Last week while at the lake, I did something that was very unlike me. It probably won’t impress you at all, but I wanted to make sure to tell you about it. I’ve been having crazy thoughts lately about how temporary life is and how we ought to live it up. In fact, I’ve got another post in the works about it all. Anyway. While at the lake, I finished reading Delancey by Molly Wizenberg. It was fabulous for all the right reasons. (More on Delancey in another post!) In the book, she references an article she once read and a quote from it stood out to me. In fact, I texted it to Phil because it was so poignant.
“Authentic living without fear.”
I don’t think of myself as a scared person. But I do think I carry around a weight of anxiety and fear. Fear of rejection. Fear of my kids acting out. Fear of failing as a mother. Fear of embarrassment. You get the idea.
For several days, those words echoed in my brain. My new mantra. Authentic living without fear. Authentic living without fear. Authentic living without fear.
Saturday morning, Phil, the girls, and I, headed out for a boat ride with my dad and my brother’s family. After a 30 minute ride, my dad asked if anyone wanted to ski. Like I was 8 years old again, I felt a lump in my throat. I don’t want to ski. But I so wish I was brave enough to try. I wish I could say that I was a skier. I wish I could be that girl that would jump up and say “sure!” A few seconds later, the mantra repeated itself in my head. Authentic living without fear. And with it, I blurted out, “I’ll try.”
I decided enough was enough. It was time to be brave. It was time to let go of my fears. It was time to do something that was unlike me. It was time for my girls to see me be brave. How could I expect them to try new things or face their fears if I didn’t ever show them that I could do it, too?
I started shaking a bit. I’m a little bit afraid of the water and I haven’t skied since at least high school and I couldn’t believe that I was going first. I put on a lifejacket and jumped in. Fear came over me to the point of having to focus on my breathing. (No one saw this part. It was just me and the water and the not-so-distant memory of seeing a gigantic snapping turtle in the water the previous day. No big deal.) I got my crap together while I adjusted the skis and got ready for the boat to pull me up.
I tried to get up 3 or 4 times, with no success. In fact, the last time, I tried channeling my inner Beyonce. (Yes, it’s a thing. See my favorite mug, above.) But it didn’t work. The girls cheered for me from the boat and Ingrid was worried for each time I “fell” in the water. “Is Mommy gonna be okay?”
I didn’t really ski. I didn’t get up. But that part doesn’t even matter. What matters, is that I tried. I faced my fears. I was brave for myself and for my girls. And for the first time in a very long time, I felt pretty proud of myself. And a week later, I still can’t get that phrase out of my head. Authentic living without fear.
Like I said, this story proably won’t impress you it all. But maybe it’ll encourage you to step out of your comfort zone a bit. Maybe it’ll give you the push you need to be brave. If anything at all, it’ll serve as a reminder to me each time I am scared or anxious or full of fear. xoxo, L