It’s a fickle thing. One minute something terrifies you, and the next you couldn’t care less!
If you’d have told my husband a few years ago I’d be handling tarantulas like they’re a pretty flower picked and handed to me by my children he would NEVER have believed you.
Western Invert Show, 2021
All my life I’ve been terrified of spiders.
I distinctly remember the sound of their feet scurrying across my posters at night when I was a child (Michael Owen and Dieter Brummer from Home and Away - showing my age now!).
it used to TERRIFY ME.
I would scream until my poor nan (who was in her 80’s at the time god rest her soul) would run in with this bloody weird mop thing that was our designated ‘spider killer’ - please don’t ever let my child read this!
If we couldn’t find the spider I would lie awake all night, heart pounding, sweating, completely freaked out and petrified to go to sleep.
They say that you are born with only two fears.
Falling and loud noises.
Everything else is learned behaviour.
Now, being terror-stricken whenever a spider is near is not something I wanted my children to inherit.
And, unbeknownst to me, I unwittingly married a man who, failed to mention pre-marriage, that he was obsessed with spiders.
Our first pet spider, Charlotte, 2019
Like, he actually LOVES them.
So, over time… he has encouraged our daughter to handle spiders when given the opportunity at various zoos and events.
She held her first tarantula at aged 3 - sadly I don’t have a picture of this as you’ll probably have guessed I wasn’t there… If I had of been, I don’t even know if I’d have been able to let her do it… purely because of my own deep-rooted fear of them.
Looking back, I am SO GLAD that her first experience of spiders was a positive one.
Longleat Zoo, Maggie aged 4
And from there… the love just grew and grew…
Until a few years ago when she asked for a pet spider for her 5th birthday!
Of course, Rob knew I was petrified and I think it started as a joke just to ‘wind Mummy up’ as at that point, I genuinely couldn’t have thought of anything I would have liked to have shared my home with less.
However, and parents you’ll back me up on this, there really is, no bounds to what we will do for our children.
Maggie’s 5th birthday - meeting her new pet!
So, slowly but surely, I came around to the idea of letting her have a pet spider.
When I first went to the shop to ‘pick one out’, I had to hide behind my friend because even just seeing them sent shivers down my spine.
Seeing her face that day and how BLOODY ECSTATIC she was to get a damn bloody pet tarantula for her birthday… made it feel a little bit less daunting… but I still lived in fear and made Rob swear to me it would never be able to escape (I’ll talk about the time she actually escaped in another blog post maybe!).
I made him gaffer tape the lid closed shut on the enclosure!
As everyone started to ‘handle’ Charlotte (even my 2 year old, Arthur), I really, really wanted to conquer my fear once and for all.
I mean, if a 2 year old can do it…
So, one day I was at the races of all places (seriously, tarantulas bloody find me everywhere!), and there was an exotic animal stall which had various insects, reptiles and arachnids for you to hold (apparently for pleasure).
Rob or the kids hadn’t spotted it and I was with my cousin going to the bar. I’m sure I had had a drink or two at this point and Dutch courage can certainly be a fine thing for times like these!
Before I could back out, I had asked to hold a tarantula and it was in my hands!
Everyone remembers their first time, right?!
Ok, looking back that’s actually a baby - especially compared to the latest one at the top of this blog (which is one of the largest species in the world)… BUT FOR ME, it was the BIGGEST of deals… I couldn‘t WAIT to get back to my family to show them this prized picture.
Rob honestly couldn’t believe it, and I remember Maggie saying how proud she was of me!!! She knew just how scared I was!
Since then, I have stepped out of my comfort zone TIME AND TIME AGAIN.
In so many ways and in every part of my life, personal and professional.
If you have never done something that TERRIFIES you - I honestly can’t recommend it enough!!
Climbing Pen-y-Fan, 2019 - another thing I never thought I would conquer!
That feeling of EUPHORIA when you finally do something that has previously brought you out in cold sweats or you thought you’d never be fit enough/ clever enough/ strong enough to do.
It’s why people jump out of planes and go swimming with sharks… yes it’s bloody nerve-wracking at the time.. but afterwards…
afterwards you feel ON TOP OF THE WORLD.
You feel like you can do just about anything.
And you know what…
You can do anything you put your mind to.
You just have to believe in yourself enough to do it in the first place.
You know the only thing holding you back, is you right?
Setting up on my own, I was SO NERVOUS, but I knew I could do it, and you can do it too!
Don’t let fear or self-doubt stop you from doing something you have always wanted to do or get in the way of you living your life exactly the way you have planned.
Every small step is a step closer to conquering your goals.
And what’s the worst that can happen?
If at first you don’t succeed… yeh, yeh, you get the drill.
And, if you don’t stop trying… you’ll NEVER be a failure.