Kelly Pegg: Why facing our fears can be an exhilarating feeling

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There have been many times in my life when I have wanted to run away from a situation.

It’s far easier to escape something than to face it and deal with a difficult situation that frightens you.

When my mum died I was 19 and I remember how I just carried on, pretending everything was okay until finally six months later I had a nervous break down and didn’t want to leave the house.

They say we have a flight or fight system and although I know I’m definitely one of life’s fighters I also know that sometimes I just want to curl up and hide away from the world.

Facing our fears in life is what makes us stronger but finding the courage and strength can sometimes feel like an impossible task.

My husband Chris always finds the courage and strength to take life on. One of the reasons I fell in love with him was his determination and fearlessness.

He can move mountains or at least he makes me feel like he can. He never shies away from anything, and thinks that you should never go back, only look forward.

This week I made my acting debut in my first pantomime – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at Leeds White Rose Theatre.

I was a nervous wreck and I wanted to run a million miles away from the stage and the 1500 people in the audience.

I say yes to everything and take on way too much then moan profusely about it. I can’t count how many times in the last few weeks I’ve told my husband “I can’t do this panto, I can’t cope. I’m going to quit”.

His constant support and level headedness never fails me. He said: “Do it for me and Ava-Lilly. This is such a fantastic opportunity and we can’t wait to come and watch you in it”.

The night arrived sooner than I would of liked and I was a bundle of nerves.I kept telling myself: “just tell them you can’t do this and leave, walk out, go home and snuggle up on the sofa where you’re safe”.

Before I had time to pack my bag back up the most beautiful bouquet of flowers were delivered to my dressing room – a good luck gift from Chris and Ava-Lilly.

I knew I had to be brave, get out there and do it, for them.I might not get what all the fuss is about when it comes to me but my husband and daughter seem to think I rock.

Two shows later and I’m still a sweaty, nervous mess, but I feel like I’ve accomplished something. I’ve conquered my stage fright and put myself in a totally uncomfortable position and come out the other side.

If we don’t ever push ourselves, face our fears and fight through difficulty then we have nothing to look back on. To achieve something you never thought was possible can be one of the most exhilarating feelings.

We all have goals in life and sometimes we tell ourselves we will never be able to reach those goals, we tell ourselves we are just not good enough. I wonder how many people reading this will have dreams they haven’t fulfilled because they’re scared to take them on, because they’re scared of failing.

Recently I was lucky enough to interview Robbie Williams. Something he didn’t shy away from was chatting about his crippling anxiety when on stage. He’s so open and honest about how performing in front of tens of thousands of people often makes him feel ill.

This is a man who has done it all and been in some dark places in his life but it hasn’t stopped him. He told me he now has a centre to his life– his wife and children, and that’s his drive, his motivation.

It’s true that love is what drives us, what keeps us going, what holds us up and makes us feel worthy.

My two loves – Chris and Ava-Lilly - are 100 per cent behind all my achievements but most importantly my two loves are my biggest achievements.

The real magic of Christmas

Christmas can be exhausting. We’re running around buying gifts, sending cards, arranging whose family is coming for dinner.

Sometimes it feels likes there’s no time to enjoy it or appreciate it.

As I’ve grown older the magic of the festive season has certainly been lost on me…. until my daughter. At the age of three, Ava-Lilly is fully embracing Christmas. Her endless singing of Christmas songs is contagious. She won’t stop talking about Santa and is obsessed with her Christmas jumper – red with a flashing Rudolph on the front.

My husband has bought her Elf on the Shelf - she’s named him Pete and the first thing she does as soon as she gets home from nursery is go on the hunt for him. It’s wonderful to see and has Chris and I acting like gigantic children.

We’ve talked endlessly about Santa and writing our wish list for him – which includes a horse. Hubby wasn’t over the moon with that idea, I can tell you. Watching my girl open her presents on Christmas Day will be for me, the best gift ever.

ONE GOOD TURN DESERVES ANOTHER

I’m stressing out, sweating profusely and close to tears as I stand in the middle of the shop attempting to work out what to buy for my daughter this Christmas.

It’s the worst feeling being stuck in a busy shopping centre, air conditioning, people everywhere and not a clue what you are doing. All of a sudden an angel appears and saves the day.

Sameera the shop assistant - wow what a lady! She knows everything there is to know about toys, what’s popular at the moment, what three-year-old girls like, I’m sure this lady is one of Santa’s elves in disguise.

She runs her socks off helping me and makes me feel so much better about everything.

There I am standing in my checked shirt (complete with holes) and a battered pair of Converse and she manages to make me feel special even though it’s not even about me.

Within half an hour I have all of Ava-Lilly’s Christmas gifts sorted and ready for Santa to collect. Sameera deserves a medal!

As soon as I’m home I call the store’s customer services line and tell them all about Sameera and just how lucky they are to have her.

Hopefully she will get recognition or maybe even a bonus.

There aren’t many Sameeras around so when we come across one, we should cherish her and tell everyone.

Amy Green: We should celebrate our individualism