Yesterday evening, Felix and I went for a run around our neighborhood. We ran a quick 1.7 miles before I nearly keeled over from a pain that felt similar to a truck driving over my back very slowly. Being a woman sometimes is REALLY FUN, YOU GUYS.
Unfortunately, we had to walk back instead of run, so to pass the time and strike up conversation, I asked the question of, “What are some of your irrational fears?”
One thing I enjoy about Felix is that he’ll always answer any question I ask. Sometimes it might not be the answer that I’m looking for, like when I ask “What kind of ice cream do you want?” I’m hoping for the Caramel Cookie Crunch by Talenti and he says, “Oh, that raspberry sorbet looks good.”
Um, what? No. I said ice cream. SORBET IS NOT ICE CREAM.
I asked, “What are some of your irrational fears,” and I noticed his wheels started turning instantly. He told me his, which I will not share because I’m his girlfriend, therefore I keep his secrets, but then he asked me what mine are.
Right off the bat, I said, “Lice.”
Some of you might be like wtf? And so was he, because, to Felix, lice are just “little bugs on your head,” but to me lice are evil, parasitic creatures that make a home in your beautiful, Aveda-shampooed head at their leisure. Like, you were not invited. Get the heck out.
I have never had lice.
I have been around people who have had lice, because 1. I went to elementary school and 2. I am a teacher.
The other fear I mentioned was gaining weight, which, in hindsight, sounds a little ridiculous of me to say, since I am pro-loving your body for what your body is, except when you’re trying to exercise and it decides to fail you by way of PMS instead.
Felix responded with, “That’s concerning,” and it is.
I come from a long history of body image issues. Most girls have. Most guys have. It’s a sickness that takes over your brain the first time someone calls your chubby cheeks “cute,” or when that one tall girl in first grade tells you that you’re fat when you’re playing with your friends on the playground.
I actually remember being in dance rehearsal when I was in 6th grade. We were a week out from competition, and the owner of the studio sat all of the girls down to discuss our eating habits and how we should probably “be more careful,” because competition was seven days away and we needed to look our best.
I remember counting out fifty Goldfish, because that was the suggested serving size, and if I ate more than the suggested serving size, I’d fail myself and everyone around me.
I was 11.
Ever since then, I’ve had an irrational fear of gaining weight, which manifested itself into other irrational fears and behaviors, and it’s basically one giant mess sometimes.
What I need to work on, and what I think we all need to work on, is how to overcome irrational fears.
- Only worry about what’s in your control. – I can’t control if someone around me has lice. I also can’t stop laughing at my ridiculous fear. But I can’t control if someone does have parasitic creatures setting up shop on their heads, but I can control how I react to it, and I can identify the fact that if one has lice, it does not mean their world is ending. They just have several hundred extra friends visiting with them until they douse their heads in Rid, which can be purchased on Amazon for $17.24 or picked up at your local pharmacy, because you bet your booty I have researched it.
- Identify your fears, and embrace them. – Stop ignoring what scares you. Stop pretending it doesn’t exist. Identify your fear. Embrace it. I recognize that I have a fear of waking up one day and not being able to fit into my clothes, so in order for me to combat that fear, I monitor what I eat and exercise regularly because I want to, it makes me feel good, and it also allows me to enjoy a brownie or twelve guilt-free.
- Talk to someone you trust about what you fear. – It’s always better to talk it out than to keep it in. That’s with anything. Seriously, sometimes I keep Felix awake way past his bedtime because I have “feelings,” but I am just so hellbent on talking things out when they’re happening than keeping them to myself. But it helps. You might be tired the next morning and you might even feel a little vulnerable and exposed, but you never regret a good unloading.
Everyone is scared of something. It’s not just you. Some people’s biggest fears are spiders while another’s is losing loved ones. Bottom line is that we all have them.
But no fear is too large to overcome.
No fear is too mighty to control you.
And no fear is too sneaky to steal your joy.
You are in control.