When I was a raging piss tank I didn’t really have fear on my radar. I basically had zero sense of self and did the same old things, day after day, unknowingly living in a shitty little comfort zone. I wasn’t conscious of it at the time, but I was strongly avoiding making changes, and the unknown. These are two of the most common fears.
Nowadays, sober, I’m almost hyper-aware of the feelings that come up when I decide to make a change, try something new, or challenge myself. With change and the unknown comes fear, in some shape or form. Suzanne Fetting taught me how to view fear differently and how to approach it head-on. These days, when something I want to do brings up anxiety or vulnerability, I truly see it as simply a chance to tick that fear the fuck off my list. If the inner critic was a living, breathing thing, I’d punch it in the jugular. Worrying, approval-seeking, rationalizing, procrastinating and victimizing are things I just do not have time for anymore. Quitting drinking is the biggest thing that helped me get away from those self-sabotaging behaviours. I hope that by sharing some of the random shit that goes through my head, maybe someone else will feel inspired to stop letting fear hold them back from doing what they want to do, big or small! My current marathon mission comes with many forms of fear, but I’m talking about life entirely, not just trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
Here’s one from recently:
Until two weeks ago when my friends and I went to Seattle for the Tenacious Ten, I had never rented a car, driven in a city other than Vancouver, across the border, or in the States. Terrifying!! LOL. To some, this may sound very odd. I hate driving a vehicle I’m not used to. Also, driving anywhere unfamiliar has always been one of those things that can cause me anxiety. Maybe it’s from growing up in a small town with four sets of traffic lights, no such thing as rush-hour or freeways, and never the need for directions. Who knows. I wanted to drive to Seattle from Vancouver for the race because it was cheaper than a second flight and I’m saving money for school, but more so because I wanted to cross this fear off the list! In July, when I head to Jack & Jill to Pump up the JAMmie, I’ll also be driving to Washington State (possibly alone), and I didn’t want it to be the first time!
When I moved to Vancouver for University over ten years ago, I didn’t have a car. I got accustomed to the transit system and therefore avoided city driving. When I graduated, I bought myself a brand new VW Golf yet continued to take transit a lot of the time because I had no self-confidence and driving in the city made me SO panicy. Eventually, I drove in the city regularly, but never 100% confidently. Then, I moved back to small town comfort! (NOT to avoid city driving, LOL!)
Last weekend I finally said fuck it and did what most others would do – drive to where they want to go! My friends helped with directions and I probably annoyed the shit out of them being so anxious, but it’s done and now I can drive to the USA and not shit my pants about it. Woo. Done. What was I afraid of?? Why did it take me until the age of 33 to do this? Because I used to unknowingly let fear restrict me; all I did was get drunk and never do much outside the box of mediocrity that I was existing in. I was oblivious to living fully and doing what I wanted to do, big or small-scale. I’m not being mean to myself, I am seeing the growth for what it is and appreciating where I’m at now. Yay, new life.
Fears I’m currently wrestling with:
I’ve wanted to do something different, career-wise, for years before I actually started making change happen last fall. Even though I loathe my current field of work, for a long time I believed what my inner critic told me and in turn, was too scared to act:
“You spent years getting this degree, this is what you do now.”
“This education was expensive, you can’t walk away.”
“You make so much money, just learn to live with the job.”
“Changing careers will require moving away temporarily, and you can’t do that when you’re a homeowner and have a spouse.”
“You could run out of money as a student without income. Way too risky.”
“You are too old to go back to school.”
FUCK. OFF. INNER. CRITIC!
School starts September 17th. I’m a bit scared, but it’s not holding me back. I look forward to being a student again, even though I have thoughts about being the old person in the class, fear of being a driver in a new place, and running out of money. LOL. Know what I have to say to all of this, though? WHO CARES. Don’t dwell, just do.
I hope that you can join me in screaming (in my head, cause I’m at work) BRING IT ON, FEAR. Seriously. Bring it on, any kind, really big or so small it seems ridiculous. It scares the crap out of me that I’m going to try to run 03:31:18 in the marathon this summer. What if I fail? Will someone laugh and say, “I knew she couldn’t pull that off“? Will I be able to withstand the training? Will I be confident and mentally tough enough to truly put forth my best effort, come marathon day?
I am scared, but these days it just feels like adrenaline. I’m not being held back by it, like the old me. Suck it, fear. There is no time to waste!