I can admit it. I’m currently afraid of spiders.

The freaking things freak me out. Creepy crawlies. Spiderwebs. All those leeeeegs. Uggh.

But here’s the thing. At this stage in my life, I understand that being afraid of spiders is a CHOICE.

I’m allowing myself to still let them give me the creeps. I’m allowing myself to fear finding one crawling up my leg, so that when, heaven forbid, that DOES happen, I freak out just a tad…

(Something noteworthy here for my international peeps: In NZ we only have one poisonous spider, and it lives in one very limited ecosystem. So I genuinely have nothing to fear from 99.99% of the spiders I meet.)

What’s stopping us?

I was thinking about this as I watched my young teenage daughter attempting to hang a swing over a branch over our waterhole. She literally spent HOURS throwing that damn rope over and between branches in an attempt to get it in EXACTLY THE RIGHT PLACE.

The swing over the waterhole on Great Barrier Island
The swing on Great Barrier Island

And sitting back, I watched her, and looked at the tree and its branch. It’s not a huge tree. It’s not a particularly high branch. Any one of us could climb that tree and, in minutes, place the rope exactly where she wants it.

But what was stopping us is spiders. None of us wants to climb that tree, because #spiders.

Fear and choices

It’s ridiculous.

But it’s a choice.

And I guess that’s the difference at this stage of my life – I KNOW it’s a choice.

I haven’t yet overcome my fear of spiders, but I know I CAN, when I choose to.

I can ignore them and climb that tree.

I can choose not to think about them, be aware I might touch one or one might crawl on me, but know there’s nothing bad that can happen – an icky spider on me doesn’t actually do any harm.

I haven’t yet had the drive to do that. I haven’t needed to. I haven’t chosen to.

But the fact remains that I know I can, and I will when that time comes.

Our power lies in knowing we can choose

For example, if I was being chased by a bear or a zombie or a serial killer, and climbing that tree would save my life, I’d be able to overcome my fear of spiders pretty damn quick.

If my child was stuck up that tree, I’d do it. If her throwing that damn rope again and again started to put her in some sort of danger, I might find the drive to overcome my fear.

For now, I choose not to. But the KNOWING that it’s a choice? That’s where my power lies.

We also all have choices when it comes to how we respond to this pandemic and the ongoing ramifications of it.

We have the power to choose our response. I choose to remain resilient.