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Boo… 8 Things That Scare Me…

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Do one thing that scares you every day”

Eleanor Roosevelt

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T Rex fear

I threw up my hotdog one early summer evening in a family restaurant, its walls adorned with Hamilton Tiger Cat football and Toronto Maple Leafs hockey photos… it was mustardy messy and the cloud of smell was … well… you fill in the rest.

The waiter was nice about it, then probably gagged a bit when he went back to the kitchen.

It was a fancy restaurant and I was just a little kid, but the impression it left still lays inside me today, dormant like a herpes virus waiting to rise to the cold-sore surface.

For years, I was nervous that I might throw up in a restaurant again. Fear. Scared. A beautifully coutured phobia in-waiting.

Ultimately silly.

Fear is your friend,” said Tim Ferriss in a TED talk. “Fear is an indicator. Sometimes it shows you what you shouldn’t do. More often than not it shows you exactly what you should do. And the best results that I’ve had in life, the most enjoyable times, have all been from asking a simple question: What’s the worst that can happen?”

We all know that most of our fears are nonsense and should be stuffed in a coffin and buried six feet under, but there are some I hold onto because they make me more human. They are a part of me that makes me ME. (now there’s a sentence that a narcissist could embrace!).

Being a complete person means never having to say you deny your frailties and rough edges.

I’m full of rough edges.

rough edges leaf.jpg

So, what are some of my biggest “rough-edged” fears now that I’m approaching my 7th decade on this beautiful blue planet?

  1. Driving at night and worrying I might hit and hurt or kill an animal. This is a biggie in my mind and yet it’s one of those fears I embrace and never wish to wash away. Tsunami waves of nausea roll through me when I’ve actually hit, or even think about killing an animal while driving, or for that matter, any other time.

2. A dog jumping out of the ether, barking and snarling at me while I’m running or cycling… my heart rate is already well up there, I don’t need any more stimulation thank you. I hate to see animals in pain or discomfort, and I hate to see me in pain or discomfort because of an animal sneak attack… back off Rover!

3. Walking into a social situation alone… my introversion tendencies rise to the surface. I’m pretty good at projecting a positive public face, but the childlike inner feelings of inadequacy bubble through me as I walk alone through a door to a party or gathering. If I looked in the mirror, I’m sure I’d see I’m wearing little boy shorts and my Parkdale Steelers hockey sweater.

4. Bungee Jumping. I can handle the thought of skydiving (today but not when I was younger). I’ve scuba dived. I’ve explored in narrow, dark underground caves. I’ve slogged my way through a Tough Mudder. But bungee? NO F***ing Way… that’s a stroke waiting to happen and I’m not going there… EVER!!

5. TV or Movie Killings. The realization that watching a TV show or movie of someone being killed – murdered – and knowing it doesn’t bother me (at least not the way I think it should) is bothersome. It makes me fear something within myself that accepts the violence… perversely even enjoys it, and does it over and over again. It also makes me wonder why consensual, loving sex isn’t more accepted on our screens. Which is the more positive choice?

6. One of my kids getting really sick or dying. This one really doesn’t need elaboration. There’s a hardwiring – a Constitutional amendment – in a parent’s head that insists that our issue should never ever pass on before we do. We had a close call once when our son was 9 years old. My heart bleeds for those many who have experienced the death of a child. It’s the devil’s kiss of lightning.

7. Getting near to vomiting or diarrhea on a plane… maybe this goes back to the hot dog incident as a child, beats me. A prison-like situation where you’re incarcerated in a sardine can in the sky? Often no access to a bathroom? … seat belt fastened and nowhere to go? Nowhere to go! UNCOMFORTABLE!

8. Boney M music. Yeah, I fear that electronic disco sound. I feel revulsion and frightening thoughts welling up inside me at the first kitschy Jamaican beats of their music. Why not play Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road and get this melodious mess out of our systems.

Boney M.jpg

And finally One bonus fear (every good blog list has a bonus!):

Dying suddenly without a chance to say goodbye. I’ve lived and felt the pain of not saying a final goodbye. It lies inside you, gnawing.

I’ve heard those many who say they’d like to be struck dead suddenly with a heart attack or stroke like a runaway truck on a London Bridge, swept away in a second.

Not me.

We can never express with the depth of our inner core, never capture the universe of emotion and love and respect and tenderness, the true multiplicity of feelings for our loved ones… not fully… until we’re in those final immersive moments.

Death mourned.jpg

OK, now some old fears that fell away like my thick head of hair? I’ve had a few.

Here is a sampling of ones I’ve inhaled, held inside, and then eventually exhaled into misty clouds with age and maturity, like:

… getting to the end of my life and realizing that I wasted most of it…

… singing or speaking in public…

… in early blog posts: sharp criticism of my opinions…

… in my young years… premature ejaculation…

… wondering what people thought of me…

… not losing my virginity: ever…

Overcoming rational fear is about being a better person…

Fear doesn’t ever really go away, nor should it. But confronting it is the way to move forward.

Nowadays I try to face fear like a gladiator. Grrr. And usually I’m strong and brave but occasionally… rarely… my inner child arises and I’d like to suck my thumb in the corner – please don’t ever point a gun at my head, OK?

When I see myself overcoming part of a fear each day it lifts me up — I feel the thrive.  

It feeds my endorphin fix needs better than a needle in my arm.

Dealing with fear is always a choice.

One final thought. The Art of Manliness, one of my favorite websites on the Internet declares this “fear” rule:

“Whenever you are presented with a choice, ask yourself which option you would prefer to have taken in ten years.”

yoga at sunset

Who Has Scene the Crime…

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  • A blood-soaked, savage murder scene

  • a furiously jolting bank robbery

  • a drug deal in progress…

crime-scene

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“My father and I went into witness protection when I was just a little girl.

We changed our appearances as much as possible (hair, clothing styles, he grew a beard, etc).  We moved across the country to a nice house pushed back against the Great Smoky Mountains. He never told me why we had to do it, but I never asked.

I trusted him.” *

(*excerpted from a Reddit story published Aug. 14, 2014)

………………

IT was terrifying and soul jolting… it happened in a mere second. You were a bystander, a spectator to bad people doing bad things.

Bad people with no compunction about doing bad things to you if you go public and merely share what you saw.

The vision of uninvited violence… a supremely surreal activity that came unbidden, unfairly, unwanted, into your life.

The sight of what you stumbled upon is ingrained in your head and lives with you as a constant companion in your nightly sleep, a rebellious house visitor who laughs in your face and refuses to leave even though you adamantly refuse to feed them or change the bed linens.

Inside your head, their footsteps creep the back hallways, a look on their face that you can’t erase or escape no matter how hard you try.

The witness protection program…

Like winning a big lottery prize, witness protection drags you unwittingly to a fork in the road you never anticipated.

A curse? A blessing? Or both?

……………..

“When I turned 16, however, I thought it was time that I finally found out why we were forced into this new life.

He told me that when I was very young there was a nice family that lived across the street from us; a mother, a father, and a beautiful little girl.

One late night, when the streets were empty and the beds full, a man came to their house and killed them. The mother and the father were hanged in the living room, and the little girl was left dead on the couch, bloody and bruised.

He continued on and told me that he just so happened to be awake the night of the murder.

He watched from his bedroom window as the man drove away. Once the cops arrived, he told them all the information he could: type of car, license plate number, even which direction he went. The policemen assured him that the man was very dangerous. They asked my father if there was any chance he was spotted peeking through the curtains, but my father was unsure. The officers encouraged us to flee town and go under witness protection to be extra cautious. My father wanted no trouble, so he obliged.

Two nights later he loaded up the truck with everything that would fit and drove us to the other side of the country.”

“Dad,” I said, “what happened to my mother?”

His eyes dropped and he slouched back in his chair. When he looked up, his eyes had a warm, soft tone. “When you were a young girl,” he said, “your mother was taken from us in a car accident.” His face hardened a little. His soft look was gone. 

“What was her name?”

He leaned back and rubbed his face. We sat in silence for several minutes. I didn’t think he was going to answer. “Karen,” he said, finally, “her name was Karen. And she was the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen…”

I couldn’t stop my mind from racing. So much information was processing, and so many thoughts were coming and going. I wished I could remember my mother. There was so much more I wanted to know…”

…………….

law-and-order

OVER the years, I’ve vegged out on TV crime shows and seen regular accounts of witnesses who testified or provided information to authorities.

They became “reborn”, sent away in some time and space machine to become someone they didn’t know yet… themselves but somehow not themselves.

You see an unspeakable act of criminality and now your life is forever changed, brutally raped by someone else’s action that you happened to innocently observe.

Maybe there’s a romance to it. Maybe.

Many of us think about the notion of a second chance. A new life. An escape from life’s sometimes nastier, unhappy moments.

…………….

“As I lay awake, sleep was nowhere in sight. I thought of any way to link myself to my mother, to learn anything else about her. I got an idea. I remembered the old boxes in the basement that had sat untouched since we moved to our new home…

As I navigated my way around the boxes, a small one in the very back corner caught my eye. I pulled it out and noticed it had a label on it. It read:

FAMILY

Jackpot. I ripped the lid off and peered inside. My excitement died when I noticed there were no pictures, just several newspaper clippings. 

I picked up the top one. It was an article from the Obituaries on August 23rd, 2002. It took me only a few seconds to recognize the face – it was my mother. As I read along, tears began forming in my eyes. I thought I was going to burst into tears until I got to one section that confused me. It said:

Karen is survived by her mother [NAME]; father [NAME]; brother [NAME] and sister [NAME]; and husband Jack.

Where was my name? My father’s was in there, how could they have forgotten her daughter? I laid the article to the side and picked up another. The title read:

FAMILY SLAIN IN GRUESOME MURDERS

It didn’t take long for me to realize this was the article about the family that had lived directly in front of us. I began to read.

Last night, on August 24th, 2002, a mother and father, Lyle and Helen [NAME], were strung up by the neck in their living room. Their daughter, Lindsey, was found dead on the couch, bruised and bloody.

I stopped reading…. I tossed it aside and picked up another.

It was from August 23rd, 2002. It read:

WOMAN AND CHILD KILLED BY DRUNK DRIVER 

Yesterday, Thursday, August 22nd, 2002, a mother and her daughter were killed in an automobile accident. They were identified to be Karen and Katherine [NAME]. They were struck head-on by a drunk driver who was believed to be–

The article cut off. My head was spinning. I didn’t understand. Why does the article say I was killed with my mother? I felt angry, but I didn’t know who to be angry at.

I laid it aside and picked up another one. This one was from August 26th, 2002. The title read:

DNA TEST SHOWS MISTAKE IN FAMILY MURDER

As I began to read, I heard the basement door click open; my dad was awake. I hurriedly crammed everything back into the box and stuffed it back into its corner. As soon as I got to my feet and turned around he arrived at the basement floor. I was surprised to see a nervous look on his face instead of an angry one. 

“I’m sor–“

“Don’t apologize,” he said. “I haven’t been completely honest with you. Come upstairs.”

I was surprised at the calm tone in his voice. I rushed up the stairs and sat on the couch. He sat beside me and took my hand.

“Dad,” I said before he could speak, “why does that article say I was killed in the wreck with mom? I don’t under–“

“I will explain.” His face turned pale and his voice nearly left him. I could tell he was stressed.

“I’m sorry,” I started, “we don’t ha–“

“Yes. Yes, we do. You deserve to know,” he said. He took a deep breath before he spoke again. “Your mother was killed around the same time as the murders across the street.” His eyes began to water. 

“I faked your death.” He was crying now.

I felt so terrible, but so confused. I know it was hard for him to talk about, but the burning desire to know the truth kept me quiet.

He wiped his eyes and began again. “I faked your death in case that man came after me. I didn’t want him to know about you. I didn’t want you to get hurt.” 

“Okay, dad. I understand.” I let go of his hand. Something wasn’t right. “I’m going to bed now, okay?” I told him I loved him and quickly went to my room and locked the door before he could stop me.”

…………….

in-the-mist

HOW strange would it be to begin anew, re-birthed as an adult, an adult already brimming over with experiences and impressions, memories of loves, memories of disgusts, memories of people and things that would now cease to exist until our dying breath?

Your witnessing story told aloud in a brightly lit police station or an open courtroom means the price of good citizenship is your one way ticket to a whole new world.

A ticket to a world where “you” no longer exist. A world where fear of discovery lies around every corner.

………………

“He lied to me. I knew he lied to me because my mother was killed before the murders. How would he know we would need protection?

I grabbed my laptop and sat on my bed. I searched “Karen [NAME] car accident, 2002.” I clicked the first link. It looked to be the same newspaper clipping that I had just read downstairs, except this one wasn’t cut off. I found my place and continued reading. 

struck head-on by a drunk driver who was believed to be Lyle [NAME]

My heart stopped. Everything clicked. The neighbor. He was the drunk driver. He was the one who killed my mother. My father faked my death because he knew that the family across the street was going to be murdered. He knew because he was the one who murdered them.

He didn’t want anyone coming after me for revenge.

I searched my father’s name and clicked the first link. It looked like a wanted poster.

JACK [NAME] WANTED FOR FIRST DEGREE MURDER AND CHILD ABDUCTION

My heart sank to my stomach. All of my muscles tightened. I didn’t understand the abduction part, but I was growing too angry to think. My eyes swelled with tears. I couldn’t believe the monster my father was.

It hurt my heart to accept it. I didn’t want it to be true, but I couldn’t deny it. I felt so terribly for the parents, but even more for the little girl. I searched “Lyle, Helen, and Lindsey [NAME] murders” and clicked the first link. The first thing I saw was

WARNING – GRAPHIC PHOTOS

I scrolled to the first picture. It was straight from the crime scene. Lyle and Helen were hanging by their neck in the living room. I felt like I was going to puke.

I didn’t want to see the next picture. I scrolled anyway. All of my nausea, anger, and sadness was immediately replaced with confusion when I saw it. I looked at the little girl curled up on the couch. What bothered me most was not the blood or the bruises. 

I couldn’t believe what I saw. I had to call the police. As I grabbed my cell phone I heard a loud knock on the door.

“Katherine,” my dad was yelling. “Open the door. We need to talk.”

Fear struck my body and I began to shake. He knows. He knows that I found out the truth. I ran to my bathroom and dialed 911. I told them I was in danger. I told them Jack [NAME] was in the house and I was in danger.

I had to play it off. I had to act like I didn’t know until the cops got here. I hid the phone in the medicine cabinet and walked into my room. I wiped my eyes and tried to look as normal as possible.

“One second, dad,” I yelled. It made me sick calling him that.

I walked timidly to the door and opened it. He looked angry and nervous. He was pouring with sweat. I could smell liquor on his breath.

“Sorry, I was in the bathroom,” I said.

His drunk eyes locked to mine. Neither of us said a word. I could feel my eyes beginning to water. I was truly terrified.

He stared at me for several more seconds. It felt like hours. No matter how scared I was, my eyes never left his. His were evil, the eyes of a killer. Without saying another word, he turned around and stumbled to his room. I slammed my door and locked it. “

……………..

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SURPRISES.

There are lovely surprises that fill us with joy. A pygmy owl sitting calmly perched on a pine branch as we walk by. A job offer at double the salary. A cheap bottle of Gewurtztraminer wine that tastes better than a $100 bottle.

Then there are unexpected nasty, scary, gut-searing surprises that arise from the cold earth like an eerie corpse, a reality nightmare.

Do I have the inner strength to be a witness under threat of bodily harm or worse? I don’t know the answer. What if they threatened someone I love? That would kill me. Sophie’s Choice.

A new life. A life with new vistas and choices.

Maybe I’d grow my hair long and have a man bun and stand around in malls playing life-size chess games all day.

Or shave off what little hair I do have and become a zen-style monk and not speak to anyone for days at a time.

Or just wake up one morning and start walking like the old man in The Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, seeking out inner peace and something unknown.

But more probably, I’d recreate my life in its current mould but with a new name and carry on doing what I’m doing because I like writing and running and playing guitar and travelling and chopping and dicing in soup kitchens. For adventure, maybe I’d get my glider’s licence. Maybe.

……………..

“I walked to my laptop to look at the picture one more time. I stared at the little girl curled up on the couch.”

The cops showed up ten minutes later, kicked his door down and arrested him. 

As they ushered him away in handcuffs, his eyes met mine one more time. I knew it would be the last time I had to look into the eyes of the man who killed my parents.”

Woody Allen Soothed Away My Fear…

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Bisexuality immediately doubles your chances for a date on Saturday night.”

Woody Allen

"Irrational Man" Premiere - The 68th Annual Cannes Film Festival

 

I’m going to take this notion of bi-sexuality one step further and tell you that one of the advantages of embarking on a career like Medical Laboratory Technology is that you get to choose from 5 or 6 or 7 different lab areas (dates) in which to work.

This is important. It changed my life.

Medical laboratories are usual divided up into departments like Haematology (study of blood cells), Chemistry (measuring our inner chemical makeup), Microbiology (determining the microbial cause of infectious disease), Histology (preparation and study of body tissues removed during surgery or autopsy), and Blood Banking (preparation and crossmatching of stored donor blood for transfusion).

Often it’s necessary to choose (or have chosen for you) a specific department to focus your career upon.

In my former life as a lab tech I dreaded being called into the hospital in the middle of the night to crossmatch blood needed for urgent transfusion. There was always a mutilated car crash victim, or a woman needing blood during a Caesarian Section delivery. STAT!

On my chilly drive or walk to the hospital I’d look up at the dark night sky and hope the stars aligned for a positive outcome to the danger that lay ahead in the Emergency Room.

It wasn’t because I hated getting out of the warm bed I loved (well, it kinda was!)…

… or detested the sight of pools of still steaming crimson blood on the floor beneath the patient’s bed, bones and organs exposed beneath torn tissue (well, it kinda was!)…

… or the anguish of a distraught family in a time of crisis (well, I really did hate that too)…

I actually liked the jumping-out-of-an-airplane injection of adrenaline that I felt when I strode purposefully into the ER and a bevy of medical personnel were focussed solely on resurrecting a ghastly situation. THAT was a rush…

But the real reason I hated emergency blood crossmatches was fear. I couldn’t sleep once I returned home afterwards.

I’d sweat bullets the rest of the night worrying that I might have made a crossmatching error and there would be an ashen-faced coagulated corpse awaiting my sleep-deprived arrival for the morning lab shift.

Even a tiny error in my technique… and I accidentally provided incompatible blood to a patient… could result in a major reaction from the vital fluid flowing into their arm that might kill the patient.

sticky blood clump

Red blood cells sticking together… do I transfuse this or not?

It was all about fear.

I was afraid… terrified that in my attempt to heal, I might terminate someone because my blurry eyes made a wee mistake looking down a microscope at 2:47 in the morning.

I had memories floating in my head. Fearful memories.

As a student technologist I almost killed an unborn baby.

All because of a simple arithmetic error I made in producing a test result on amniotic fluid that suggested an unborn infant’s lungs were sufficiently well developed to be birthed via C-section.

The astute surgeon called moments before making the first cut into a Mommy-To-Be‘s abdomen and uterus to confirm the test result I had provided.

Oops… sorry.

On second examination of my calculations, I had placed a decimal point in the wrong place… stop the surgery… NOW!!!!

In my honour, there should be a big congratulatory plaque erected in my training hospital in Hamilton, Ontario. I was the one who had made a near tragic error that resulted in a change to lab rules concerning oversight of student technologists by senior staff.

It seemed pretty obvious afterwards that life-and-death test results should be double-checked and not trusted to an 18 year-old student (and part-time McDonalds burger flipper) without an official lab certification yet.

My confidence levels were shaken down several anxious notches which was probably a good thing for a boy who evoked this comment from his Grade 2 teacher: “Larry needs to work on his superiority attitude.

These lab-related nightmares and flashbacks convinced me that I would never make a good Blood Bank technologist. You can all thank me for discovering this early on in my career.

I was far safer to humanity and myself in another less critical lab area like Microbiology where vaginal yeast infections were typically my greatest concern.

As unpleasant as it must be, no one needs an urgent blood transfusion for an itchy cooter, nobody dies from an irritated baby cannon.

Now where was I going with this?

AH, yes… It’s about fear.

I know that most of our fears are unwarranted. We all know this and yet we still worry.

fear

Fear is good and fear is bad.

Or as Glinda the Good Witch says: “And so, what the Munchkins want to know is, are you a Good Witch (Fear) or a Bad Witch (Fear)?”

Our job, if we choose to accept it, is to distinguish between the good fears to heed and back away from, and those that we should march boldly headfirst into the thick of.

Fear is one of the odd reasons I love doing things outside of the normal routine of day-to-day life.

Jumping in and swallowing experiences – any experience, wherever it may come from – is like losing your teenage virginity all over again, damned scary and… scary exciting… hopefully!

The inner fear, those bastard voices that try to make us literally and figuratively impotent are there but the delicious rewards make it all worthwhile.

The really important part about fear is being able to distinguish between true good fear that helps us survive and the bad fear that holds us back from the exciting fireworks of life and living.

More than 20 years ago I would never have been able to write this blog. The “old me” was crippled by the bad fear that I wasn’t interesting enough, or smart enough, or important enough to make my voice heard. It was about fear of what you might think of me.

Ten years ago, the “old me” was too self-conscious to speak or sing in front of even a small group of strangers without a prequel week of diarrhea and sleepless nights.

So, you might ask… am I fearless now?

Hmmmm. Nope. Not at all.

Some fears in life are unavoidable… the impending death or loss of a parent, a partner, a child, a treasured pet. Life’s inevitable trials.

I still wouldn’t want to be a Blood Bank technologist. “Accidentally” killing someone is a good fear for me to respect and one I’m best to avoid.

I still encounter lots of fears.

The only difference now is that I recognize these rogue “fear” weasels and the plastic knives they brandish. I simply accept them as part of my growth process.

Merely knowing that fear is usually unfounded allows me to press forward with more confidence and acceptance of myself and my foibles.

I know that when I face my fear, I end up in a different place than I began, and it’s usually a better place, a lovelier place than I thought before I faced the fear.

If this all sounds Woody Allen neurotic to you, that’s okay because… well, friend?… pining for approval is not the monster or boogie man under my bed anymore.

Adrenaline rush

READY? Ummmmm…. NOT a chance!!!!

 

Variety: Building Your Courage to say YES

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destiny-courage

Here’s a joke: I should be a very fit guitar-strumming homeless meth addict with an alcohol dependency and a huge bank account. (It’s alright, I don’t get it either…)

But you know, there is a saying, “you’re the average of the five people you surround yourself with.” 

I’d like to add an addendum… ” and… you’re the average of your five favourite activities/interests.”

My five?

Well… I live in a mixed salad bowl with a rainbow assortment of tasty characters; a potpourri of positive people jumbled together with a hodgepodge of projects and pursuits.

It’s a part of my ADHD approach to life, doing something different each hour of the day so that I don’t feel tediumized.

  • I write blogs
  • I run and swim and go to boot and spin classes, I go yoga stretching.
  • I chop vegetables at the soup kitchen
  • I read books
  • I mix and pour drinks at a Greek Restaurant
  • I play my guitar and sing my songs at Open Mic night
  • I research and buy and sell stocks online
  • I cook ethnic foods
  • I watch movies and eat too much popcorn
  • I tend chickens and gather eggs
  • I smoke cigars.

Variety.

variety

I thrive on variety.

Variety in the things I do and the people I hang around with.

I’m like my backyard chickens. Cluck cluck.

The girls are a worry right now because I see some unfriendly pecking going on in the hen’s yard.

Chickens are cannibals by nature.

They like to eat their own eggs. They like to eat their friends. A bored hen gets her jollies by picking and pecking on her friends and relatives.

Chickens need stimulation. VARIETY.

I’ve thrown some jingly cat toys in the yard to distract them from playing KFC on each other.

I need jingly things too. VARIETY.

I glaze over easily when I’m lacking stimulation and start to peck at the other birds of my tribe just because they’re there.

Not on you. Other people.

I don’t want to be a cannibal so I desperately seek variety. Variety in life means saying YES.

I spent most of my life saying NO… NO was the easy way to live. I became an expert at saying NO… I lived in fear of the YES word.

I grew up and became a (semi-)functioning adult when I finished Mohawk College in Hamilton at the age of 19.

I was offered 2 lab jobs on the same day.

One was in the Blood Bank of the hospital where I had just interned for a year; the other was a general lab position in pocket-sized Stanton Yellowknife Hospital in chilly northern Yellowknife, NWT.

Male and Female Logic

My scientific logical NO head said, “Larry, be realistic, take the safe and easy job here at home”.

My firework-laden, emotional YES heart said, “Larry, this is your chance, choose the unknown and go dance beneath the Northern Lights.”

I held my breath and hesitantly mumbled YES.

I think the fear we feel when we say NO is different from the fear we experience when we say YES.

The fear that holds the hand of NO is a running away fear.

The fear that makes love to YES is the fear of running towards something.

YES fear is better than NO fear, isn’t it?

freedom-of-fear

More and more I find I’m trying to grasp ahold of the YES fear…

I’m not the guy I was 10, 20, 30 years ago.

I want to experience the amazingly diverse world around me, sample the flavours of life, roll them sensuously over and around my tongue to feel and touch and taste those things foreign and different.

I want my heart to race with restorative enthusiasm and excitement and a beguiling anticipation of the unknown.

YES to Volcano surfing, YES to Snake Wine, YES to becoming a Bartender. YES. YES. YES.

Now I see you nodding your head, tsk-tsk’ing, and thinking I’ve gone all looney-tunes… well, you’re right, but let’s step back a second.

I am saying YES more… yup… but not an indiscriminate YES. I won’t say YES to everything.

Here’s a tiny example: When I write this weekly blog, it usually takes a bit of time and thought before I settle on a topic I want to pin to the wrestling canvas and put my eye to the telescope and zoom in more closely.

I don’t jump out of my chair and yell an orgasmic YES – like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally – to the first seed that feels its heart beat, then germinates and pops its head above the soil.

I know I’ll say YES eventually… eventually… once I’ve marched each potential idea up and down the echoing halls inside my head, turning them over and over before I finally begin to sense a stiffening VIAGRA-like boost of enthusiasm for the one.

YES!

Those “ADHD” things I do that I mentioned at the beginning of this post? They all began in the sparkling infinite stars-in-the-universe of ideas and possibilities. There is no counting the beautiful stars in an inky sky just as there is no counting the galaxy of ideas and pursuits. It only takes one YES to find and develop momentum.

Go ahead, choose another venture… another ADventure.

One by one the whirling, expanding universe hurls the losers out of the murky cloud of the Milky Way. A shortlist survives the onslaught and the strong gravitational force draws me into its orbit of excitement.

I’m just an average guy who dreams and schemes of finding extraordinary moments that lie hidden within an ordinary life waiting to be discovered, like a ravenous tiger concealed in the underbrush, patiently aware and ready for a tasty morsel to pass his way.

The best way I’ve found to unearth the extraordinary in a day is in seeking variety and being open to the unmapped journey, willing to travel down unknown side streets and paths that aren’t part of life’s standard itinerary.

Courage begins as a little thing that helps small people cast large shadows.

That’s why I’m reminding myself that YES fear is better than NO fear.

child shadow