One of the “assignments” in my online art journaling class is to do something that scares me every day.  It’s all about facing fears and overcoming self-imposed obstacles.  “Well, hell,” I thought, “This should be easy.  I have so much to choose from.”  I realize I may not come off as someone who has a lot of fears, but I was raised to be extremely cautious, that danger is lurking behind every corner and that the world is full of crazy people out to get me.  These are hard lessons to unlearn, so I have some anxieties.  Mostly I’m afraid of something happening to my children… or to me, in which case I would miss my children.  I am afraid of loss.  Maybe because I’ve experienced so little in my life, I sort of feel like I’m waiting for the shit storm to begin at any moment.

So… in an attempt to do something scary, I dove headfirst, literally, into a pool yesterday. This is no small thing for me. I am an athlete and LOVE competitive sports. I run long distance and mountain bike with abandon, but I have avoided triathlons simply because of the swim. I tend to panic in water, and I had NEVER in my 38 years of life gone headfirst into a pool. Until yesterday. I stood at the edge of the pool, rocked back and forth on my toes for a while, debated on holding my nose, decided against it, tucked my chin and decided I PROBABLY wouldn’t die and just did it. It was awesome. I loved how it felt. Like a sea lion maybe. Then I did it again and again. My eight year old, for whom everything comes very easily, was not all that impressed, but my four year old, who relates to me in many ways, cheered me on like I was an Olympic swimmer.

I highly recommend this “embracing fear” thing.  I felt happy for the rest of the day, and it’s sort of like finishing a hard workout and hitting all your times just right.  When you’re done, you know you can do it again and probably just a little more next time.  It’s a huge confidence boost, and it’s always nice when you recognize that your abilities extend much further than you had originally thought.

I don’t know that I’ll actually try to do something truly scary every day.  I mean, how many days can you actually fit cliff diving into your regular routine?  But I certainly think that moving beyond my comfort zone is a possibility.  My friend Deanne recently became certified to teach Zumba, a dance workout class that is becoming very popular.  I told her that really wasn’t my thing and I didn’t want to try it, but she talked me into letting her practice teaching me.  I’m not a dancer, though I would really like to be, so I decided to give it a whirl.  I mean, what’s the worst thing that could happen?  We were doing it in her living room while our four children ran in and out through the screen door.  No one would have to be subjected to my unsightly hip rolls and undulations.  Turns out, Zumba is fun.  I doubt I’ll give up running to pursue it, but it got my heart rate up, made me sweat, and more importantly, I got to dance to some really cool music without once worrying about how stupid I looked.  It was definitely out of my comfort zone, and I really need to work on loosening up my hips, but it was one more thing I thought I would never do, and I liked it.  

I haven’t decided what today’s new adventure might be.  Tomorrow, I’m going sailing.  If the water’s deep enough, I might even dive headfirst into the lake.  On second thought, I can’t see the bottom of the lake.  Hmmmm…. baby steps may be in order even for the brave of heart.  

Here’s a link to my favorite Zumba song.  Get up and dance.  This means you, Crystal.