Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Conquering Fears, and another round of "Tell Me"

I had AN OPPORTUNITY, this weekend, to do something that I really, really, wanted to do...but that I was scared shitless of.

Actually, I have a long list of things that qualify. Skydiving, for instance. I want to, but the idea of it makes me want to vomit.

The idea of never trying it, however, makes me want to vomit more. (Blurp)

Seriously, who on their death bed, thinks, "I sure wish I'd never tried anything, my entire life." I mean, unless their deathbed arrives shortly after their parachute failed to open.

I'm moved to do a lot of crazy things with that one thought: Would I rather be someone who DOES, or someone who DOES NOT?!

I have a tattoo because of it.

I intend to get a motorcyle license because of it.

I just went 4-wheeling because of it.

Yeah. I did.

I actually intended not to. I thought about the circumstances of my life: Mom needs a lil extra help these days, Sisser's still barely up and around, her family's energy needs to be with her...seriously...it's not a good time for me to risk, say, dying. The timing is bad.

So, when I was asked, Saturday, "are you going to try it?," my mind said "NO! Hell NO, I'm not going to try it!!" While all graymatter was clearly justifying the causes why I would not go, my big fat mouth calmly blurted, "Well"—sip of bottled water, pinkies up—"of course."

A helmet was smacked on my noggin, a 2-minute lesson (front brake, back brake, accelerator) ensued, everyone raised their hands and swore on The Bible not to laugh, and I was off, on a Baby Trail, around a soybean field. That's not even the Beginner Trail. It was like that antique car ride at Six Flags, where, when you're a kid, you're tricked into thinking you're actually driving, but if you take your hands off the wheel...you still get back safely.

Round and round the baby trail I went. I learned a lot. I learned that if you chicken out and decided you'd rather follow than lead, you end up coming back looking like this:

You can't tell, from this photo, how much actual dirt was in my teeth. 4 hours and several bottles of water later, and I still had dirt in my teeth.

Later, when I was asked if I'd like to take another spin, I asked if I might be ready for the Beginner's Trail.

Everyone in my group went off into an actual football huddle to decide if I really was ready, and which was the beginny-est beginner's route. Then they re-helmeted me, and led me back out.

Beginner, my butt. There was water, and some ups and some downs, and a hairpin turn or two that had to be taken quickly enough to make the next hill, but slowly enough not to tip over and tumble down a hill into the lake. I nearly gave myself whiplash by accelerating too quickly and I screamed twice, thinking I was going to run into trees or leave the trail.

When we emerged back on to my trusty Baby Trail, I was hyperventilating, and had decided that my role as camp photographer for the afternoon was secure.

I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

It's good, sometimes, to shake the dust out of our lives (and into our teeth), and conquer something that rattles us.

It doesn't have to be as big as sky-diving.

It can be a road-trip, a dinner, or a movie, alone.

A trip to a foreign grocer, in which we might have to ask for help.

Big city traffic.


Making that first invitation to someone you think just might end up a friend.

Tell ME:

What's on your list of yet-unconquered fears and/or dreams, big or small?

While you're talking, I'm going to go taste a chocolate-covered grasshopper. I hear they're a delicacy in some countries, and I don't want to look back and think "I never tried one of those."


  1. I have a bit of vertigo and I'd like to skydive at some point.

  2. Well, I'm learning to play guitar through a wonderful program called Guitars in the Classroom.

    Let's preface the story by saying I'm Accustomed to Success.

    Let's make the story short by saying I Suck at Playing Guitar.

    See, the strummers in the class were invited to promote the program at a local bookstore one Sunday afternoon. I agreed to go. I like strumming and singing with everyone in our big comfy group of 15 strummers some of whom don't strum as well as I do and some of whom strum much better. Turns out the better strummers showed up at the promotion. I'd invited a sort-of friend (father to one of the kids in my class last year, a man I find kind of, well, desirable) because I'd run into him at lunchtime. Turns out he was interested in the program; turns out he used to play guitar in a band that cut a CD; turns out he owns three guitars himself. Turns out he was sitting right in front of me during the promotion at the bookstore, and I didn't play a single chord right on the big old loud dreadnought of which I am totally unworthy.

    I failed. Not a huge failure, but I failed loudly knowing full well I was failing in front of someone I would rather have impressed.

    And it felt kind of good.

  3. re: sushi.

    Just roll it up in some cornmeal and fry it. Tastes just like fish. ;)

    And no, there isn't anything new that I really desire to try anymore. Everything that I've wanted to, I have.

  4. So you don't think you could manage this?

  5. scuba diving. I chickened-out at the last minute the last time I had a chance to sign up for the license. I've seen enough horror movies where the oxygen tank runs out and you're like 100,000 feet from the surface. Imagine THAT!!

  6. StFarmer7:43 AM

    Unconquered fear: Asking you out for dinner. Not for sushi... definitely.

    Congratulations on being so adventuresome!

  7. uff...I'd love to skydive or bungee jump....and eventually have the guts to try some sushi....

    Bravo for you!! I have never been 4 wheel driving..but it sure sounded like fun!!

  8. Before I die: Sky dive, and rapid whitewater rafting.


    edina, I am a certified diver, it is won.der.ful. There is a whole new world underwater.

    stfarmer, do it, lol

  9. Sounds like a wonderful adventure! yay!

    I sat here for 5 whole minutes trying to think of something that I want to try and haven't yet. Nothing comes to mind. (Maybe I blocked it!?) I've flown planes, ridden motorcycles, driven cross country. I have no desire to bungee jump or skydive - I have height issues and those don't sound at all appealing.

    I know! I'd like to do a triathlon.

  10. I'm funny about stuff like that, I'll just do it.
    I believe in "Suit up, show up and jump in."
    What ever it is, I haven't found anything yet that I won't do.
    Oh, except one thing.
    I never did try sweetbreads (brains) when I was in Italy. Didn't see any on any menus (and truth be told, I didn't REALLY look for them).
    Will I regret that I didn't try them? Not sure.
    I mean, I've done so many other things in my life that missing out a few won't bother me. (I hope!)
    Way to go on the 4-wheeling! Congrats on having the courage to do something that scares you, it's wonderful, isn't it?

  11. bettycat11:46 AM

    Wow, four-wheeling sounds like a BLAST. Is this a place where you can rent the vehicles and helmets? If so, I'm goin'.

    The daredevil thing I want to do is something I've done once - and intend to do at least once more in my life. It's called the Dragon's Wing at Six Flags in St Louis, and you get into a harness suit (under "the Arch" then you're hoisted up and back, way way way up (don't remember how high but being pulled up and back hanging face down with the ground rapidly moving away is pretty freaky - I was terrified). At the top you pull the rip cord and it is the single most incredible thing I've ever experienced, better than sex drugs OR rock and roll......and for an extra ten bucks they'll videotape it for you. Yippee!

  12. How funny. This is exactly how I got my tattoos, learned to ride a motorcycle and bungi jumped. I'd highly recommend all three. Life is an adventure, drink deep!

  13. You are definitely a do-er! I wanna know how that grasshopper tasting went and where you got it! I'll try one!

    I'll say that I'm about to try pushing a kid out of my wagina...and being a mother...both pretty scary!


  14. StFarmer3:15 PM

    Nancy: No way! Her son carries a weapon for a living. Besides, she is out of my league.

  15. Hm. I am Definitely (DEFINITELY) a better-to-regret-doing-it than a regret-not-doing-it type person so when given opportunities, I tend to just *do* them. And, while I tend to hate people who answer blog questions like this, I can't think of anything I want to do that I haven't done or don't have a reasonable expectation of being able to do. Now, if you want the list of reasonable expectations...there's ALWAYS something new I haven't tried. ;)

  16. I would love to learn how to surf...one day.

  17. I've done the skydiving. It was an incredible feeling to be free falling from 12,000 feet. And I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

  18. Anonymous2:11 PM

    Skydiving, bungee jumping, white water rafting.....I'd also like to learn to knit, but that doesn't produce much fear unless you're scared of needles. ha! ha!

    Congrats on your adventure, when I learned to drive a 4-wheeler it was through the jungles of Mexico on my honeymoon....I'm pretty sure it wasn't the best lesson, but I'm thankful we made it back alive! ha! ha!

  19. That's great! I never do anything daring and, although I'm impressed, you still haven't convinced me. :)

  20. I think you've inspired me to blog about this.

    For my most recent, see my post re driving in Chicago this weekend. :)


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