Things I would learn how to do: Kill bugs. Make an over-easy egg without breaking the yolk. Drive my car through the car wash at the gas station. Sew on a button. File my taxes.
Squashing bugs landed at the top of my list because, for starters, it wasn’t tax season. But also, this skill seemed imperative to my mental and physical well-being in the way a perfectly runny yolk wasn’t. (Plus, scrambled eggs are subjectively just as good.) Insects can harm you. They can bite and pinch and sting you. Some can even burrow in your ears. And I was not about to offer up an auditory canal to a family of creepy-crawlies.
I would train.
I would become the bug-slaying equivalent to Bruce Willis in Die Hard. No, Bruce Willis in The Fifth Element. No! The Last Boy Scout. Oh, heck, Bruce Willis in basically any one of his movies except Look Who’s Talking because he plays a baby in that movie and the only thing babies are capable of slaying are their parents’ sleep cycles. And diapers.
Just as predicted, intruders came. One by one, they infiltrated my fortress. They slinked and scurried and fluttered. Sometimes they invited their buddies along.
There was a cockroach the size of a small child’s foot, a few hairy spiders, a beetle (who was actually very cute, so I scooped her up and placed her outside). There were moths and mosquitoes. Fortunately, no bees. And really, anybody who kills a bee should be sent to a high security prison. (Don’t squash bees. We need them. They help plants grow.)
I was getting stronger. Braver. More efficient. And by the time the black-and-yellow wasp appeared in my kitchen, I had a laundry list of bug encounters in my back pocket and a new sense of self-confidence to show for it.
The insect didn’t rattle me the way it would have a few years prior. I remained collected, considered my options, and took action. While the bug’s fate was a dismal one, and I was momentarily struck by a pang of guilt, I believed, sincerely, that I’d made the right decision. And in this moment, I felt grateful. Grateful for everything that had brought me here. I’d not only conquered my fear but also realized that I was capable of more than I’d ever imagined.
Now, instead of listing my inadequacies, if I’m faced with something daunting, I inhale super deep, exhale with the force of leaf blower, and try.
Eventually, the trying will lead to doing, and before you know it, you’re sliding a perfectly cooked over-easy egg onto a crispy slice of toast. (I haven’t mastered this yet. But I have faith that one day I will.)