#9 - Face a fear:
Fears, we all have them. Mine are very common: needles, spiders, drowning. While all of them scare me senseless and I've faced two of them in big ways (I will explain the scuba diving story another time), I think I'll address the first one I faced.
I've been deathly afraid of needles longer than anyone knows. Yes, I've had my ears pierced before, but those are done with a special gun. I'm talking about needle needles.
In fact, I have distinct memories of needing to be held down at the doctors office because I would scream and cry when I saw that syringe. I can't tell you what started my fear of needles, but even at 28 years old, I need someone to talk me down when I have to get a shot. Yet when I was 18, I was determined to try and face my somewhat irrational fear head on.
It was my freshman year of college when my friend Liz had told me she wanted to get a tattoo. Nothing too major, just a simple arm band of vines and leaves. When her parents saw it, they were a little upset, but I thought it looked beautiful. But getting back to the original story, when Liz proposed this idea, I had been thinking about piercing my navel. Of course, she encouraged the thought and before we knew it, both of us were on the hunt for the perfect tattoo/piercing parlor in Westchester County. Our search sent us to our friend, Daina, who was covered in various tattoos & piercings. We were in luck when she told us to go to "Big Joe & Sons" in Yonkers, NY. After a phone call to make our appointments, the plan was officially set.
Many times I thought I was going to chicken out on getting it done, but I assured myself that I needed to do this. If not for a cool, new piercing, than to face this crazy fear that has paralyzed me for years. So on the day of our appointment, we went into the shop and while Liz picked out her cool tattoo, I went straight to the chair.
After 10 years, the distinct memories of who did it and the layout of the room have become a little hazy, but what assured me was seeing all the equipment cleaned and opened in front of me. I knew I was paying a little bit more than most people for a piercing, but I knew I was in the right hands. I laid down on my back, trying to take deep breaths as the piercer prepared his station.
When I saw he was ready, I closed my eyes. I couldn't watch him pierce my skin, because I would feel He told me to keep taking deep breaths and after I took this one deep breath and exhaled, I would be done. I figured he knew what he was talking about and after one deep breath and a slight pinch of the skin, I felt instant relief when I heard him say "alright, you're all done."
Looking down, there was this silver ring peeking out below. I almost couldn't believe it, I had gotten a body piercing and I had not freaked out or cried like I had in the past. It felt vindicating and wonderful. True, I had many, many months of cleaning it to make sure it didn't get infected, but I was ok with that. I conquered a huge hurdle in a pretty intense way.
So yeah, I may still panic or cry when they give me a shot or take blood, but now I know that for at least one time, I was able to handle it. And that means more than any vaccination.