Anxiety Is Just a Word

How I use experience as an antidote to fear

Kimberly Carter
8 min readJun 26, 2021


Photo by the author — Dark Corner, South Carolina

A lot of things frighten me, but no one really knows that because I spend a lot of time soldiering on with a tough exterior. I’m good at soldiering, but being a great, big liar doesn’t do much to help me grow as a person.

In an effort to get to know the limiting voices inside my head a little better, I decided to write down all the things I remember being scared about today.

I do this, mainly, as a reminder so that I can catalog these tiny surmounted hills and remember that even though I was scared, I did life anyway. I went out. I experienced the world and came back home to tell stories.

Experiential Learning — learning by doing — why don’t we do more to apply this, literally, to life? I spent so many years trapped in my brain prison, grasping onto the bars of a cell I had created entirely by my own fears. Then one day, I slipped my hand into my pocket and realized there was one key that would unlock the gate and it was in my possession.

Today was a little different — I work and live on a horse farm, so I don’t actually leave very often. That doesn’t mean my days are boring. I don’t have to leave home for excitement because every day, there is a stream of human visitors down the driveway, and life with twelve-hundred-pound quadrupeds is never boring.

Horses are great at fear and panic too. It keeps them alive in the wild. But, like me, they spook at obscure things like plastic grocery bags floating in the wind. We work so hard keeping the wolves from eating us that we sometimes forget the difference between fear and intuition.

But, today was my day off. (Six-day work weeks are pretty typical on a farm — I don’t begrudge my hours because working with horses every day for the past twenty years is a treat.)

Here are some of the things I encountered that frightened me.

  1. Leaving the farm. That simple act. I did it. I’m patting my own back.



Kimberly Carter

Life coach, riding instructor, writer, I was raised in a barn and now spend my time figuring out how farms heal us.