Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Arachnids, Academics & Answers

I am deathly afraid of spiders. You know those giant barn spiders with those beady little eyes that bear right down into your soul? Those are the WORST. And they show up overnight and decide to create their intricate webs over my open feed bags I need to get into to feed my show calves. (My stomach is tying in knots and goosebumps are forming on my arms just thinking about them.)

Tears were inevitable for the first half of the school day in kindergarten for me. The first day I didn’t cry, my teacher sent a note home with me to my parents - that was in February (and school started in September). I was so afraid of what I was missing at home. My mom would have to be sitting on the back step exactly where I left her when I got off the bus, and she would tell me that is where she sat all day and “...absolutely nothing had happened on the farm.” While I eventually started to like school - love it actually - the thought of moving to another building to start the 4th, 6th, and 9th grades was terrifying. The idea of starting high school was hideous; the intimidating height of upperclassmen and imminent stress of the never-ending class load wasn’t exactly something I was looking forward to.

Here's a glimpse at what my weeks look like.
My biggest fear, though, is the unknown of the future. I make lists - for everything. I try to plan out everything as much as possible. Details are crucial and I need to know as much as possible in advance; preparedness is something I thrive on. Setting goals and moving in that constant direction is a path I rarely stray from. But I’ve learned tomorrow is not guaranteed.

Fear can be so powerful. It can paralyze us from daily life and steal away incredible opportunities placed in front of us. But when we push past what scares us, we are able to learn, grow, and pursue our passions, goals and dreams. Sometimes other people push us out of our comfort zones, sometimes we don’t have a choice and are placed in a new environment where we have to face our fear, and sometimes we have to make the conscious decision to challenge ourselves to go beyond the fear.  

It’s easy to stick to what we know and what’s comfortable - but until we face our fears, we will never know what lies on the other side. Maybe you love to play basketball, and you’ve been working on a new move on the court, but you are too scared to try it out in a game. Once you feel prepared, take the leap of faith - face your fear one step at a time. One of my favorite quotes is:
“Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.”

What do you fear the most? What is holding you back? Is it the uncertainty of the outcome? Or maybe the rejection or hurt that might accompany the risk? Why? How will you face your fear?

Everyday, we make the decision to stick to our normal routine or live the day as if it might be our last. Facing those barn spiders is scary to me, but if I don’t, I know I will never be able to accomplish my goals in the show barn. Having teachers, parents, and friends support and push me through moving to a new school or trying something new has led to some pretty amazing opportunities. If I hadn’t started high school, I wouldn’t have been involved in FFA; and then I never would have had the incredible opportunities to travel the world, meet so many incredible people, or discover and pursue my passion. And being prepared only gets you so far - my teammates have taught me the importance (and the fun) of “winging it” once in a while. And yes, the future is scary, but that is just part of life’s adventure and it's all about the attitude we have to embrace it.

Stationed by the ear of corn, 

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