Overcoming Fear (Terror)

Published on September 23, 2014

Do you have fears?  I do.  Mountain biking terrifies me.  Even thinking about it makes my heart race a little bit.  What’s strange about that is I actually love being active in a conventional way.  I run half marathons.  My favorite way to get an endorphin rush is to cycle though a pace line on my road bike.  I can pull off a split jerk (kind of). My husband is a mountain biker, and most of my friends are too.  Increasingly it’s been annoying me that I’m not taking part in their great stories spent on two wheels on the trails.  I don’t want to hear the stories, I want to be part of them.  So, I realized it was time to put on my big girl pants and get on a mountain bike.  I faced my fear this weekend and it was awesome.  Awesome.  I had so much fun I did it again.

So why tell you this?  I’m guessing you all are faced with fears from time to time too.  Maybe some more often than others, and I know it can be a drag.  Maybe it’s approaching that professor you worship with a new idea, or trying a new material or approach to your work.  Or climbing the rock wall in the gym.  Maybe it’s walking into a department other than your own to just check it out, or applying for a study abroad opportunity, or talking to that person…  I imagine the list is long if you’re anything like me.

I would like to say ‘just do it!’ or ‘go for it, you’ll be fine!’ but I know from experience it’s just not that easy, but the first step may be.  Committing to committing.  That’s the first step because it gets your head in the right space.  You’re doing it.  Then you need to build up around that, but be patient about it.  For me mountain biking, I built up a safety net and went with two friends that knew where I was coming from and wanted to ride with me on my own terms.  They gave just the right amount of advice and space exactly when I needed it.  They were my cheerleaders and had my back.  That’s what made it for me.  And this giant bruise on my leg, the result of me hitting a tree and being pulled from my clips and landing horizontal on the side of the trail is totally worth it.  Next time, I’ll make sure I’m not bearing too much weight on my handlebars when I’m charging towards a small tree root step.  There’s clearly lots more learning ahead.

So, my hope for all of you is that at some point while you’re here at VCUarts you can figure out how to check just a few fears off your list, because I can verify that they can get heavy.

Now, on to public speaking and heights…