as the fear of flying.
"I’ll tell everyone, I don’t care," Parton said. "I’m not ashamed of it. I don’t like to fly." She jokingly added, "I'm like my daddy. I don’t want to go no higher up than pulling corn and no lower down than pickin' taters."
Being so high up in the sky isn't the only reason why Parton hates being in planes. She explained that being prone to motion sickness and her inability to cope with the turbulence are other factors that make flying such an unpleasant experience for her.
"I don’t know if I’m just a scaredy cat or just the motion. It’s probably a little bit both. I don’t like that helpless feeling that I can’t get out if I want to. I want to be on the ground. If I want to stop, I want to get out. You can’t very well go up to the pilot and say, 'I wanna get out now.'"
Unfortunately, the "I Will Always Love You" crooner's profession makes flying inevitable, but she has found a way to make it less stressful and scary. If she must fly, she opts for a private jet "because it's hard doing commercial anymore, because its such a zoo anyway."
"I just take my bus anytime I can," she added.
Parton isn't alone in her fear as the aviophobia is one of the most common phobias among Americans. It is estimated that between 2.5% to 6.5% have some form of it.
Many experts, including Todd Farchione, the director of Boston University’s Intensive Treatment Program for Panic Disorder and Specific Phobias, are convinced that the fear stems from the feeling of "lack of control" once a person boards an airplane.
“When the doors close, they’re in it. They’re stuck," Farchione explained to Time. "They can’t get out of the situation. I think that’s often what’s most frightening for most people."
Depending on the severity of your condition, you can overcome it by changing how to respond to the situation.
Experts suggest keeping yourself distracted as much as possible, and avoid self-medicating with sleeping pills or alcohol when flying.
For those who suffer from serious forms of aviophobia, Farchione recommends seeing a professional for treatment.