One of the more interesting comments I've received from people as I explore being an artist, a runner, a skater and even a writer is how brave I am. Um, really?
Then I look at where I came from, even how I felt the past couple weekends (5K and skating comp) and have to admit, some chutzpah was required.
What is startling for me to realize is my inner critic, the bane of everything I do, plays a starring role in coming close to paralyzing me with fear. At my first skating competition "you're not a real skater!" At my first run "you're not a real runner!" At my first art show "you're not a real artist!"
Jeez, shut up already.
But the bravery comment tells me I'm not alone in having a cranky superego. But why do I have it?
First instance of all and out fear in the face of performance was when I was at the Children of Mary banquet when I was maybe 7? Plans were to do skits and my idea was to lip synch a Helen Reddy song, a song I didn't particularly like but received the 45 as a present from my cousin.
It was improv. It was a disaster. What 7 year old can do improv? I failed and rushed off the stage to laughter and pity.
But instead of saying "I'll never do THAT again!" I remember thinking I needed to prepare in order to do it again in the future. Even though it scared me, I volunteered to be a reader in church, under the guise that it would become less scary the more I did it.
My first skating competition, I was so nervous, I didn't eat for 3 days beforehand. I remember being terrified to compete, but also knew I'd hate myself if I punked out. My first River Bank Run, I was convinced I would come in last, or not finish, or someone would sneeringly pass judgement that I wasn't a runner. Tears, yes real tears of anxiety mingled with my morning banana an hour before I eventually crossed the finish line.
Every time, I knew that although I was frightened, I would be even more disappointed if I were to quit or not attempt my goal.
OMG, pretty! Can I do it?
So, what's on deck to scare me this time? I upped the ante for the RBR from a 5 to a 10K. I applied to be a Champion team member for a local insurance company. And, I made the goal to be in a bikini by July 1 - thanks swimsuit issue of SI.
Of all of these, the bikini terrifies me the most. Why? It's like being on that stage again, at the age of 7, with all those eyes judging me; instead of baring my obvious lack of karaoke skills, I'll be baring my midriff at the age of 43-going-on-44. And that would terrify anyone, but there's no way I can NOT do it now. But as I have learned as one thing after another scares the pants off me, the effort and result is worth it.