Kris Hey and her son after his first zip-lining experience.
I am a mother who always feared guns. However, that changed last year when I decided it was time to face my fear and fire a gun.
For me, 2013 was a year of accomplished resolutions: a first.
No, I didn't lose 20 pounds or exercise three times a week. And I didn't quit smoking; I don't smoke.
What I did was change my life and, I believe, became a better mother and wife.
Like many people, I carried childhood baggage (probably enough for several long-distance trips) that caused crippling fears and so-often weighed down my mind.
It was time to put it away and to start enjoying life fully and in-the-moment with my family. It was not easy, and many changes I won't list here had to be made. I regret none of them. For the first time in my life, I am truly happy -- most of the time, anyway -- and my husband and son know it and see it.
At the end of 2012, I decided that in 2013 I would take down each and every fear I had, one by one.
My biggest fear, which I overcame, was firing a gun. My story was featured in the Sentinel. You can read that story here.
During this time, I realized that I enjoyed target shooting and also was good at it. So I kept going to the range and joined a group of local women who shoot. In five months of frequent range practicing, I passed four marksmanship levels. Earlier this week, I obtained my sharpshooter designation, which involves right- and left-handed shooting, scored and timed. It was something I didn't think I could accomplish, but I did. The next level is expert, and I am going for it.
My other fears included appearing on television and singing in front of people.I know not everyone can relate to worrying about appearing on television, but if you are in journalism the chance to do TV, Web video or radio often comes up. I've always declined.
Around Mother's Day, I had an opportunity to appear on Flashpoint with Lauren Rowe on WKMG, Local 6, representing this blog, Moms at Work. I was afraid to do it, but this was on my resolution/overcoming fears list, and here was my chance. I felt I had to do it. For days before the show, I stressed and worried. When the Big Day came, I arrived at the studio earlier than anyone else on the panel. I was nervous but prepared. In my opinion, it went really well (you can judge for yourself below). I didn't babble, freeze up or run out the studio door, and, most importantly, I conquered a huge fear. Afterward, I felt amazing, and I know I will never feel scared to do television again. You can see the clip here.
Next up was singing. My own husband, who I have been married to for 14 years and my best friend since childhood have never heard me sing aloud -- except maybe after a few beers and drowned out at a loud concert. With only days left in 2013 and time running out, I called my husband and son into the bedroom one night recently and told them to sit down. I was going to sing to them. I didn't take time to think about it.
I just whipped out my iPhone, put on a song that I listen to during hard times, looked directly in my husband's eyes and then my son's, and sang to them. My husband was very emotional, as I was, but my son just smiled. How (average) I sounded didn't even matter. I did it!
A few weeks ago, after sharing this story with my childhood best friend I sang in front of her, too, at her church's Christmas concert. My husband and son also were there. My friend just laughed and teared up a bit when I looked at her and sang Christmas songs.
Besides overcoming these fears, which was empowering beyond description, I ended up expanding my list to try new things throughout the year.
In no particular order, here is what I did:
1. Zip-lined into 2013 at Old Town. I've never zip-lined in my life, and it felt amazing. I seized the moment while wearing a skirt, to the horror of the crowd and some of my family, but I didn't care. This was the start of my year! And a harnass turned my skirt into shorts. I zip-lined again with my son at the same place later in the year. While I almost had to push him off the platform when his turn came, I knew he would love it. When he went down the line he hooted and hollered so loud and wanted to do it again when he returned.
2. Fasted for 24 hours. I never thought I could get through a day without eating, but I did. I water-fasted to just to see if I could do it. Not-so-surprisingly, fasting turned out to be a spiritual experience as many intend it to be. A lot goes through your mind when you only drink water for hours. If you haven't done it I will just say after the hunger pangs pass things really get interesting.
3. Went Black Friday shopping. I don't like mall shopping, but while visiting family in Georgia we went late-morning, and I found some amazing deals, saved so much money and spent time with my family.
4. Ate Pakistani food for the first time. This also was on our Georgia trip. Truth be told, I liked the hummus and pita, but I did not care much for the chicken.
5. Drank eggnog. I've never had eggnog. I always thought eggs in any drink would taste gross. But a few weeks ago when an editor offered me some I figured I could try it and cross something else off my list. I didn't like it, but I also think I missed a key ingredient: alcohol. I might try it again sometime as it is meant to be enjoyed. Continued on page two (see below)