Kelly’s Corner – Comfort Zone vs. Fear Zone


How many of us, during our hunts have felt a little uneasy while walking out to our stands in the dark? What about climbing higher than you did last season in your stand? The answer to these questions is probably more than we would like to admit. For me, I live in a household full of testosterone and the mantra at my house is “suck it up.” Growing up as an only child, my parents didn’t teach me to push past my fears. I learned at an early age that if you were too scared to try something new or venture out taking a step that might actually benefit you, that it was okay to settle into the place that I call your “comfort zone.”

I didn’t start hunting until I was in my mid 40’s. It wasn’t that I didn’t like it. It wasn’t that I was against it or didn’t believe in it. My dad was a hunter, gun hunting only. When I got married I married into a bow hunting family. My mom cooked all the wild game Dad brought home and when I became a wife of a hunter I learned how to do the same. Hunting was all around me yet it wasn’t something my tender heart was comfortable with.

In the fall of 2009 my mom passed away from lung cancer. My dad had previously died from heart problems two years prior thus leaving me without any parents. Well, when you wake up one morning and you’re basically an adult orphan, you begin to contemplate and question many things….your capabilities for one. What sparked my interest in hunting, at such an odd time in my life, was the one question that kept running through my head…would I be able to take care of my family if I needed to? Would I be able kill our food if we were starving? Obviously the answer to those questions is yes, because I am here writing blogs for Queens of Camo but way back in 2009 I still wasn’t 100% sure.

It wasn’t until the fall of 2010 until I actually pulled the trigger of my dad’s Winchester .243 on the first snow of the season. I had been out every day, waiting patiently, for a deer to come within range for me to get a good shot. I had both physically and mentally prepared for that moment. Now to make a long story short, when the 70 yard moment arose I took it. A little spike came in about 15 minutes after I got to my hunting spot and I dropped him. That moment was bittersweet for me because I had never killed anything in my life. Anyone who knows me, even today, knows that I am a tender heart and killing something is always a little hard for me to do. But in that moment, I was both sad and proud. I think my dad would have REALLY been proud. My mom, on the other hand, would have wondered what on earth had happened to her baby girl. For me, it was a coming of age, almost middle age, and I did it by stepping out of my comfort zone.

Over the years there have been many times I have been afraid while hunting and have had to push past my own fears, for example learning to use a climbing tree stand. I’m not afraid of heights but by gollies I am afraid of falling out of a tree and breaking my neck or back or all of the above. There’s something a little unsettling about sticking your feet in a platform and inching it up a tree about 20 feet, securing your bow hanger into the bark, and then once up there hoisting your bow up by a rope…all the while hoping you don’t fall out. I’ll admit, that whole scenario has frightened me many times, however, I continue to do it and continue to push past the fear. Am I better than I was at first…you bet I am. Do I still sweat profusely, yes I do. But I refuse to let fear take hold of me and keep me from learning further into something I love to do. This past season I climbed into a hang-on stand that was a little higher than I normally go. I wouldn’t have attempted it had my son not secured it and I knew without a shadow of a doubt that the stand was completely safe. Also, I was wearing my harness so in the event I were to fall I was secure in that regard as well. Once I got up into the stand and my stomach stopped hurting, I calmed down a bit and relaxed into the hunt. As I sat there, looking down, I realized that it wasn’t that high and I was okay. And the best part was that I was looking at deer from a new view. It was really pretty awesome and again I had the “proud of myself” moment.

Every time I walk out in the dark to go get in my stand I am hands down stepping out of my comfort zone. I don’t know about you but walking in the pitch black, basically feeling my way by footsteps out to the ladderstand is a little unnerving for me every time I do it. I know that path like the back of my hand and have made that trek and million times…in the daylight and the dark. There’s just something about total darkness that I think makes us all a little uneasy. Am I afraid of running into another person…absolutely not. Am I afraid of running into a skunk and getting sprayed or having a wild boar growl at me and the answer would be YES! I’ve been out there many a morning and hear deer blow at me and I’m okay with that. Tripping over a skunk and getting sprayed is just something I am not interested in doing. This year I’ve started strapping a light on my cap when I head out before first light, although I’d rather not. I’ve seen several skunks, and even had one hang out under my stand, but to date I’ve been lucky to have not ever been “skunked.”

Pushing past your fears and stepping out of that secure place applies to all areas of your life and is not just confined to hunting. I think it’s healthy to push past your fears when it comes to doing something you want to do but are afraid to. I also think it’s a must when it comes to doing something that you NEED to do. Holding my mother’s hand when she took her last breath was WAAAAAAAAY out of my comfort zone and that was a time that I NEEDED to push past my fear and just do it. Running a half marathon TWICE was way out of my comfort zone because I was afraid of failure but I “sucked it up” and crossed that finish line TWICE and improved my time the second time.

We all have times in our lives when we need to take a step forward in faith that everything will be okay and push past those fears that are holding us down and keeping us from enjoying our lives and learning new things. All it takes is four little words…I can do this! And then you will.

May 30, 2016 | Category: Blog, Kelly's Corner | Comments: none


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