So as an anxious, homebody, sometimes hypochondriac in general nervous nelly, I encourage myself to stay in my own bubble of assumed safety. That means that if I have a bad feeling about something that may be out of the norm for me or something new, then I don’t do it. This is a thing I’m working on. You could say I’m overcoming these fears.
How am I working on this, you may ask?
Self – Analysis
Well let me start with how I think I became this way. A little self analysis never hurt me. When I was really young, I was fairly independent. Besides not having a ton of friends except my cousins, I typically played alone, read alone or colored alone. I would go on little adventures around my grandparents house that had felt so enormous to me like a mansion would. There would always be some sort of animal I’d find in their two level backyard, such has baby bunnies or the random duck with her trail of ducklings. But then suddenly I started being afraid of things. Dark sections of basement, reading in a room alone, even going to bed was all very terrifying to me. So I started developing coping methods. My parents got me a dog (Lady) that followed me around so I wouldn’t be alone or have to go downstairs by myself. To sleep I would cover the entire top of my bed in stuffed animals + Lady and I would lay there gripped with fear until I passed out from exhaustion. Thankfully these fears lessened as I grew up, but I still worry and I have some slight anxiety these days.
Change is Good
In order to work on this aloofness or distance that I may have developed, I’ve started putting myself out there in different ways. First publishing a children’s book, which got more criticism from my friends than anyone else. Then joining a yoga studio for a 7 month long yoga teacher training. I’m still trying to develop my voice but it taught me how to take better care of myself, mentally and physically. Moving for work was a big one, especially to a city without knowing anyone, without that personal safety net. I think this blog could be a new one that I have. I’d like to interact with more people and develop my writing in a new way. I would like to be more consistent with my writing, to constantly be producing.
Something huge that I decided that I wanted to do more of was traveling this year. Then I met and fell in love with my boyfriend that works remotely and is an expert traveler. Chris is also a photographer [website here] and uses his travel to expand on his photography and experience things you can’t get in the Midwest. I think one thing I was most excited about for the trip was the food. I love trying regional cuisine. We had only been together a month when we went on a weeklong whirlwind trip around the southwest. I’ve included a little map of our crazy vacation below.
The first real adventure that put me out of my comfort zone was our sleeping arrangements. The first night we slept in the car at a rest stop. I am a night owl so I couldn’t go right to sleep so I stayed up and read a little. My anxious brain that listens and reads too much true crime kept me on edge and nervous. There came a point in the night though that I realized that everyone around us in there cars was literally doing the exact same thing. Road weary travelers just trying to get some shuteye. That may seem a little silly to have an anxiety about, but it was one that I overcame.
The next adventure was the next morning when we got to the Carlsbad Caverns. We were going to go down to see the caves and the stones and stalactite and stalagmite rocks. They asked if we wanted to take the elevator down or walk down ourselves. I clearly did not know what I was in store for when I said lets walk down. It took us roughly a hour and a half. The entrance to the cave boasted that 17 different bat species live in the caves and that there are over 400,000 living there currently. That didn’t alarm me until we started making our descent. It was steep, not well lit, and I clung to Chris until my eyes adjusted and we were much further into the cave. I conquered my unknown fear of caves in this moment alone. https://www.nps.gov/cave/index.htm
I won’t tell you every little detail of the trip, otherwise this could probably be a book. There’s just two other important moments from it that I really came back feeling more in control, feeling more sure of myself. The next one was when we went to Horseshoe Bend. It was just a little trek up and it was congested with people. Families and field trips and buses full of people. We got up to the top and I didn’t realize that there wasn’t a railing, that you literally were looking into the cavern of the bend. That was incredibly alarming to me since there were small children running amok on the uneven cliff. There was even a wedding ceremony taking place on a section of the cliff, which was really amazing, but terrifying just the same. I wouldn’t necessarily say I have a fear of heights or cliffs, I just really wasn’t wanting to see someone do something stupid that ended their life in that moment.
The last thing I took away from that trip was something that I’ve done before, something I will do again but something I’m still not 100% comfortable with. Tent camping. We set up our tent at Arches National Park. It’s an amazing place with breathtaking views. We weren’t even there that long, only for one night but it wasn’t easy for me. I think that once I do it a few more times and build a confidence around it, that I’ll love it more and more. It doesn’t hurt that I have a knowledgeable companion to help me with this struggle.
I’m going to do more this year and into the next to work on this confidence and the lack thereof. I think that baby steps are good, but huge steps where you conquer more at once can really be therapeutic, like this trip was for me. I can’t wait to see what is next on this adventure I’m on. I’ve added more pictures to my instagram from this trip for you to enjoy so check them out! [ https://www.instagram.com/simplymooreblog/ ]