There I was standing on a thin wood platform overlooking the forest floor, a harness strapped to my pelvis, and a rope in my hands. Behind me, a line of people waited, including a grandma in her 80s. The person I was in my head was adventurous, but the person I was standing on this platform was frozen stiff. I had chosen ziplining. I had wanted to do it. Now I was scared to death. It took 3 attempts and a small hop to move my paralyzed body off the solid ground and into thin air. I was more terrified to zip line than I had been to skydive. Fear is a funny thing like that. No method to the madness; it just shoots tentacles into the world and sees what sticks.
A couple of days ago, I listened to my mail lady share her experience of scuba diving off the Bahamas, and I grew more frightened with every joyous moment she recalled. Here are some of the highlights she shared with me.
*Almost swimming into the path of a barracuda which crossed right in front of her face, frightening teeth and all.
*Encountering a stingray; don’t even get me started on the one and only time I’ve ever encountered a stingray. Okay, I’ll tell you. It was in the Bahamas. It was in an enclosed space. The stingray was albino with red eyes. Let’s just say I threw away $70 that day.
*And best of all, she shared how (at the sight of the barracuda) she dropped her respirator mask and had to be shown its whereabouts because her fear was so debilitating.
*Oh yeah, there’s also the very important instruction that “If you start panicking down there, do not swim up. Stay where you are, or else you’ll blow out your eardrums.” Holy cow. You mean if I feel that my life is in danger I should ignore one half of my fight or flight response?
After all of this, she insisted that I try scuba diving, telling me what a magical experience it is.
Thing is, I want to try it. I watch Planet Earth. I see how rich and awe-inspiring the oceans are. I love the ocean. But my loving the ocean without being in it is starting to feel like… saying I love french fries when I’ve only had sweet potato fries or calling dry humping sex. There are depths to this shit.
I want in! But I’m scared. I’m horrified. I’m a yellow-bellied sheep. Why can I jump out of a plane but not into the water? Why can I jump out of a plane but not into the air connected to a rope secured to poles secured to the earth? Who knows. Do we pick our poisons or do our poisons pick us? Either way, they’re with us. So then what?
Here are 4 curated Ted Talks*
*Curated by me. I’m a person, and I matter.
Our fears are our stories, our brain’s imagination at work. We can choose to accept or reject these stories, but we can also choose to shape them. I love this fresh take on a topic as old as mankind.
Most girls are raised to be fearful of the world around them. They’re taught to be more cautious and seek help instead of more adventurous and skill-building. As we raise our girls, it’s important to be vigilant about the messages we send. As women, we get to push ourselves toward adventure and lead by example.
Our perceptions become our realities. What if not trusting our eyes was the best way to build confidence and create the life that we want?
Fear shows up for us in more than physical ways. One of our deepest fears as humans is not being worthy. In this now viral Ted Talk, Brene Brown talks about the one quality that has the power to terrify us and free us- vulnerability.
For those of you craving more, for those who love to mark up a book, here are my suggestions.*
* These are affiliate links, so anything that you purchase will benefit my coffee habit, but it won’t cost you a penny more. Of course, I only suggest products that I believe in.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; . . . who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”—Theodore Roosevelt
What do really want to do but haven’t because fear is holding you back?
My name is Lyz-Stephanie and I want to inspire you to be more connected to yourself and the world, to find beauty in simple pleasures, and to have more adventures. Every day we can do something to make our lives happier and richer, make our minds more active and engaged. I’m on the journey. Will you join me?