I used to live in fear of life. Afraid I would fail. Afraid to disappoint myself and everyone else. I felt weak, helpless.
I stopped! I realized I wasn’t truly living my life. I was going through the motions, but not living life to the fullest. I was watching the world around me and wishing I could participate. It was kind of an accident that started it all started to change. I have been a jeep girl ever since my dad bought me my first two door wrangler when I was 16. I drove it all over the woods and back country roads. I learned to drive off road. I eventually had to buy a new jeep. Her name is Rosie and she is bad ass. So here’s how it went down. I am part of a jeep club here in Tampa. I attended an event called trucks on the track. It is where trucks and jeeps can drive across a motocross track. I initially was just there to watch, too nervous to try it myself. I watched for a while and someone said I should go for it. So I told myself, I know how to drive through anything. Do it! Long story short, I killed that track. Something got ahold of me and I was filled with adrenaline. I was speeding through the course. Gassing it up the jumps. It felt awesome! Like I was flying. Turns out I was flying and didn’t really know it. When I came back after my runs, people were running up to me with videos where I had had four wheels in the air off a jump! I hadn’t really hadn’t meant to go that hardcore. But it felt good. It felt good to do something adventurous and exciting. I felt like I was alive again. So it began.
I decided that I wanted to challenge myself to do more. To do things I love that make me feel alive and follow through with them no matter how hard they got. I signed up to sing in the Clearwater Chorus. I was pretty nervous the first night showing up all by myself, but I really enjoyed it. I’m an alto. I am also not a soloist. I told myself this, and at that moment I made a decision. If I ever say to myself I can’t do something because I’m afraid, I’m doing it no matter what. So I raised my hand and tried out for a solo. It was bad and I’m not being hard on myself. I was so nervous that it was terrible. But because no one else tried out for it by default I had to do it. In the end I ended up singing in an amazing Cabaret show in front of hundreds of people. Up front singing a solo! The same stage where the likes of Sheryl Crowe had sang. Pretty cool huh?
Ok, so I concurred that fear. Now what? At this point I was hungry. I was hungry for the rush of over coming fears and how great it feels to succeed. So I got it in my head that I needed to take a trip all by my self somewhere far, doing something adventurous. Pretty much spontaneously right after choir ended, I booked a trip to sail on a schooner, a tall ship the Liberty Clipper out of Nassau, Bahamas. More about that in a second. But in the mean time what was I supposed to do, just wait around? Nope, decided that I needed to finally get scuba certified after years of wanting to. Let me tell you, it was pretty horrible. I had an awful teacher, an awful class, and even worse open water dives. I panicked and almost cried after every class for two weeks. But I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t quit. So I stuck it out and managed to successfully become a certified PADI Open Water Diver. (still a pretty bad diver, but that’s beside the point) I felt so proud, and I still don’t remember saying that about myself before. I guess proud has never been in my vocabulary. It was exhilarating to feel that by working hard and pushing through I could accomplish anything I put my mind to.
So about that sailing trip. All of my thoughts and attention had been put into the scuba certification, so I barely had any time to even think about the trip and it was like a week and a half later! But you know what. This time it was different. I feel no nervousness. No fear. I was actually excited! Couldn’t wait to cross another thing off my bucket list! When the time came, I flew to Nassau all by myself. Managed to find a taxi, the dock and the ship, as well as figure out the weird down town bus system. When it was time to board the ship I couldn’t wait to meet the people I was going on this journey with. There were people from all over the country of all ages. From 20’s to 80’s. Everyone had this amazing spirit. A spirit of wanting to take in life. Have an adventure. Travel to places most people have never see. It was called an “ish” trip. As in there were no set destinations or ports of call. We were just going to sail “southish” or “eastish” depending on the wind and seas. I loved that about it! Just sailing around the Bahamas with no plans, no schedule, and feeling so free. There’s no better feeling that to be under full sails flying across the water with no land in sight, surrounded by water. It was so relaxing. I saw some amazing spots. Places you can only get to by boat. Small islands with untouched beaches. I had the opportunity to stand at The Glass Window, where the Caribbean meets the Atlantic. One side calm beautiful turquoise water and the other powerful navy blue waves. It was breath taking. On the same island there is this place called the Moon Pools. They are some incredible tidal pools on the Atlantic side carved out by years of water. There was also a cave and beautiful rock formations. Thing is. It’s all down hill over really sharp coral. I not hike! I fall on things and am clumsy. I may be from WV, but I’m not a hiker. It scares the crap out of me. And this place was steep! But I did it again, said I was too scared to hike down. You should know now what that means. I forced myself foot by foot down the cliff. Stopping and saying ok that’s enough, but pushed on further and further, telling myself that I would never be there again and if I didn’t make it down I could regret it later. Eventually I made it all the way down! The view was totally worth it! It was a powerful sight. A true place of natural beauty. I sat down on a rock inside of the cave and took it all in. Took in the fact that I faced my fears and again saw a huge reward. I felt thankful. Thankful for all that I had done over the last few months and thankful for everything the future has for me.
I am truly blessed. If you told me 2 years ago I would have done these things I would have told you that you were crazy. Fear is the devil. It’s the voice on your shoulder telling you that you will fail, that you’re not good enough, that you haven’t succeed in the past so why now. I’m telling you this. Ignore it. Push past it. If I can do it after so many years living in constant fear, you can too. It doesn’t have to be huge steps, just make one small decision and go from there. Tell yourself that life is worth living and there’s a whole world to see, even if it’s right beyond your front door. I surprised a whole lot of people these last six months. Some questioned if I was manic. I laughed and told them no. I had decided to live life again.