Conquering fear is challenging. We wrestle with this emotion inside our minds sometimes for years. Fear can positively challenge us to move forward. Fear can also be crippling and terrifying, holding us back from living the life that we desire.
Either way that you look at it, fear is an emotion that we all experience. The best way to look at fear is as a teacher. Here to teach us lessons that can take us a long long time to look straight into and go head on into it. Today I did this. I was terrified and both liberated from the experience of conquering one of my fears.
I haven’t felt compelled to write for a good 3 months. I didn’t think that I had anything of value to impart to the world. I didn’t think that the voice that comes out when I write, was able to speak. That is not true. I’ve experienced many things in the past 3-4 months. Some things I’ve experienced I never ever imagined I would endure. But I did. I’m not here to write and share them with you today. One day I will.
I want to talk about conquering fear. Fear lives in all of us. It shows up in many different experiences and it’s your body sending a message to your brain saying “Hey, there might be danger here, protect yourself” And so we allow these fears to rule our lives in order to protect us. I’ve learnt that most of the time those fears are not protecting me. They are hindering me from doing and becoming the woman I want to be.
Today I conquered a MASSIVE fear of mine. Something that I have always thought “oh hell no, I am not doing that”. Until today the thought of doing this fear was crippling, terrifying and I spent most of the night tossing and turning about it. Saying to myself “Rachel, you are crazy, why did you sign up to do this”. The thing I signed up for was the Sydney Skinny. A 300m or 900m naked swim in Sydney Harbour for charity. For me being naked in broad daylight is fucking terrifying. The thought of it made my heart race, my breath shorten and my body shake. A series of life events had lead to finally pick this fear up off the shelf and say to it “Alright nudity in daylight, let’s conquer you”. I like to look at fears as voices and sometimes they can take on a whole personality of their own. If you let them, they will rule your life. But you can also see these fear voices as opportunities for lessons, for growth and for change.
I didn’t really sleep last night and got up at 5:30 am. I grabbed my journal and started to write down all the discomfort that this fear was bringing up for me. As I started to unpack this fear, I realized that I wasn’t scared of swimming 300 meters. I wasn’t scared of other people being naked. I was scared of me being naked for the world to see. I was scared of being judged. I was scared of being laughed at. I was scared that other people would notice all the imperfections I see closely in my body every day.
For a very long time, I have not liked my body. I have told myself over and over again how much I hated it. How I didn’t like my pale skin. How I didn’t like my freckles. How I didn’t like my wonky arms. How I didn’t like my feet. What I now realise is that I have been one harsh bitch to my body. A body that is strong, that is healthy and that supports me every single day. Being in naked in public this morning at 8:45 am taught me that my body is amazing. It is beautiful and it is a fine piece of machinery.
I have learnt that most of my fears, after conquering them. It was the story I was making up in my head about it. I turned it into this massive thing. I have overthought this fear and allowed it to consume my life far more than I would like to admit. Today I learnt that being naked in public is nothing to be ashamed of and that I have no reason to be ashamed of my body.
We can get so wrapped up in the story that we tell ourselves that we start to believe that story. There is nothing productive or good about this. But it fuels the fear that surrounds that story. What we forget to do when we start playing this story over and over again in our minds, is we forget to break it down. We don’t get to the root of why and where this fear came from. Most of the time I found that your fears lead back to something or somewhere you feel inadequate in your life. For me, most of my fears surround not being loved, not being accepted or rejected.
It is our responsibility to choose how we respond to fear. We can choose to let us cripple us and stop us from experiencing the best things that life has to offer. Or we can go, you know what fear, let us go see what all the fuss is about and choose to feel it and do it anyway.
Love Rachel x