3 ways to put your fear in a cage

Saturday was a freakishly beautiful day. When I saw the weather forecast earlier in the week, I announced that we’d be going to the zoo on Saturday and I kept reminding Mike subtly. When Lola woke up that day, I got her dressed and poked my head in to Mike one last time.

“We’re going to the zoo. Can you be ready to leave at 9?”

He grunted.

By 9:15, we packed into the grey-blue station wagon and hit the road.

We arrived at Zoo America, Hershey’s attempt at a zoo (one of the areas features white tail deer…), paid the entrance fee and walked through the sliding doors. The first animal we saw was a pacing – probably hungry – lynx. I eagerly pointed out the large kitty to Lola but she wrapped her scrawny legs around my waist and refused to look.

She put her head on my shoulder, then I would turn so that she could see. Then she would flip her head and I turned back again. And again. And again.

“It’s just a big kitty. Me-owwww….” I coaxed.

Little by little she warmed up to each new pen and enclosure. She started making her signature animal sounds and even allowed Mike to put her down to walk between exhibits.

When we got to the black bear cage, she excitedly watched the fish and promptly ignored the giant bear that swam directly in front of her!

Fear is a funny thing.

If Lola had come across one of these animals in her backyard, she’d have every reason to be afraid. In fact, I hope she would find me as fast as possible and use those scrawny legs just as she had when she saw the lynx! But the zoo makes it easy to forget fear.

Fear is misleading & fickle. Often, once you have a grasp of your situation, fear is irrational & fleeting.

We feel fear when:

1.) We’re doing something new.

When there’s a new way to do a familiar task or a new adventure you’re about to embark on, there’s fear. We wonder if we’ll ever get it right. We wonder if we can meet expectations. We wonder if others will see we’re a newbie.

All things that are new become old! Before long, new things become routine, commonplace, comfortable. Waiting out fear isn’t so hard when we concentrate on what will come.

2.) We’re doing something we don’t fully understand.

Things that our mysterious – like a bump in the night – can be frightening. When we take the time to understand our situation better, fear starts to fade away.

It’s important to not become obsessed with the details of the mysterious, though. In an effort to find out more, we often fail to move forward. Get enough information to assuage your fear and then press on!

3.) We’re doing something with a crutch.

It’s easy to feel fear when we have something or someone to comfort us. When we shake off our support, it’s often easier to see our goal plainly.

Lola was so focused on clinging to me and Mike that she didn’t pause long enough to realize there weren’t any animals that were going to eat her. Just animals in cages that she could look at without fear!

Fear is a funny thing.

Pause, breathe.

Fear is often more a misunderstood situation than the true reflection of reality.

Live & laugh a little.

You’ll see it’s just a big kitty in a cage.

15 thoughts on “3 ways to put your fear in a cage

  1. Awww, love this post. New things always tend to bring fear, but like you said just take a deep breath. The most rewarding things to me are new things I conquer.

    1. I agree, Alicia! I like change… but “new” new stuff scares me. More often than not, it’s straightforward & easy.

      Nothing to fear!

  2. It is really appropriate that you posted this today. I’m working on conquering my biggest fear: Taxes. I just started really taking the steps to speak with someone about it, because I am feeling a bit overwhelmed.

    1. oy. Taxes can be really scary especially when you’re in business for yourself. I always do mine myself because I like a challenge… but I have made sure to speak to a professional to get a second opinion on the way I do things…

      Speaking of which… I owe her an email… :)

      Good luck!

  3. What a great post! it really hit home for me! I tend to have lots of fear and anxiety about new creative adventures! its something I’m working on!
    Maybe I’ll visualize putting them in some cages.

    Thanks for the fresh outlook, and btw…. your daughter is adorable!

    1. Thanks, Kim! Fear isn’t too much of an issue for me – I would not survive if we were still being hunted by things! But I have such sadness for others when their fear holds them back.

      You can be sure you can always find a kick in the pants right here!

    1. Thanks Elizabeth! Isn’t it though? I think we tend to think of fear as permanent & unchanging – but really, something small changes are our fears just wash away!

  4. Totally agree! For me, fear is the unknown and misunderstanding. I’ve been putting off a goal of mine for my business simply because the process seems daunting and overwhelming which ends up turning into fear, will it be received well? Can I do it? But I find pausing, like in your post, helps tremendously and taking things step by step.

    1. Dooooooooo it 😉 There have been many times when “the unknown” gave me pause – but working through it is way to rewarding to avoid!

  5. Amazing post Beautifully written!! Thank you so much, this is exactly what I needed to hear today, ironically enough:) I am 19 days away from moving to Portland OR to go back to school to get my MFA, and last night I got teary-eyed thinking of all that I am leaving, and scared at the road ahead of me…the unknown.

    And I am glad that Lola overcame her fear so quickly, hopefully I can do the same:)

  6. Great timely post. My 14-year-old is going off to Fort Dix for a one-week encampment, and he’s been bouncing off the walls emotionally. I’ve been so busy being insulted by his comments, it never occured to me that he’s fearful. Thanks for the insight!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *