How to Beat Fear in the Human Race and Get a Shiny Medal

Okay, so maybe, if you beat fear out of your life, you won’t get a shiny gold medal.

But you should.

Living in fear is something so many people do every day.  And for some, fear is a legitimate reaction to preserve the human race.  If you live in Syria, for example.  If I lived in Syria, I am all in favor of my nervous system telling to get the hell outta somewhere dangerous.

But in the modern world, I’m not encountering real danger very often.  When was the last time the threat of death or even physical harm stopped you from doing anything?  Has fear stopped you from getting your eyebrows threaded/giving a speech/joining a circus?

I, being in lovely suburban, middle-class America, decided to go to get my eyebrows threaded one sunny afternoon.

And yet, despite the sun shining (er, rainclouds storming), birds chirping (I mean, the sound of construction workers tearing up the roads), I was wracked with anxiety.  I was literally shaking as I drove to the Place Where They Extract My Eyebrow Hairs.  I wanted to cry.  I was so overwhelmed with fear.

This is something I have done for several years.  (Ah, the power of the threader over my upkeep.)

But why?  I have, on occasion, ended up with manly eyebrows, and the world has not ended.   The process itself is quick and painless, too.

So.

In lieu of an actual medal, I give you a mneumonic to go through.  MEDAL: Meditate, Excavate, Detonate, Allocate, Lactate  (just kidding…the actual last word is Live, but I really wanted an -ate to finish off the list…ah, well, c’est la vie). 

Meditate:  Why are you so afraid?  Some thought, not much, needs to occur.  Be careful not to get too deep into your thoughts, which can lead to melancholy, over-analysis, and some serious Google-searching anxiety cropping up at three am over fears deeply rooted in your childhood.  Meditation is not the most important here.  Find a reason, settle upon it, and move on!  Most anything will do.  Realizing that there is a reason, however trite or important, and acknowledging it, is important.  In my case, I realized that it was because going to the Place Where They Extract My Eyebrow Hairs reminded me of my younger self, when I hated running into my peers there.  It was like going to the Place was openly admitting that I was an ape of hair.   An APE!

I was so convinced. This was the me the world saw.

Excavate:  Take those memories out of your head and put them in your current situation.  I have hair.  So does everyone else.  I take pride in taking care of myself, and if I feel great after the process, shouldn’t I feel great before and during the threading as well?

Detonate:  Imagine those memories, sticking them in a box, and exploding all the negative feelings and insecurities that (possibly) accompany them.  BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM.

Allocate:  Yes, that time in your life was bad.  Instead of ruminating on this, allocate those emotions to a better, more charitable use.  Instead of feeling sorry for yourself, donate that pity to a cause like  girls who can’t afford an education or perhaps contributing to the fund for fallen rangers who have died protecting apes.

Live: Finally, go get your eyebrows threaded/finish that speech/join a circus.  You’ve earned your medal.

 

Success, and Why I’m Obsessed With It

Success.

I haven’t been very much of a prolific blogger lately (yikes). I had been away at the beach in the no man’s land of no internet. Being cut off from the world made me a prolific writer. It also made me incredibly lonely with my thoughts when events were going on.

Lately, I have been so obsessed with measuring success and progress. I thought I left that world behind when I finished college applications, but I suppose not!

Okay, to get the full picture, these are my high school hobbies:
-Writing -Lacrosse -Tennis -Running
-Piano
-Swimming -Volunteering -Costume-making

Not really in that order.

I love doing everything. I am addicted to learning about new hobbies.

The problem is, I love being successful at everything. I push myself to my limits and beyond. This can be amazingly helpful (I received a Most Improved medal for my first year on the lacrosse team!), but it can also be frustrating, and utterly exhausting. I thought I’d brought the pressure down to a manageable level, but it’s started to creep into my exercise.

In the past two days, I’ve spent at least two hours a day exercising. I’m beginning to break in my hiking boots (on the treadmill, unfortunately, because I don’t live near trails).

I have been diligent about recording every minute I’ve been working out.

Diligence is good, right?

Well, the pressure grew to the point where I would get really frustrated if I swam for 18 minutes instead of 20, or something like that. I started measuring everything and stacking things up against how they would prepare me for my hiking trip (upper body strength, etc.) or my half-marathon.

I also did not have a very relaxing vacation, due to a number of reasons, but tensions were high as I returned home. I sort of collapsed with the exhaustion and then I was swept up again in college preparations. The two issues piled up against each other and it was causing me a lot of stress.

Sometimes I guess I just have to take life as it comes.

I swam today. No stopwatch. No goggles. Just me and even breathing.

It was kind of meditative…something I’ve been experimenting with after dinner lately. My family meditates for a few minutes after eating. We all gather on the living room floor. I don’t think it’s really meditating–my dad counts; my mom flits through the day; I stretch. It’s a start.

I know I have plenty of time to get in shape for the Disney Princess Half-Marathon (which I am now officially registered for! YAY!). There’s no turning back after paying that entry fee, haha!

And the hiking trip…I’ll be okay. Pressure, get out of my exercise routine!!

Have you tried meditating? What about yoga? If you don’t–how do you wind down your day?

Have you run without a watch lately? Or the equivalent, if you don’t run?