Do you have a paralyzing fear? Something that is so terrifying that your heart feels like it’s going to explode from your chest like a tiny alien when you are about to do it, or see it? I do. Things that get my heart flip flopping include death, public speaking, heights, spiders, drinking again, and peas.
All of these fears are fairly easy to keep under control since they are easily avoidably things like death and heights, but things like spiders and peas, well they sneak up on you don’t they? Surprising you when you least expect them. Shudder…..peas in mac and cheese! Who does that!? Ruining perfectly good cheesy mac.
I had a huge fear of getting sober. Before I made the leap into the dry life, I started to mentally collect names of those who had gone before me. Don’t worry, I didn’t change the subject, we are still talking about sobriety, not death. Brene Brown, a friend on facebook who posted her first year sober, Bradly Cooper. Every time I imagined life without booze I felt like someone was taking my puppy from me. I don’t actually have a puppy, but if I had one that someone was stealing that is the feeling I would have been the feeling.
I am not one who fears being different. My whole life I have been the odd one. Black sheep of the family, check! However there was something unsettling about not drinking in a sea of drinkers, and that feeling like I wouldn’t know how to socialize if I wasn’t drinking. I was right about that last part. I didn’t know how to socialize, and I had to figure out a new way of being in social settings, but maybe that’s a different post.
There is a bigger fear for me, and why I’m here talking about fears, and that is public speaking. It seems to have gotten worse as I have gotten sober. I have taught yoga for years, I have taught photography classes, but suddenly it’s terrifying to think about getting up in front of people and saying words. I am breaking out in a cold sweat just thinking about it. I’ve booked a reiki session for tomorrow to help with the anxiety and I don’t even know if I believe in reiki! That’s how bad I want to get over this shit.
Now you can ask yourself if I have such a huge fear of public speaking, why would I agree to talk at an adventure conference, or agree to a Facebook live interview, or sign a contract (haven’t actually signed but it sounded better to say here) to speak at a women’s conference. These are all valid questions to which I have zero answers. None. Where is my puppy!
Maybe I have a love of self torture. I was going to use the word self flagellation but it sounded too much like flatulence, which made me giggle, and then I wasn’t actually sure if it was the right word for what I was trying to say. Are you still reading? Okay. Maybe I want to see myself stand in front of a crowd crying. What motivates us to do these crazy things? I’ll tell you why I agreed to do it, because I’m tired of being afraid. I’m tired of saying no to things that will help me grow as a person, get my message out there to the world, and I’m so fucking tired of playing small.
I have certainly hit my breaking point and it only took 46 years! I’m a slow learner, but the point is I got here, and now I have to push past all of this anxiety to get where I really need to be. I know there are other women out there ready to be done with the bullshit of living small. We are ready to tackle those mountains, give those speeches, travel those countries, or maybe it’s run that 5k. The point is, we all have things we want to do and a bigger life we want to live, and sometimes we have to get over ourselves to get over that pile of peas and do it.
This whole process of getting over my fear of public speaking has me terrified, but I did something huge 554 days ago. I got sober so I’m pretty sure I can do this too. If I can show up every and not drink no matter how many alcohol ads I see, or drinks I have to refuse (you’d be surprised), or stupid booze t-shirts people wear…No, I’m not going to “earn my booze”, I’m earning my nachos out here on this 6 mile run, and there better not be any peas in it! I’ll try to keep ya’ll updated on the public speaking thing. Feel free to follow me on Facebook where I may go live once in a while to test the waters.