Fear has held me hostage for much of my adult life.
- Fear of starting over kept me in an emotionally abusive marriage for 10 years.
- Fear of disappointing others kept me saying yes to things when I should have said no.
- Fear of setting boundaries and hurting people’s feelings kept me in one-sided friendships way past their expiration date.
- Fear of asking for more kept me in jobs in which I was underpaid and overworked.
These are all fears I finally started facing in my 30s.
With less than 5 months until I turn 40, I’m continuing to do things that scare me. On March 7th, surrounded by a group of women from the Wine Hiking Society, I faced my very healthy fear of heights head on by doing Angels Landing, a hike I always knew I was physically capable of doing but wasn’t entirely sure if I was mentally capable.
It’s easy to say “I’m going to do this” when you are at the trailhead with your friends; it’s another thing to press on when you’re paralyzed with fear and standing on a 4- to 5-foot narrow trail overlooking a 1000-foot drop.
But press on I did. I made a firm decision that I was going to complete Angels Landing, even though I’d probably cry a little. Or a lot. Either way, I knew I could count on the ladies from the Wine Hiking Society to provide me with emotional support. That’s what this group is all about: women encouraging and supporting other women in the outdoors in a safe, non-judgmental space.
And that’s exactly what they did, whether it was reassuring me that I was safe or distracting me through conversation–or even holding my hands.
When I’ve faced my fear of heights in the past, I’ve found that the moment I allow myself to say or think that I am scared, my body hears those thoughts and becomes paralyzed with fear. To busy my mind and ward off fear, I repeated out loud over and over (sometimes calmly and sometimes frantically), “I am safe. I am brave.” Saying those words repeatedly out loud kept my feet moving.
Completing this hike meant so much more to me than I can even begin to express on this post, as do the women who were with me on the trail.
In some ways, completing this hike felt like a defining moment in my life: as though reaching the end released me from all the fears and false beliefs that have held me captive while simultaneously sending a clear message to the universe that I am going fearlessly into my 40s.
Written by Angelique Fish