It's a Bird

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Did you know I once had a bird phobia?

I remember once when Jake was little, we went to a museum with some friends and I had to ask my friend if she would mind walking Jake through an animal exhibit because the birds in there freaked me out. This really upset me but I was horribly afraid of birds.

It used to affect everything I did outside. If I ate outside and too many birds were nearby, I would move. If I was hiking and too many birds were near me, I would turn around and go home.

I really hated how much control my phobia had over my life.

One day, while browsing a casting site, I saw a breakdown for an Animal Planet show dealing with people who had animal phobias. I submitted myself and was chosen to spend a week in Sacramento with Dr. Zasio in a house with 2 other people who also had animal phobias.

That week changed my life forever. Not only was it super fun - Tino, who had a lizard phobia and I had an absolute blast facing our fears together and relentlessly making fun of each other’s phobias, ourselves and Dr Z’s little sayings too.

“It’s a bird and it’s doing what birds do” - Dr. Zasio

Going through exposure therapy for a week and being immersed in it was terrifying but I’m so grateful I had the opportunity.

Today, on a hike with my husband in Newport, I spotted this cute little quail and many of its pals. Not only was I not afraid of it, I snuck around spotting more quails and taking their pics.

I am so much more aware of my environment today because I’m open to seeing instead of closing myself off. One of my favorite creatures today is the hawk and I see so many on a regular basis. This weekend alone, I spotted at least 25 hawks in the sky.

Spotting hawks gives me so much joy - sometimes I wonder how many hawks I missed my whole life because I was too afraid to notice.

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Part of exposure therapy deals with facing our fears and at the same time reassuring ourselves that we are safe. Sometimes I still need to remind myself that I am safe with birds. I brought home a souvenir from the show and it sits in my room to continue to expose me to birds regularly while reassuring myself that I am safe.