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Friday, November 22, 2013

Facing my fear

20131122_140015I have a confession about my fears. I'm afraid of a lot of seemingly dumb stuff. Fortunately, I've been able to avoid a lot of the things I'm afraid of. I mean, why face your fears unless you really have to, right? Okay, fine. I'm a pretty avoidant person. But sometimes, I'm forced to do things on my own, even if I really don't like it.

Today was one such day. This year our family "adopted" a foster child to buy presents for. We had a lot of fun shopping for our foster child, and we really loved getting to do something to make a child smile. If you have the opportunity to do something like this, I highly encourage it!

The fly in the ointment of our perfect fun is that we have to have our presents wrapped and turned in by Monday. This poses a slight problem for me because I have a very firm "do not take out Christmas things prior to Thanksgiving" policy. We have a ton of wrapping paper, so I didn't want to buy any. I'd meant to ask hubby to get some wrapping paper out of the attic before he left for work, but I forgot.

This is where my fear kicks in. I am TERRIFIED of the attic. First, you have to climb a rickety ladder to get there. Second, the attic is dark. Third, we have a mouse problem, and I think the attic is a perfect place for them to live. Since I am afraid of heights, rickety ladders, the dark, and mice, I think we can all agree that the attic would fit my definition of hell pretty nicely.

But I needed boxes, labels, wrapping paper, and all that stuff I did not need to buy. And I had to get this all done today.  So I braved the rickety ladder and peered into the attic. I spied a roll of wrapping paper within easy reach. I grabbed it and realized I could make it work. I started wrapping presents, then realized I needed boxes and did not have labels. However, we re-use boxes every year and I decided it would be a bad idea to give our icky boxes to someone else. I needed to go to Target for something else, so I thought, perfect! I'll get boxes, labels, and I'll be set.

I went to Target, finished my presents, and ran out of wrapping paper. So I had to brave the attic once more. This time, there were no wrapping paper rolls within easy reach, but I talked good talk to myself, like, "you won't die immediately if a mouse bites you. It'll take time for it to take effect, and maybe they'll have a cure if you go to the hospital in time." I found the wrapping paper box, grabbed the first roll I found, and came down. Unfortunately, it was a small roll, so I had to go back up for more. That roll was also small, so I needed to go up again. Finally, I had to go up ANOTHER time because I miscounted the boxes I needed and had to go up and look for a decent box. All this to say, when I thought I'd need one more roll of wrapping paper, I was DONE. I pieced together some paper for the last two gifts and made it work. There's fighting fear, and then there's just saying, "I did it, and that's enough for me."

Since I am writing about this, you know that I did not die during my excursion. I was not injured. No mouse bit me. In fact, I did not see a mouse or any other creepy crawly creature. I am currently not exhibiting symptoms of being infected with hantavirus.  Nothing bad happened.

Right now, I feel pretty proud of myself. I did it! Of course, it did take all day, and now I have to figure out a different time to deliver the presents, which means that I could have waited for hubby to get home and do all this FOR me, but... that's okay. I did a very good thing for myself, and for some cute little kid who has no idea the struggle I went through to get her presents wrapped. And that's okay too. She'll rip the paper off in about thirty seconds, and that will be the end of that.

20131122_143603Wait, I was supposed to be encouraging here. Bottom line is that I did it. Mostly because I had some kid I will never meet counting on me. Weird motivation, except that as I look at how blessed my family is, it doesn't seem right to not pass that on to someone else. The financial sacrifice did not hurt as much as the five minutes of terror it took to climb down that stupid ladder- five times. Am I the only one for whom down is worse than up?

Anyway, the good thing about facing my fear is that I feel better and stronger having done it. I don't plan on climbing up there again anytime soon, and preferably not in this lifetime, but if I have to, I know I can do it. I think we're all stronger than we think we are, and that we are capable of a lot more than we think we can do. I don't know what you're avoiding because you're scared, but I encourage you to take a leap of faith and try it.

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