The F Word
I’m terrified of spiders. Not in an, “Oh, would someone please take this spider outside?” way but in a screaming-at-the-top-of-my-lungs-like-I’m-being-murdered way. It impacts where I will go on holiday, the fact I can’t have the windows open at night (even when it’s boiling) and my sleep, as I still regularly have nightmares about them. One of the other things I couldn’t do because of them, was to go camping…
The Great Outdoors
I’m not really the kind of girl that loves being in nature. I like looking at it and I love visiting it, but I don’t really like being ‘in’ it, if you get my drift. Recently we had the opportunity to go with some great friends for a whole weekend and spend time together with all of the kids and I knew my little man would love that. The only drawback, was that we would have to camp. In a tent. In the outside. Yikes. That meant I would have to consider the eight-legged terrors who like to find me and scare the life out of me. I’m fairly convinced there’s a spider-internet out there with my mugshot on and they practice new ways of horrifying me.
The joy of children
Now I’m one of those parents that really likes to make sure that her child gets all of the chances to live life to the fullest, especially getting the chance to do things that I didn’t get to do when I was a child. For me, saying no to Kaleb, just because I was scared of something was right up there on my mental, ‘Bad Parent’ list. I so wanted him to have this chance to go camping! Plus, the fear of this has limited some of the decisions I’ve made, I would be horrified to think it was limiting his too! I tried to think of legitimate ways around the issue. Such as, I am really busy with work at the moment so maybe he should go without me. Or, erm - well, I couldn’t think of any more.
Get yourself out of that one
“Be positive,” I told myself. “Use your powers of persuasion on yourself, think of the quality time you will have. Do your positive affirmations!” Before I let panic set in, I told Kaleb all about the fabulous weekend we were going to have. I got the tent, the blow up mattresses and confirmed that dates with our friends. There you go. NO getting out of it now! All you have to do, is get your mind to co-operation and you will have a magical weekend…
Cometh the hour…
When the time came, I made sure we had the best road-trip possible - all the best sing-along songs in the car, all of our favourite picnic-on-the-go food, did everything possible to distract myself from the sleeping-al-fresco thoughts. When we arrived it was wonderful to see our friends and see all of our children playing together. There was singing, food, wine and a great campfire with a wonderful sunset - you really couldn’t have pictured it to be more incredible. When it came time for bed, I zipped Kaleb into his bedroom and I put my big girl pants on and zipped myself up good and tight and told myself that I was in an arachnid-proof bubble (after checking everything about ten times with the light from my phone). I snuggled down and was about to drift off into a lovey sleep when the thought occurred to me…”What if someone sneaks in and takes Kaleb while he’s asleep?”
Not what I had planned
Now up until that exact moment, spiders were the only thing that had been my worry. Sleeping in the middle of nowhere, with no door that I could lock to protect me and my family for the first time in my left, had never once occurred to me. I lay in my spider-proof pod feeling like I had just consumed ten espressos, with my heart going crazy and my eyes on sticks trying to see in the dark. After what seemed like an eternity of telling myself to get a grip, I just got up and took myself into Kaleb’s bed and spent the night in there instead! By the next night, I had talked myself back down and I managed to sleep in my own bed and my son slept in his.
It’s a funny thing
The great news at the end of the weekend is that I didn’t get eaten by England’s biggest spider and my son’s only traumatic event was running out of jellies. We laughed so much that our faces ached and have funny stories about our time together that we will be telling them for the rest of our lives. Can you imagine if I had let my fear get in the way of all of that? If I had said, “No thanks,” to that amazing weekend just incase Britain’s Largest Spider came to pay me a visit. Or if I had packed us all up after the first night because I was worried that Kaleb might taken? Fear only has power over us if we allow it to. What I actually fear more, is being controlled by something - that for me, is the scariest thing.
No holding back
I spent such a large part of my life, not stepping out into being what I believed I could be, not doing the things I believed I was capable of doing, because of fear. Fear that people wouldn’t want to hear what I have to say, fear that I wouldn’t be good enough at doing it, fear that I would be found when I had managed to stay hidden and safe for so long after suffering abuse for so many years. Realising that fear has held me back from living my life purpose is a huge lesson for me - so when it came to sleeping in the tent to prove I can or finding a way out...there wasn’t really any decision to be made.
People tell me I’m very disciplined. I promise, I’m really not. I’m just done with living in fear. So tell me, what would your life looked like if you gave up your fear and took back your control?
“So please ask yourself: What would I do if I weren’t afraid? And then go do it.” - Sheryl Sandberg
Big love, always