March 5, 2012 § 1 Comment
This weekend a few friends and I day tripped to Enchanted Rock. I had visions of a bit of rock climbing, mostly hopping over some boulders, hiking and exploring a few friendly caves.
My expectations were shot in the foot when I realized the rocks were quite slipperier and steeper than I’d imagined. They were also really high up in the air – especially when I made the always-dumb decision of looking down. My friendly caves were more like curmudgeonly death traps (only a slight exaggeration) and took a whole lot more strategic thinking and slithering than I thought.
Despite these obstacles, it was incredible. All of it. My fear of heights isn’t really something I talk about or even think about when I’m not on a chairlift about to ski down a mountain or climb up a giant rock. It is, however, paralyzing and something that makes me want to cry and throw up at the same time. I didn’t cry or throw up and I definitely didn’t die. Mostly thanks to my friends (shout out to boy scout extraordinaire, Matt) and an internal voice telling me suck it up and do it.
All of this fear conquering started me thinking about things that terrify me that I want to look straight in the eye and beat. They aren’t all physical, most are mental, but they all stare down at me like a giant fence keeping me from what seems like fun.
Spend an entire day by myself. Everyone reading has probably done this lots of times, but I can’t remember the last time I spent 24 hours completely alone. I love being surrounded by friends and family and I thrive off of conversation and social energy. This past summer I moved in by myself and broke up with my boyfriend. I’d been waiting to get a dog, but my parents were convinced that I would fall into a dark hole of loneliness if I didn’t immediately get a furry friend to keep me company. I need to learn how to enjoy my own company, if only for a day.
Complete a triathlon. I ran a half marathon last year and plan on running a full as soon as I can dedicate time to training. Running doesn’t scare me. My feet are flat on solid ground and I can control what is happening. Swimming and biking are two different stories and I feel way less in control of the situation. I’d like to become confident in both of these areas and I think training for a triathlon is the way to do it.
Go white water rafting. I very briefly dated a boy in between boyfriends who always talked about how he wanted to take me white water rafting. The thought of going with him terrified me – he was from Wisconsin and was into Twitter and coffee, not exactly shouting adventurous, helpful and strong white water rafting partner – but I do want to go. With someone I trust and enjoy challenging myself with.
Finish and publish my book. My closer friends know that I’m working on a book about the incredibly complex relationship between mothers and daughters. I’ve written a few large chunks of it and have a complete outline, but completing it seems very finite and intimidating.
Sing out loud in church. This seems silly, I know, but for some inexplicable reason I cannot sing out loud in church. I sing loudly in my car, to my dog, in front of my friends, at karaoke bars and in the shower, but when I try to sing at church my throat closes up and nothing comes out. I was in choir for most of my school career and took voice lessons when I was performing in musicals. I’m not awesome by any means, but I should be able to sing a hymn or two in unison with un-judgmental church goers.
Purchase and wear an outfit from a thrift store. Friends will show up at a party looking adorable and when I ask where they got the jacket, it’s always somewhere like Buffalo Exchange and it was always $10. Wearing someone else’s clothes, no matter how many washes, gives me the heeby jeebies.
After all this brave talk, you’re probably thinking, “Wow! Kristen is really courageous and I wish I could face my fears!” (I’m sure you’re actually not thinking this at all). But don’t worry friends, there are still plenty of things I’m scared of that I’ve done and plan on never ever doing again.
Roller coasters. Yeah, these are supposedly safe now, but I have no intention of repeating the misery that comes from that gut-wrenching death march through the sky. My fear stems from when my dad took me on the all-wooden coaster at AstroWorld (R.I.P. trashy Houston theme park) and told me it would be awesome(!). He didn’t prepare me at all. It was the first of many times throughout my childhood that I told him plainly, through gritted angry teeth, that he was trying to kill me. Of course, I’ll be a good parent and take my kids to Six Flags and Disney World, but I really hope my future husband is a roller coaster fan. I will happily hold all the crap we’ve dragged with us and take photos.
Scary movies. Unless I’m on a date or with a huge group of giggling friends who plan on staying up with me all night, I refuse to watch scary movies. I live alone and I’m not an idiot.
Haunted Houses. Again, if I’m with a group of friends I can definitely be peer-pressured into this, but I will not be happy. I’ll probably fake it and then go home, lie awake and await my death by murderers, zombies, etc.
What fills you with self-induced terror and makes you want to crawl under your covers with a good book?