Conquering my fears

I’ve been unpacking my fears, but while I was busy unpacking I didn’t even realize what I was doing. What an exhilarating feeling! (Context Meaghan…) Most of my morning has been a learning day filled with curiosity, wonder and the occasional ‘ah ha’ moment. Gear spread out all over my desk for easy access, stands and tripods in every other corner. Books strewn around the apartment for quick reference.

To some this is a disaster zone, to me it’s the learning process. Learning comes to me in the form of doing, unpacking the text into steps I can follow, practical trial and error. My current attention span isn’t long enough to remember verbal directions, hence the quick reference books strewn about. This action only inspires further action, more trial and error. Plus the occasional victory dance when the goal of trial becomes reality.

Today’s victories make it difficult to remember the feelings of fear and inadequacy from last week. Sitting in therapy feeling not good enough, under qualified and out of my depth. Those fears were so real I could have displayed them on a shelf. Not quite a distant memory, but still a tinge of regret for believing the lies I told myself. For believing that I couldn’t.

Everyone has fears and some serve a purpose, like survival. Other fears are less prominent, more like a rumor you believe but no one actually said. These are the fears that hold us back in life, the ones that keep us stuck in a place of uncertainty. These are the fears I unpacked today.

Am I the best there ever was? Hardly. Will I be the best there ever will be? Not likely, and not an actual aspiration of mine truthfully. But with some self-teaching and practice I grow more confident in my skills each day, shedding more light onto the darkness of fear. I ask for critical feedback from others, making sure that both feet are still planted firmly on the ground despite the euphoric freedom I feel.

The choice I made is the same choice offered to everyone. Do something or do nothing. For too long I chose do nothing and remained firm in my fears of failure and inadequacy. It is hardly a comfortable place, but it was familiar and what I thought I deserved. This is a place many people can relate to, I’m sure.

Change is scary. It’s new and different and often unpredictable. All wonderful reasons to embrace life and make a change. For me the choice to do something almost wasn’t even a conscious one. Please understand my whole life has to be pre-planned, scheduled in advance. This provides me the opportunity to prepare, to psych myself up, to unpack the fears that arise before I leave the house.

It was one day that I was attempting to make plans with a friend, thinking a week ahead, something we has discussed a month and half ago. Surprisingly my friend suggested the following day. This threw my whole system out of whack. Fear, anxiety and spiraling thoughts ensued. Then a little voice inside said “why not”? A voice almost to quiet to hear. On a whim I said sure and made myself the commitment that I could be there for an hour, hour and a half tops. That would be sufficient enough for my decision to do something and wouldn’t come across as rude when it came to say my goodbyes.

For that first hour I watched the clock, but after that hour something changed. By doing something I became engrossed in my action and just went with the flow. Instead of arguing with the insecure little voice in my head, I focused my energies on action and ignored it. Time flew by and I was able to be present in the moment.

When I finally arrived home some eight hours later, still hyped, I sat down to review my work and experiences of the day as a whole. Soon enough while I was still grateful for the time spent with wonderful friends, passion waned. Suddenly the number of photos I had taken throughout the day (off and on for a couple hours) was overwhelming. Figuring I had probably overdone it for one day I decided to get some sleep and take a fresh look in the morning.

Those pictures would sit untouched for two days. Back in my cave of fear I went back to believing it was too daunting, that I wasn’t good enough. Mentally I began drafting my apology to my friend, that this project would never be finished. Resignation set in and it was disappointing. Still a people pleaser at heart I made the decision to spend five minutes and produce at least one image.

Those five minutes were tough, and after five I walked away. Soon enough though I was back at it. What if I did this slightly differently? Could this work on that image? Did that picture I loved actually turn out? Curiosity began to take over and I kept finding myself drawn back to the task. Then the next day I wanted nothing to do with the project again.

This is how I work. Why actually completing the project, in a week no less, was such a milestone for me. Those fears are still present, but seem like ripples on a pond instead of the whole body of water. Each time those fears creep up I convince myself to try for five minutes. Someday’s that is it. Today five minutes become an hour in the blink of an eye. This applies to all my creative outlets; photography, writing and painting. This is something you can apply to whatever you fear, anything you find too daunting in your life right now.

Have I conquered all my fears completely? Not a chance, but they don’t have the same power they did before I decided to take action. It was through action that I was able to take control of my life and move forward. It is my hope for you that five minutes is all it takes to inspire you into further action, into addressing the fears that hold you back and what moves you forward on your journey.

Do you have a five minute story that you’d like to share? Please tell me all about it in the comments below!

And if no one has told you today, or recently – You’re Awesome!


Edit: my apologies to all my followers for the earlier spam on this post. Somehow I managed to hit the perfect combo of keys on the board to upload mid-draft. Oops! We’ve all been there right?

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