The Summer of the Scary

Eleanor-Roosevelt-quote

Sometimes, I giggle when I’m nervous.

It’s a coping mechanism.

I don’t giggle when I’m frightened. When I’m frightened, I cry.

But when I’m nervous, in that “I really want to do this, but I don’t know what’s going to happen, and I’m excited, but a little scared, and I’m going to try, but holy crap this is out of my comfort zone” kind of way….I giggle.

Sometimes, it erupts into full blown laughter.

I can’t help myself.

I’ve done a good amount of giggling this summer.

I’m not a risk taker, by any means. I’m not one to jump out of airplanes, or scale cliffs [though I did climb a mountain once. That was pretty awesome.]. I don’t play extreme sports.  I don’t dive.

But I’m learning that doesn’t mean I’m not brave.

I’m also learning that sometimes, doing things that scare you can have really fantastic results.

So this is my ‘summer of the scary.’

I’m deliberately doing things that I normally wouldn’t do, or haven’t done, or have wanted to do but haven’t had the opportunity/been too anxious to try.

I’ve been giggling a lot.

I giggled my way down the Yellow Breeches a few weeks ago with my friends, in a big yellow tube with a broken kayak paddle. There were moments when I was too frightened to giggle, and I verged on tears, but mostly, it was hysterical giggling as we slammed over rocks and navigated tree limbs and bridge construction.

It was a blast. I would TOTALLY do it again.

I giggled my way through having my hair done at the salon. Giggled and giggled as the stylist rolled my hair around the rods, giggled as I walked up and down the plaza with my hair in a plastic bag and a timer in my hand while it ‘set’, and then REALLY giggled while she undid the rods and styled it with my back to the mirror.

The giggling stopped when I looked in the mirror at the end of the process, and caught, for the first time in years, a glimpse of the me of a long time ago. And I cried. Not because I was frightened, but because I was happy.

I spent a good part of Sunday afternoon trying to stifle my giggles while out on a picnic date. Totally uncharted territory for me. And I couldn’t help myself. I giggled.

In all three situations, I found myself apologizing for giggling – apologizing for being nervous –slightly embarrassed at the idea of my less than mature reaction to my own anxieties.

Luckily, the people I was with in all three situations understood, and didn’t think less of me for my slightly odd reaction.

I need to do things that stretch me.

This is the conclusion I came to on Sunday, while laying on a blanket in the woods, staring up at the clouds.

I need to try the things that make me nervous. That I’m afraid I won’t be able to do. That scare me because I don’t know what I’m doing. That might hurt me.

Not hurt me physically [I’m not in danger of jumping off a moving train or anything], but things that might cause me emotional discomfort, or well, even some limited physical discomfort – I certainly ended up with some questionable bruising from that tubing trip!

I NEED that.

I NEED to stretch.

It’s how we grow, after all.

My song of the year, which I mentioned in this post a few months back, even talks about this:

Well, I should not have thought it strange
That growing causes growing pains
‘Cause the more we learn, the more we know
We don’t know anything

So I’m going to keep trying.

I’m going to try hiking.

Maybe I’ll go camping.

I might even allow someone to occupy space in my heart.

And I might crash and burn, my heart might end up hurt, I might learn that I truly *can’t* do some things…and I might learn that I CAN…….but I won’t know until I try.

So I’ll try.

And I might giggle all along the way.

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