“There Might Be a Snake in My Boot”: Releasing My Self-Limiting Conditioning
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“There Might Be a Snake in My Boot”: Releasing My Self-Limiting Conditioning

Growing up surrounded by the annual Rattle Snake Round-Up

I grew up in a small town in South West Oklahoma, you know, the kind that's a few hours away from any big cities.

If you have ever visited this part of the country, you know it's flat – you can see the rainstorm coming from thirty miles away!

Our small farming community organized a Rattle Snake Round-Up every year, drawing in a huge crowd with hundreds, if not thousands, of excited visitors watching these snakes rattling their tails in the pit.

The festival had it all - dances, carnivals, and, of course, the chance to try deep-fried rattler on a stick or treat yourself to some cotton candy or a funnel cake.

I can still vividly remember sitting on a concrete bench, eagerly awaiting a skilled snake handler gently placing a large diamondback around my neck. Back then, I thought it was totally normal.

It wasn't until I moved away in my twenties that I realized not everyone grew up playing with poisonous snakes, you know, with their mouths sewn shut and all.

I appreciate the uniqueness of my childhood experiences, but I now understand that it was not a common occurrence for most people. I was in a culture that conditioned us to accept hanging snakes on our necks.

Just like Pavlov's dogs and my rattlesnakes, I found myself conditioned to the idea of having a regular job.

You see, my parents' failed attempt at owning a business left a lasting impression on me. It made me believe that I needed a "real" job to make a living.

So, I stuck with it. But then Covid-19 came along and everything changed. It made me reassess my priorities and really think about what truly matters to me.

The pandemic opened up new opportunities for remote work that I had never even considered before all those lockdowns.

My nursing burnout transformed into this incredible journey of self-discovery. It's like I finally realized that the only person who can hold me back is, well, me.

And now, with this newfound freedom in my professional and personal life, I'm no longer tied down by the self-imposed rules or conditioning that used to control me.

It's liberating, but I still haven't untethered myself completely from that steady paycheck but I am working on it.

Those deep-fried rattlesnakes! Oh, man, they'll always remind me of my small-town roots, deliciously daring!

But you know what? I'm ready to let go of my conditioning.

I'm fearlessly embracing the idea of exploring an alternative career path.


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