I know I said a while back I was DONE apologizing for long gaps between posts (apologizing for having a life? sorry I’m not sorry), but even I have to admit I’ve been a little MIA.
At first, I just didn’t have that much going on. Then, I got super busy and didn’t have time to sort out my thoughts about what I was doing into why it would make a good post. (And, usually if you have to think that hard, it wouldn’t.)
One common thread over the last couple of weeks has been my new-found love of pushing myself beyond my comfort zone.
In general, I’m a creature of habit. I eat every three hours (promptly). I shop at the same kind of stores. I stick to what I know because it’s safer, you guys.
In the last couple of years, I’ve started to adapt to the idea that you can’t plan everything or expect everything to go according to plan. Things change, and you have to deal. I like to think I’ve gotten a lot better at dealing. I don’t panic (too) easy anymore.
So, in an effort to continue to be the type of person who doesn’t panic easy, I’ve started trying more things that scare me.
I mean, I’m not petting june bugs or anything (ughhhhh I can’t even type those words without shuddering). But I am putting myself in situations that make me uncomfortable.
For example, about a week ago, I had texted my friend Danneille to see if she wanted to grab dinner one night. She replied asking if I would want to join her at her weekly gymnastics class after we ate.
Hold the phone. I mean, like most American children, I took a few gymnastics classes. When I was six. And it really couldn’t have been for more than a few months. Danneille, on the other hand, took them for years on top of being a legit ballerina. We were not, how you say, on the same level here.
But before I knew what I was doing (and after Danneille had promised there would be a lot of other beginners), I found myself agreeing.
Those of you who have been reading for a while know that my greatest fear is looking stupid in front of other people. SO WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG IN A CLASS WHERE YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO LOOK GRACEFUL AND COULD RATHER EASILY FALL ON YOUR FACE IN FRONT OF EVERYONE???
Everything. The answer you’re looking for is “everything.”
But I had given my word, so that Thursday I dutifully schlepped myself and my sports bra and stretch pants to Queens for the class.
To say I was terrified is putting it mildly. I watched kids a few years younger than me and women in their 40s bounding across the matted floors, flipping and contorting their bodies in ways I have never been able to do. Beginners class my (inflexible) behind.
As the class went on, though, my feelings started to change. The teacher, Gus, was probably one of the nicest, most encouraging people I’ve ever met (you would stand up correctly and he would be all, “That was SO GOOD!”), and Danneille literally cheered for me every time I didn’t fall down. Plus, I actually managed to turn a not-quite-horrible cartwheel and apparently showed a lot of control on the trampoline. Plus, I did this:
Kinda cool, right?
Then, over Christmas break, Joey and our friends Bryan and Brittany (don’t ya just love an alliterative couple?) decided to take a snowboarding trip to Vermont.
Now, I have snowboarded before. Once. About five years ago. And I was okay. I mean, I fell a lot, but I kept getting back up, and the girl who I went with told me that I did a good job for a beginner. (She may have just been being nice. I prefer to just take the compliment and run with it.)
I did remember that I mostly enjoyed the experience, despite being the sorest I have ever been after physical activity the next day. So I was excited to try it again.
I was also terrified.
I don’t know if you realize this, but snowboarding is rife with potential to get injured. And it involves hurtling down a mountain on a thin piece of plastic and managing to steer with your legs somehow. So I was a wee bit intimidated.
But Joey very patiently took me out in the morning and we went up and down the bunny hill a few times until I had a bit of confidence before moving to the more-intimidating lift hill. Fortunately, it was Christmas, so the mountain was pretty empty (cutting down on the chance that I would smack into an innocent tourist), and by that afternoon, I had(mostly) gotten the hang of heel side. (Toe side is still scary, but I’m trying.)
I finished the afternoon exhausted but exhilarated that I had faced my fear and just done it.
So now I’m hoping to keep the momentum going. I’m hoping my new-found bravery helps me speak up more, be more out-going, and generally continue to not let silly fears hold me back from having great experiences. We can add that to my list of “not really resolutions.” (Along with finally stopping picking at my face and cuticles when I’m stressed.)
What was the last thing you did that scared you?