365 Days of Fear: Days 10, 11, and 12

I bet you’re wondering: “Ella, you just started this challenge and you already missed two day.”

And you are completely correct, but I have a great reason as to why I did not publish a day 10 and 11 on time. I was on a training trip with my college’s Nordic ski team/club and the wifi wasn’t the best so I decided to just compile them all into one big master fear challenge post! Let’s get rockin and rollin then shall we:

Day 10

Sunday, January 29, was an interesting day. And my fear was actually pretty big compared to other ones I have done in this challenge thus far. Because I was at home for J-Term I did not want to drive to St. Peter just to turn right back around and go past Rochester on our way up to Giants Ridge (where our training trip was located). So, I challenged myself to drive the four hours(ish) it takes to get to Biwabik, Minnesota by myself. Now, I hadn’t even driven more than two hours by myself and that particular drive is to my college. A route that I know by heart. This drive was doubling that and taking me through the cities (Minneapolis and St. Paul).

So for day 10 I drove myself four hours up into an area that has absolutely no cell service for me. And I did it successfully without one wrong turn! I even improvised once to stop and get gas and still ended up going the right direction. So I would say all in all it was a pretty successful fear conquering.

Day 11

January 30 was filled to the brim with skiing for me. Granted, I hadn’t skied at all this winter until this training trip so I wasn’t in the best shape I could’ve been in. So on day 11 I challenged myself to go the entire day without putting a drop of makeup on.

Typically I don’t leave my room without a layer of cover up and some powder. I have always been extremely self-conscious about my acne and use cover up as a crutch. Even as my acne has begun to clear up I still put on foundation to get me through the day.

But because I was spending the day skiing with other sweaty, skiing people I decided that day 11 would be the perfect day to tackle one of my greatest fears: going a day without any cover up.

To be honest, at first I was a little hesitant because I wasn’t used to not having at least a little cover up on. But as the day progressed I began to forget about it and by the end of the day I was completely comfortable without any makeup on whatsoever.

So I would say that all in all, day 11 was a huge success.

Day 12

Today consisted of another four hour drive back to Rochester. This time I wasn’t worried in the slightest because I had already conquered the drive once. But, I did decide to make my fear for today related to the drive because let’s be honest I had nothing better to think about in those long four hours.

I began the drive by filling my car up with gas in Biwabik–not even five minutes into my drive because I live by the motto “better safe than sorry”. I had the entire drive left and didn’t like the idea of trying to find a random gas station that was in a convenient enough location so I could fill the tank up again.

On the way up I only needed to fill up my tank halfway to make it to Giants Ridge so I figured that I could make it back to Rochester in one tank. I really don’t like when I’m driving on longer trips and the gas meter goes below halfway. So today I decided I would drive until I either made it back home or was on empty.

This probably wasn’t the safest fear to tackle but lo and behold I made it home with gas to spare.

Thank you for sticking it out through this long post of three days’ worth of fears being conquered!

12 days down, 353 days to go!


365 Days of Fear: Day 9

I got to spend the majority of today working for the catering company I’ve been with for almost two years now. In the beginning I dreaded going to work–I very much disliked being the new girl. But as the time passed and I got to know my ever-rotating coworkers more and more I actually began to miss the “catering crew” when I wasn’t working.

In the past two-ish years I have worn nearly the same thing to work every day. A pair of jeans (my designated work ones), a dark tshirt, and my worn out blue Nikes. Eventually I added on a Catering By Design hat as well. I never switched up my outfit in fear that something bad would come of it. Now, there really isn’t a dress code at this catering company. Pretty much just wear what you can cook and do dishes in for hours (and isn’t offensive/revealing). I had seen other people wear leggings and capris to work but had not yet mustered up the courage to wear something new–that is, until today.

Today I had my jeans in my hand but noticed my yoga pants sticking out of my (clean) laundry basket. And I thought to myself: “if my coworkers are wearing them, why can’t I?”. And on a whim I threw my jeans back into the basket and plucked out my yoga pants. And let me tell you, it has made a world of difference for my comfort at work. I won’t be wearing leggings or yoga pants in an act of defiance every day. And my jeans will still be in the rotation. But, if I have learned anything from this rebellion that really wasn’t a rebellion it’s that a small change, like yoga pants instead of jeans, can make a world of difference in how one’s day goes.

9 days down, 356 days to go!

365 Days of Fear: Day 8

I honestly cannot believe my shadowing experience has already come to an end. I went into skeptical that I would enjoy something that forced me to wake up before the sun and stay at work until the sun had already set. But, much to my happiness it turned out that I immensely enjoyed my time shadowing my cooperating teacher. She showed me all the ugly things about teaching and how one can still thrive in the position. I am so grateful that I was given this opportunity.

Because today was a teacher workday I spent much of the day minding my own business, that is until we went out to lunch. Normally I would hunker down next to my cooperating teacher in the staff lounge for lunch. But today about ten of the staff at the high school decided to go out to eat. I enthusiastically agreed–that meant I didn’t have to pack a lunch! But as we got to the restaurant and we were jockeying for a position at the large table my cooperating teacher left to use the restroom. This ended in my being surrounded by teachers I knew surface-level at best. This is not a position I hoped I would find myself in, and I was very afraid of it. I’m horrible at small talk and feel incompetent talking about teacher stuff. How was I going to survive what would be at least an hour lunch?

But, I did not let myself make the move to jump into the open seat next to my cooperating teacher. I forced myself to stay put and weather the storm. And lo and behold it was another great experience to add to the list of shadowing at this particular high school. They welcomed me and included me in conversations. I got to know them better–I now know things that I never thought I would about these people. And that’s not something to complain about.

Getting out of my comfort zone has never been more fun. See where your next lunch takes you and report back! 😉

8 days down, 357 to go!

365 Days of Fear: Day 7

Holy cannoli it’s been a week! It’s crazy how fast the days go by when you’re not paying attention (jeez Ella can you get any more cliche?). Today was so busy for me, even though I got to go home early from shadowing because I had to work until 6. And then my sister and I continued our obsession with Japanese reality shows after I got home so I was preoccupied with that and forgot to write my day of fear until now.

But I did accomplish it! Today at work, I work for a catering company, I was setting up for an event (grabbing all the materials needed so they would be ready) and realized we didn’t have enough plates. I knew that there were some in the creepy back room, but I hate going there alone and never go unless I’m asked. So today I decided to venture to the ominous back room by myself to see if there were any plates back there.

The hallway leading to the room is creepy in itself. Long, white walls, cement floor, with random boards leaning against the wall. It has one lightbulb that illuminates the entire path. Creepy, to say the least. As I reached the back room I could feel my heart flutter a little bit and irrational thoughts began flooding into my head. What if there’s a serial killer? Or even worse…a clown?

I turned on the flashlight app on my phone to ease the nerves and wandered around the back room for a while. Lo and behold the plates were not there, but I did achieve one thing on my trip into the above-ground dungeon: I no longer feared going back there alone. And isn’t that what this challenge is all about?

7 days down, 358 days to go!

365 Days of Fear: Day 6

Today I was lucky enough to receive a snow day (my second one–and I’m in college!). I definitely chose the right two weeks to shadow at a high school, let me tell you. Not only did I get two snow days, but I have been able to apply for multiple scholarships and learn more about a profession I am positive I will be in one day.

So, waking up on my snow day I was unsure as to what I could do that scared me. I wasn’t leaving the house today so I couldn’t do the “go eat at a restaurant alone” or “go to a movie alone” ones. I couldn’t leave my house without a layer of foundation simply because I wouldn’t be stepping foot out of my humble abode. So, I consulted the list I put together yesterday of things I can do during this challenge when I’m feeling stuck (another perk of shadowing at this point in the school year, plenty of free time during finals). One stuck out that I would be able to achieve in the comfort of my sweats: paint my nails a color I normally wouldn’t wear.

I suppose this doesn’t sound very challenging or fear-inducing, but I normally do not wear nail polish in general so wearing and outlandish color would make it even more noticeable. It’s not that I don’t enjoy nail polish, it’s that it frustrates me. I always smudge it or miss a spot. I have even somehow managed to mess my nails up while getting done by a professional. So, I enlisted my younger sister to help me out with this one (surely, she would be better than I at painting nails). This did not turn out to be my smartest idea of the challenge thus far. See, my sister had just returned home from an eye appointment at which she got her eyes dilated. She could barely see anything clearly–especially something as small as a fingernail. But, she pushed forward and refused to let anyone else be the one to paint my nails. By the time she was done they looked…interesting to say the least. Luckily my mom was there to “touch them up” (aka cover up everything Celia did) and they didn’t turn out half-bad.

Now, tomorrow will be the true test of fear I suppose. As I am actually leaving the comfort of my own home to face high schoolers with my outlandish bubblegum pink nails.

6 days down, 359 to go!

365 Days of Fear: Day 5

Remember those cookies I was writing about? Well I was extremely anxious to bring them into school for Treat Tuesday as I figured all the people in the teacher’s lounge had experience baking and would laugh when they saw my disfigured attempt of a chocolate chip cookie. I hate to admit it, but I lost some sleep worrying over it as well and it occupied my thoughts for the greater part of the day leading up to lunch.

I know, I know, why would I be nervous about bringing cookies to a lunch where those in question are happy with leftover Oreos? Well, I don’t even have the answer for that one, but I’m sure my good old pal anxiety does. Who knows why I chose to latch onto the cookies, or why  I have to latch onto anything in the first place. But, I suppose that is the sole reason as to why I took up this challenge in the first place. To face the fears that should not exist in the first place head on.

Getting back to the cookies. I brought them to school (with some beer bread in case I chickened out) and had them sit dauntingly behind my desk until we were able to eat at 11:50 this morning. I grabbed them with almost shaky hands and was assured by my cooperating teacher that the crowd I was presenting them to is not picky in the slightest. Of course, this helped…but only for about five minutes.

When I finally set the pan down on the table I heard gratitude resounding from around the room and a few people grabbed some. I was worried at first–no one was taking any cookies I would have to return home with a pan full of cookie ball things. But as the lunch hour progressed more and more people began to take them, and even take seconds.

Even though this fear was quite trivial, I am proud that I was able to overcome it. Because trust me, I came up with plenty of scenarios to get out of bringing them.

So this is my advice to you: just give the people their cookies, you can do it.

5 days down, 360 to go!

365 Days of Fear: Day 4

Today was a typical day for me this wonderful J-Term. I woke up before the sun, spent a day with a bunch of high schoolers (always delightful, I’m not being sarcastic either), and came home and watched Netflix. I spent the day making a list of possible “fears” I could conquer on my year-long journey and I came up with quite an extensive one, but certainly not 365 days of ideas. That’s why I have my wonderful Mom around.

You see, I have been shadowing at a high school for the past week and a half and one of my mom’s friends has the same lunch hour as me and has been joking with me that I should bring treats for their “Treat Tuesday”. The word got to my mom and she was determined for me to do my part, even if they were joking. But, she told me she would not help me make my desired treat. So, of course, I chose the easiest thing that came to mind: Chocolate Chip Cookies!

I have never been partial for the kitchen (besides my phase of wanting to own a restaurant with my cousin, Elise). And I will be the first to admit that the oven straight up scares me. So when my mom said she wouldn’t help I panicked and automatically thought that my cookies would turn out to be absolute crap (they are in the oven the moment I am typing this so I still have that thought in the back of my mind…).

So today I decided I would face my fear of the kitchen and the work that goes into baking and cooking. As I followed the steps I was surprised at how easy it was. I even cracked the eggs all by myself! (Something an 18 year old should not be excited about I admit) I even took some pictures of the process for your viewing pleasure:

My dutiful ingredients
My batter, that did indeed seem edible (it was, for the record)





It seems that working  (washing dishes) in a kitchen for two years has paid off

As smoothly as things began, the baking process didn’t seem to follow suit. Twelve minutes in the cookies looked just about the same as they do in the picture above, just a little less dough-y. Although they did smell wonderful. As the extra time I added dwindled down I could see through the oven door that they were, indeed, spreading out and resembling the chocolate chip cookies I know and love.

But as the cookies came out they still looked like little blobs…just harder. But they were edible and with a little chocolate peppermint ganache they were actually very good (not to toot my own horn). I give this day of fear an A for effort!


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“Ella’s A for Effort Cookies”

4 days down, 361 days to go!

365 Days of Fear: Day 3

At the time of my writing this, my mom claimed that “I hadn’t done anything so today must be a bye day for the challenge”. Although maybe on the exterior it did not really seem that I had done anything out of the ordinary or would test my limits, but it had been in production the entire day. I went into day with intention for the day’s fear.

I have been meaning to talk to someone about a topic that has been on my mind for a couple months (sorry to be vague…) and have been scared to confront them about it. I am not a fan of confrontation. I would rather let things figure themselves out rather than face my problems head on. So today I challenged myself to hit this problem head on instead of letting it simmer.

Once I worked up the courage, I confronted the person in question and was able to speak my mind instead of keeping everything bottled up in fear of being seen as “crazy” or something of those sorts. And although as I messaged this person I was uneasy as to whether or not they would receive it well it turned out to be worth it in the end. The subjects that have been on my mind for the past months are on their way to being resolved–and without waiting another five months for them to do so.

3 days down, 362 to go!

365 Days of Fear: Day 2

Today was pretty uneventful. Throughout the day I wasn’t sure where I could fit in doing something scared me. But, again, in the moment I made it happen.

I have been wrestling with whether or not I should compete in a ski race tomorrow. I had always been leaning towards the “not doing it” side. This is because I haven’t been able to ski much at all this winter, the conditions would not be good for my only pair of Nordic skis, and it is a 9k race. All three of these things intimidated me–I always was very afraid of embarrassing myself. I tried to tell myself that it would be okay if I got last or took longer than usual, but I kept thinking of the worst that could happen.

So today I gave myself an ultimatum. I had to decide if I was going to race tomorrow or Wednesday. Not only is Wednesday’s race shorter, but that means I get tomorrow to relax. The decision should have been easy for me, but as usual my brain decided to ruminate on the fact that I would be letting people down if I decided not to ski (although I really wasn’t doing that in the slightest). Finally, I decided to just email my coach that I am not going to ski tomorrow and instead will race on Wednesday.

Compared to yesterday’s feat of fear it may seem small–who has trouble making decisions for themselves that are so inconsequential as mine was? Well, I do. And saying “no” to something that was likely going to make me unhappy was what pushed me out of my comfort zone today. And although I am still wrestling with the idea that I could have let someone down, I have made my decision. Which is more than I can say about myself this morning.

2 fears down, 363 to go!

365 Days of Fear: Day 1

I’ll admit, I had no idea where to start with this challenge. Do I start big? Do I start small? Do I do a triathlon? Or do I text someone what I’ve been feeling but am too scared to say? In the end, I decided to do something small. Therefore all I can do is go up, right? My day was also pretty jam-packed with shadowing all day at a high school, then work, then dinner with family friends. So the logical thing to do was call it a day at something doable.

I decided what I was going to do in the moment. I was timing speeches for the teacher I am currently shadowing and a girl in front of me was wearing a shirt from Gustavus Adolphus College (where I go). Need I say that she was and still is a stranger? I am not one who typically tells a stranger that I like their shirt, or hair, or anything for that matter. So I decided then and there that I had nothing to lose (a bit dramatic, but when am I not dramatic). Once she sat down after her speech I told her I liked her shirt and we had a conversation about how her sister goes to Gustavus and returned back to class activities. The moment passed as if it were nothing, and of course I had nothing to worry about in the first place.

So, day one is done. 364 days to go!