Reflections Part 2: Confidence

I mentioned in Part 1 that I gained more confidence in 2012. Before, I didn’t New Year 2012 goldlike going out of my comfort zone–which meant as little small talk with the grocery store cashier as possible and keeping the jetski to just-fast-enough-to-keep-me-going.

Growing up, I wasn’t really a risk-taker. I was the one who stood back and shouted, “Be careful!” when someone tried something new. I was the kid who had a panic attack when I realized I’d climbed higher than 10 feet in a tree. I got better at pretending I was confident. When Justin & I were married, he talked me into trying a lot of new things, but I still didn’t feel confident.

I first started noticing the change after Matthew was born. I think it might have been that I felt that my life was a bit insane, or maybe that I just needed to do something. Whatever it was, I started rock-climbing.

That might not sound significant, but it was. I’ve always been scared of heights. I couldn’t stand up straight if I was more than five feet from the ground. I didn’t like using ladders and there was no way you’d ever get me on a roof.

My friend Elyse talked me into going rock-climbing with her, and at first I was really nervous. The thought that ropes and a harness would keep me from falling to my death didn’t really help. But our first time out, Elyse made me climb up a bit, then let go so I would learn to trust her and the rope.

About a month later, I climbed a 90-foot cliff. I didn’t freak out when I realized I was above tree-level, though I did have to sit down at the top and take a few deep breaths.

That was a turning point for me. I hadn’t completely conquered my fear of heights, but I’d become confident to not let it stop me from doing something I’d always thought would be fun.

There wasn’t such a big change over the rest of the year–I just started doing little things like actually interacting with strangers when I went out, rather than keeping my eyes down and my little shell drawn over me. Justin taught me to drive a stick-shift, something I previously swore up and down that I couldn’t get the hang of, and went on to teach me how to ride a dirtbike.

In my writing, my confidence has wavered back and forth, but I’ve gotten to the point where I just write regardless of my confidence level that day. I probably won’t get as much done, but I do try to press through.

I’ve never chosen words to describe my year, but 2012 has made me consider starting. Once I realized how my confidence was increasing, and started actively working on that, my year felt extremely productive even though my writing wasn’t.


About H. A. Titus

H. A. Titus is usually found with her nose in a book or spinning story-worlds in her head. Her love affair with fantasy began at age twelve, when her dad handed her The Lord of the Rings after listening to it on tape during a family vacation. Her stories have been published in Digital Dragon Magazine, Residential Aliens Magazine, and four anthologies: Alternative Witness; Avenir Eclectia Volume 1; The Tanist's Wife and Other Stories; and Different Dragons Volume II. In December 2013, her short story "Dragon Dance" won Honorable Mention in a Writers of the Future contest. She lives on the shores of Lake Superior with her meteorologist husband and young son, who do their best to ensure she occasionally emerges into the real world. When she's not writing, she can be found rock-climbing, skiing, or hanging out at her online home, hatitus.wordpress.com.

4 comments on “Reflections Part 2: Confidence

  1. I’m jealous of your conquering of the stick-shift. My husband really wants me to learn how to drive his manual Subaru, but I start to literally have an anxiety issue every time I think about it. Good for you on tackling those fears.

  2. What a great story you have here H A Titus! You face your fear even though you somewhat feel afraid to try things out. I think that is what true courage is all about.

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