For most of my life, I've been a worrier.
How do I look? What do people think of me? Am I considered cool? These sorts of things often plagued my mind. Anyone who asks if they are cool probably isn't.
Most of my problems have always been in my control but instead of doing something about it, my insecurities got in the way.
I was bullied in primary school, at times pretty bad, so I think this might have had an effect. Some of the things that worried me were like answering the landline at home, talking to strangers, and going into the fish and chip shop alone as a pre-teen.
What if the person on the phone would reach out and grab me through the receiver? What if the stranger asked me something I didn't know the answer to? What if the fish and chip lady threw hot oil at me?
These were all irrational fears - but when someone is in that headspace it's hard to leave.
I've found looking at myself in the mirror, figuratively speaking, has been a great help (if you ever meet me, you'll see that while I take pride in my appearance, it's an interesting look). You'll never catch me in the wilderness, legs crossed on a towel, meditating with burning herbs nearby - but I've found going on a walk around the block works.
Over the years, I've come to realise that most of my problems can be solved by doing the things that worry me most. It's helped me realised the importance of knowing what to worry about and what not to. A lot of that comes from giving things a go.
I don't remember walking into the fish and chip shop as a youth for the first time alone, but I'm still here today and I don't have any scars from where hot oil was thrown at me. And my career as a journalist leans quite heavily on talking to strangers, or being on the phone with them, so I've clearly done alright in that department too.
While I'm young and single, I've been busy doing the things I always wanted to — maybe because of these actions I'll remain young and single.
In the past month, I've had three piercings. Two fake-diamond studs are now proudly worn in my ear lobes and there's a ring in my left ear helix.
I've also started to get tattoos without much meaning, not that my family will be ecstatic to discover but, for me, they're a reminder not to take myself too seriously. They're not distasteful or obtuse and are all in locations that are easily covered up.
And I've continued to dye my hair. I've been blonde, a silvery grey, and now what the hairstylist called platinum blonde. One day when it gets too expensive I'll go au naturel, back to boring brown.
My insecurities have put me off doing things I thought I'd like to do based on how others perceive me and because of worries I had built up in my own head.
I still have issues that concern me, especially around my fitness, but I'm trying to not let them put me off doing the things I enjoy.
And so, for the first time since I moved to Tauranga in February, I decided to claim Mauao. I reached the summit on Friday last week and the views are as good as they make them out to be. I had to stop a few times, a lot of sweat (no tears, thankfully), but I got there.
I hope by sharing some of my insecurities with you, this might get you thinking about how you might be able to tackle yours. Just doing it, as Nike says, works best for me. Find what works for you.