Okay, I have a secret to tell you. I have a lot of fears. One of my greatest fears is driving long distances. In fact, the furthest I typically drive is 10 miles away from my house.
So, when I heard that Sarah Ballantyne, The Paleo Mom and author of The Paleo Approach and The Paleo Approach Cookbook, was coming to Chicago for a book signing, I knew I had to go. After all, I attribute The Paleo Approach with saving my life. Sarah Ballantyne’s book put all of the puzzle pieces of my lupus and other autoimmune disorders together, to help me understand what was happening to me. Then, it gave me the plan I needed to heal myself, which led to alleviating most of my symptoms. I had to meet her, to thank her for all she’d done for me.
Unfortunately, when I RSVP’d for the event, the venue was not listed. Where were they going to hold this book signing? If it was in Chicago, I could take the train. That’s the only way I get there, unless someone else drives me. If it was going to be at a location within 30 minutes of my house, I could manage that. Even though I don’t drive that far often, I will if I absolutely have to. I tried, in vain, to see if anyone knew where the book signing was going to be held.
Then, a few days before the event, I got the email stating they were holding the book signing in Franklin Park. The minute I saw it, I decided not to go. Nope, no way would I be able to drive an hour or more away, do the event, and then, drive home for another hour or more. I emailed my fellow AIP blogger, Emma from The Bacon Mum, to let her know I didn’t think I was going. She was going to the event ( of course, it was only about a half an hour away for her) and we wanted to meet each other there. I felt awful for flaking out on her. I told her I’d see how I felt before I made my final decision.
I started thinking about how badly I wanted to go. I wanted so much to tell Sarah Ballantyne, The Paleo Mom, how much quality of life she had given me. I wanted to thank her in person. And, I wanted to meet some of my fellow bloggers there. I thought about hiring a driver. But, that would cost me a fortune. My husband couldn’t drive me. He had a hockey game to coach. If I really wanted to go, I would have to drive there. I decided to sleep on it.
With the event two days away, I decided to face my fears. I sent an email to Emma,The Bacon Mum, saying I decided to make the trip. I also reached out to Alaena Haber of Grazed and Enthused, telling her I was excited to meet her there. I figured if I told enough people I admire and respect that I was going, I couldn’t chicken out. She was so nice and excited as well. Now, I had no choice but to forge ahead!
On Saturday, one day before the event, I tried to keep myself occupied, so I wouldn’t think of my upcoming trip. My husband and I went to the movies. When night came, I started to plan my trip. With the help of Google and Siri, I would get there. I printed out my maps. I put the address in my phone. My husband checked my route for anything that could possibly make me panic. I’m so glad he did! He found one street, without a light, where I would have to make a left turn. I won’t do that. I will only make a left turn at a light (except on a side street). He was able to reroute me to a light. Thank you, honey, for enabling my weirdness. As the night went on, I started to get some real IBS symptoms. My nervousness was making me sick.
The next morning, the day of the event, I awoke at my usual time….and, ran straight to the bathroom. I’ll spare you the nasty details; but, I was dealing with some serious stress here. Still, I persevered. I decided to leave early because we were told to get there early due to a full house. I purposefully didn’t eat anything. I think you can figure out why. I packed my tote with AIP snacks, my camera, The Paleo Approach and Cookbook, water, and my phone. It was then time to leave. I got into my car and started up Siri and Maps. I was on my way. Luckily, I loaded on the deodorant because I was sweating up a storm. My heart was racing and I felt like I was going to die. I made conscious efforts throughout my drive to encourage myself. I would say things like, “I’m so proud of you. You’re doing so well.” I know that sounds kooky; but, it worked for me. After an hour on the road, I made it to the location of the event. And, I was the only one there! I was an hour and a half early! Oh, and the location was scary. It was so deserted, I saw a tumbleweed go by in my rearview mirror. I’m not kidding. I’m not writing this as some kind of joke to make my point. You can ask my husband, if you don’t believe me. I was on the phone with him, letting him know I made it, when I saw it. I was kidding around with him about how early I was, how empty the place was, and how it reminded me of a ghost town, when here goes this freakin’ tumbleweed. I just started laughing and said, “Dude, I seriously just saw a freakin’ tumbleweed go by.” It was hilarious!
Finally, I saw other cars coming down the road. I was looking out my car window, when all of a sudden, I saw The Paleo Mom’s face, staring back at me. She was here! Whew, I had made it to the right place. I had also been staring at the car parked across from me. I was pretty sure it was Emma, The Bacon Mum; but, not 100% sure. I called her number, while looking into the window across from me. Sure enough, I watched as she put her phone to her face and answered my call. We both laughed and pointed at each other. We got out of our cars and walked into the book signing.
Upon entering the CrossFit gym, where the book signing was held, we were met by Sarah Ballantyne, The Paleo Mom, and Stacy Toth of Paleo Parents, sitting and enjoying a quick snack in the lobby. We chatted idly for a bit, before walking into the gym to secure our seats. Then, Emma and I went back to the lobby to introduce ourselves and give Sarah Ballantyne a gift Emma had brought for her. She presented her with this awesome selfie extender pole. The Paleo Mom immediately had us squeeze together for a selfie. We finished introducing ourselves and went back to our seats. I was feeling kind of bad that I hadn’t brought a gift. But, by the time I had actually decided to make the trip, it was too late to get anything. I thought about bringing food; but, because of my IBS symptoms, I figured that would not be a good idea. You know what I’m saying!
Anyhoo, I shook off my negative feelings. By this time, both authors had entered the gym and were getting their books ready for us to purchase. I, of course, already had my own copies of Sarah Ballantyne’s books. I purchased Stacy Toth’s new book, Real Life Paleo, and an extra copy of The Paleo Approach Cookbook, for a giveaway. Right after I purchased my books, Alaena from Grazed and Enthused walked in. I immediately recognized her, and she me. She introduced her husband to Emma and me. They were so sweet! We took a selfie, of course. I was so happy to have the chance to finally meet her in person.
Then, the authors spoke. I was blown away by Sarah Ballantyne’s knowledge of autoimmune conditions. I mean, you have to be pretty knowledgable to write such a fantastic book like The Paleo Approach. But, I was still impressed with her ability to answer our questions with the flow of a true expert. So, I know I’m going on and on about The Paleo Mom; but, I was equally impressed by meeting and listening to Stacy Toth. She was so fun….and cool…and kind. If you have the opportunity to go to one of their book signings, I highly recommend it. They have wonderful chemistry together, that you just don’t find very often. I literally sat in my seat, riveted by the conversation. I was able to forget about my fears the whole time.
It was then time to take photos with the authors and get our books signed. I really like my photo because every time I look at it, I think, a blonde, a redhead and a brunette walk into a CrossFit gym (insert joke here). Although I’m not a huge fan of blonde jokes, I can laugh at my “blonde moments”. I have quite a few of them. I had Stacy Toth sign her book, Real Life Paleo, first. She was so gracious and amazing. I can tell you, she created a big fan, in me. I moved down the line to Sarah Ballantyne, The Paleo Mom. I wanted to thank her for saving my life. I ended up saying something that sounded like I was reading a greeting card or something, “You’re not just changing lives, you’re saving them.” Sometimes my mouth and my brain will not cooperate with each other. There goes one of those “blonde moments”! I almost burst into tears when she stood and walked around the table to give me a hug. All of the stress and fear of the last few days, just came at me at once. I kept it together; but, I think I hugged a bit too long. Awkward! Seriously, she must have thought I was some kind of nut. I kind of am; so, it wasn’t that far from the truth. After all, she had no idea about the preceding events. She had no idea how hard it was for me to even be there. She had no idea how she had helped me conquer my fear. Not to mention, I was starting to freak about the drive home. I was fearing the impending darkness that would soon fall around me. I can’t see too well at night. Yes, I have night blindness. Add that to my list of quirks. Having to drive, in the dark, was making me really nervous. I managed to get my books signed, including one that I’ll be giving away, later this week. See, even though I was under stress, I still thought about y’all.
After I had my books signed, I chatted for a bit with Emma, The Bacon Mum, and Alaena, Grazed and Enthused. A final check of my phone showed a time of 4:30PM. I had to get a move on because it was starting to get dark already. I wanted to make it onto the highway before that happened. I said my goodbyes. I wish I could have hung out longer. Meeting these two ladies was amazing. Hopefully, we’ll be able to meet up again.
I got back into my car, set Siri and Google to get me home, and drove toward the highway. I didn’t beat nightfall; but, thankfully, the highway was pretty well lit. Yes, I did white knuckle it the whole drive, with my hands at 10 and 2 (if you don’t know what that means, get off the road now). And, I said reassuring comments every time I started to get scary thoughts in my head. Hey, if it worked getting me there, it could work getting me home. I made it home, one hour later.
Reflecting on my day, later that night, I was overwhelmed by my courage and perseverance. I honestly couldn’t believe I had done it all. The reason I wanted to write this post, is because so often we allow our fears to stop us from doing things we really want to do. Then, when we have an uptick in symptoms, we find it easy to use our illness as an excuse. I do this all the time. Sometimes, we need to conquer those fears and just…..go for it. I feel much better about myself after facing my fears. Much prouder than I would have if I would have let my fears control me and missed out on the event. I would have regretted not meeting my fellow AIP bloggers. I would have regretted not telling The Paleo Mom thank you and how much her book meant to me, no matter how spastic it came out. Instead, I faced my demons…..and came out a winner!
So, the next time you’re afraid to do something, remember this story. You will feel much better without the regret of chances missed. Trust me, I know!
Now, y’all will reap the rewards! On Friday, I will be posting a review of Sarah Ballantyne’s latest ebook, The Paleo Approach Dinner Club. I will be announcing my giveaway of a signed copy of The Paleo Approach Cookbook! Details will be in Friday’s post.
In a few weeks, I will also be doing a review and giveaway of the Paleo Parents’ new book, Real Life Paleo. Like I said, Stacy Toth, made me into a real fan. I typically don’t review books that aren’t AIP; but, this one shows a great transition into paleo, for those of you having a hard time sticking to strict AIP. So, stay tuned for this one.
If you struggle with fears in your life, I hope my story can help you to overcome it. While I’m not eager to do it again any time soon, I do know now that I can survive it. Sometimes, it’s good to push our limits. Let your drive squash your fears. I guess that was pretty literal in my case!