A couple months ago I discussed my goal of conquering irrational and rational fears. Since beginning my journey of checking things off that list, I’m happy to say it hasn’t decreased in size. That may sound counterproductive, but I’ve actually been adding things to that list weekly, so every time I tackle one mission I have a brand new one waiting on me. And with each fear I conquer, my confidence gets a little stronger and I am able to more easily overcome the next. Sometimes now, when I finally get around to doing these things, I’m not even fearful of them anymore, and it’s just a new, exciting experience.
My most recent accomplishment has been facing my fear of horseback riding. My best friend Robbie and I decided to make a day of it and explore the grounds of Biltmore Estate. He had never ridden before either and I haven’t been to Biltmore in a decade, so with a perfectly sunny 80-degree day off for the both of us, it seemed like a great place to adventure. We arrived on the grounds and had about an hour to kill before we had to be at the stables for our 2p trail ride, so we wandered through the gardens and greenhouses that were teeming with colorful, lush flora and greenery. (If anyone is looking for a place to take some spring photos, this would be my suggestion. It is gorgeous right now.) Following our garden tour, we headed to the stables, where we were weighed and fitted with a helmet. I found the weighing to be a little aggressive, but apparently it has more to do with fitting you to a horse and less to do with making you feel like a fat piece of crap so I let it slide. I wasn’t nervous in the least until I actually climbed atop the horse, a strapping chestnut fella named “Turbo,” who the handler said was one of the most docile and gentle horses in the pack. She instructed me on how to operate the reigns and we were soon on our way plodding up the trail. Initially I was a nervous, rigid wreck. Every step Turbo took up and down the narrow, wooded trail felt so unsteady, as if we were going to slip and fall at any moment. I also had the realization that if this gentle giant had any kind of change of heart about me, I would be powerless to reign him in. He started to inch to the edge of the trail to graze on some sweet, green grass, but the smallest tug of the reign from me immediately steered him back in line and at that moment my faith was restored. I realized that horses are extremely intuitive and this guy was picking up all of my emotions. Once I relaxed and began to trust his sturdy steps I was able to take in the beautiful surroundings and really enjoyed the ride. In fact, I can’t wait to do some more at Warrior’s Path when they open for the season. This trail ride was such a unique way to experience Biltmore and I never would have seen it in these ways had I let my irrational fear of riding a horse deter me. It may have even turned me on to a new hobby!
Another phobia that is seeming to be more of an ongoing project to overcome has been tackling the fear of needles. So over the last month or so I’ve not only filled my face with my yearly cosmetic enhancements, but I also made the decision to get a tattoo. After carefully examining the very real possibility that I might just be having a midlife crisis, I came to the conclusion that no, this is something I’ve wanted for a long time and I would be happy having this design on my body for eternity. So I made my appointment at Empire Tattoo in Asheville, who I cannot recommend enough by the way, and that weekend I headed over the mountain. Yet again, I was not nervous in the least until the needle pierced my skin for the first time, at which point my eyes crossed and I realized I was going to be in a great deal of pain for at least the next hour, because tattoos are kind of one of those things that once you start them, you gotta finish them. There was no point while I was getting it done that it did not hurt, so for all of you out there who claim “INK THERAPY,” and say you “get addicted to the pain”- more power to you, but you’re LYING!!! I’m happy with mine, but I by no means have the desire to ever get another one. If I want to go through that experience again I’ll just try to find a nest full of aggressive hornets with razorblade stingers. And as for the yearly injections, I’ve made progress! I did not pass out all the way this time, I simply hurled my guts into a trashcan for about 10 mins afterward, so I call that a win. It’s baby steps people.
I’ve made a lot of tiny dents on my list so far, from visiting a psychic to interviewing for a job, and truly each of these seemingly small victories have made the bigger ones so much easier to achieve. I have historically interviewed horribly, because when I have felt like I really “needed” a job or it was something I wanted very badly, I psyched myself out by thinking I wasn’t good enough or that if I didn’t get it I was screwed. These exercises in overcoming fear have given me the confidence to walk into an interview and know my worth, and it has completely worked to my advantage. I aced the interview and actually declined the offer because it didn’t match my standards. I know what I am capable of, and I am just as valuable of an asset to a company as they are to my life. This self-assured mindset has worked its way into my relationships as well, giving me the final push required to do what I’ve always known was the right thing, even though it meant losing someone I thought I needed in my life. At the end of the day, the lesson I’ve taken away is this-you are capable of doing anything you want to do, you can do it on your own without anyone else, and mental blocks are 99% of what is holding you back. Overcome the mind and you can open yourself to a whole new exciting life. Can’t wait to see what’s next!