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conquering fear

We bought our house almost six years ago and I just cleaned out my closet for the first time. We unpacked and settled into life with a new baby, and then time flew. This post isn’t about closets or decluttering, babies or home improvements though. This is about conquering fear. It’s about a revelation I had, while cleaning out my closet. 

There have been several times over the years when I have thought to myself,“Self, you have to clean out that closet.” See, it had become a place where I just stuck all the things: anything that I didn’t have a place for, didn’t want to deal with at the time, didn’t know what to do with.

That closet was full of clothes from my pre-baby body, maternity, post baby number one, two, now three and all of the in between. It was full of photo albums of our married life together, and yearbooks from our past lives. And junk, lots of junk.

I really did not want to clean out this closet. It seemed though, that the longer I put it off, the more I ignored it, the bigger of a burden it became. And you want to know the craziest part? I wasn’t afraid of the work it was going to take to declutter the closet. I wasn’t dreading the organizing or getting rid of stuff. In fact, I have been decluttering my entire house and have a new found love of throwing stuff away.

The real problem…

I was afraid of the spiders. I just knew there were spiders in the closet. Back in the corners, under the stuff that hadn’t been moved in years. Definitely spiders, lots of them

I didn’t want to pick up that big, black suitcase in the back and risk a spider running out over my toes. Nope. 

Now we could go into lengthy conversations about Arachnophobia, but clearly I’ve got issues there, but we’ll save that for another day.

The point here is, I just thought it was going to be scary and hard, so I put it off and let it hang over my head. I added it to the list of things I need to do that I avoid by saying I don’t have time.

Now let me tell you what happened when I finally, after years, went in and cleaned out that closet.

The anticipation of moving all of the dusty things in the back of the closet loomed. I put on shoes, ’cause ya know, spiders. And then I moved the stuff

Okay, that was a lie. I put on shoes, prepped the shop vac with a very, very long extension tube and turned it on. If you need further explanation about my plan, I was going to suck those evil little things right up and then run.

That was my whole plan.

So, I get ready, physically and emotionally. So much turmoil. And then…

There was nothing there. Nothing. Nothing at all.

I mean, barely a dust ball. N-o-t-h-i-n-g.

I then had a brief moment of silence, a small sigh of relief, and a little giggle at myself.

In that moment, it dawned on me that the spiders are not in our closets, they’re in our heads.

All of these things we build up in our minds to be scary, and daunting, so hard and stressful, they just aren’t.

A real life example of this (not that spiders are not real life, I mean come on now) would be when my friend invited me to MOPs. She invited me countless times for over a year, but I was “too busy”. 

What I really meant was… I was too busy to enter a room full of women I did not know willingly, when that sounds like a bad scene from my school days. It took me back to times of having pre-licked candy corn thrown in my hair and being tripped while I walked up the steps. No, thank youI’ll eat breakfast at home, where it’s safe.

When I finally caved I agonized in my mind about putting myself in a situation where I would have to sit at a table of other females who would probably hate me, and eat eggs with them. I put myself through so much stress and over-thinking. And then, I went.

And guess what? You are currently reading the blog of a MOPs-obsessed mother who schedules ALL things around attending MOPs. I mean, even vacations. I do not miss a MOPs meeting. The women are not only nice, they are now my friends. And I wish I had started sooner, because I could have talked to them about the spiders in my closet.

In closing, when things seem too scary, or hard, or out of your comfort zone, I encourage you to remind yourself of this simple line:

The spiders are in my head, not in my closet.

Then, you can have a little laugh at me and my shop vac, and carry on to just do the thing, whatever it is.


Related: After writing this and looking for related articles to include in this post, I realized I wrote this post about dealing with OCD behaviors through a lesson I learned, also in my closet. So, apparently my closet gives me a lot of writing inspiration. So, so strange.

Image Credit: Unsplash

conquering fear

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