Thursday, October 22, 2015

I Can Keep Up With The Boys

It was pitch black.  I knew the moon was out, but the glow was blocked by the tall Santa Cruz Redwoods all around us.  My friend, Nate, turned on his flashlight blinding me and 6 other guys.  "Ok, this should work."  Nate duct taped the flash light to the handle bars of his mountain scooter.  A mountain scooter is like a razor scooter that got angry and turned green.  Instead of tiny wheels and handlebars, the wheels and handle bars looked like they belonged to a BMX bike, and instead of a tiny little piece of metal to stand on, there was a skateboard deck that you stood on.  I loved mountain scootering, but this was our first attempt at night.

Nate took off first, fast and suddenly.  We started at the top of a hill and went down a hiking path.  I knew I needed to keep up in order to know where I was going.  So, I kicked off and started rolling down the slippery dirt path.  There are no breaks on these things; jump off or crash.  Those were the only two options.

The flashlight taped to the handle bars lit the path just in front of me but nothing else.  Only 5 feet in front of me I could see the end of the path which meant I needed to turn, but I had no idea which way to go.  With only a second to spare I heard Nate yell in delight off to my left and throwing caution to the wind I made a sharp left turn praying to God I didn't end up in a pile of poison ivy.

Sure enough, left was correct, but that was close and I needed to catch up to Nate in order to be safe.  I crouched down to lower my center of gravity and leaned forward.  I started moving even faster with last minute jumps and turns every other second.

I finally caught up to Nate and, man, it was so fun.  Following in his path, I jumped off logs and over ditches. I made quick turns, but when the path straightened it was like nothing else.  It was freedom.  I let the wheels turn as fast as they could.  The wind screamed in my ears.  My hands gripped the handlebars tight.  My heart pounded in delight.

In the middle of the journey, the dirt path ended and you rode on a pretty flat street for a while before joining back up with the dirt path again.  This is where we would all come back together.  The people in front would coast along while the in the back would push to catch up.

Nate came off the dirt path and his wheels hit the pavement. One second later I jumped onto the pavement.  Nate heard me hit the pavement and looked back in shock.  He started laughing.  "I didn't expect you to keep up with me."

"I'm surprising."

We laughed and cruised along waiting for the rest of the guys to show up behind us.

I often think back to this moment because I think about how he underestimated me.  I sometimes wonder if I had known what he thought if I would have been able to keep up.  Would his opinion of me made me doubt myself?

Every time I feel ill prepared for something or someone expects too much of me or I doubt myself, I remember that moment and think, "You can do more than people think you can.  Surprise them."

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Strangers and Prayers

I sat there looking around the table at all these strangers; a creative director, a graphic designer, a music arranger, a build guy, and a look leader. When I was the creative director, these were all the roles I knew, but my time at that church had come to an end and these new people were strangers.  I’ve been asked to choreograph the Christmas show for a big church in Anaheim and I’m so excited, but sitting there staring at those strangers my heart hurt.

I missed my friends.  I missed the comfort of knowing the people around the table. I was just praying I would remember at least two names.

Then I remembered all the times I sat around a table like this in the past, praying for the right person to arrive.  If only I knew someone who did graffiti.  If only I knew someone who could build towers.  If only I knew someone who could make costumes.  And every time, every single time, that person arrived just in time.  I saw my prayers answered every time I asked.

It’s different this time.  This time, I think maybe, just maybe, I’m the answer to THEIR prayers.  Maybe this time they were thinking, “If I could just find someone who knows how to choreograph/direct on a large scale.”  And there I was.

I've never felt this way before.  I always felt like my prayers were answered, but I never thought of myself as the answer to someone’s prayer. 

Then it occurred to me.  I bet we are all the answer to someone’s prayer.  Maybe you don’t believe in God or say words like prayer, but you know what I mean.  That person who held your hair back while you puked.  That person who sat with you when your dad died.  That person who helped quiz you before that test.

These people are our angels.  They are the people who make our lives easier and, man, I hope I can do this more.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

I Don't Have Confidence, I Have Courage

I was floating in a two person inter tube with a good friend, the sun warming my skin, the laughter of my friends behind me, and my favorite drink in my hand.  I couldn't get the smile off my face.  My fourth of July weekend was going exactly as I hoped.  I opened my eyes to see my friend sheepishly jumping into the pool before anyone could get a glimpse of her "imperfect" body.

My first thought?  "I know exactly how you feel."

I'm a 39 year old woman who hangs out with people who are anywhere from 25-29.  We really don't seem that different.  Maybe it's my young heart, maybe they are old for their age, maybe age really is just a number, but these are my people and I love them.

Even if age is just a number, it is also relentless.  Everyone will get wrinkles, everyone will learn life lessons, and everyone's metabolism will slow down.  I kinda hate those blogs about moms who should learn to be proud of their mom bodies because their bodies are their proof of having a baby, accomplishing something amazing.  What if we ALL were proud of our bodies because our value isn't determined by whether we have had a baby or not, whether we work out everyday or not, whether our metabolism is 25 or 39?

I decided at the beginning of the weekend to not allow my 39 year old body to hold me back from anything.  I would dance around in my swim suit next to my 25 year old counterpart.  I would sit in my inter tube although the position made my stomach look awful.  I would get up and joust with my friends even though my legs would show my age.

Here's the thing.  I'm not a confident person.  If I was, those thoughts wouldn't even occur to me.  I don't have confidence, I have courage.  And the good news is that you can't force yourself to have confidence, but you can force yourself to have courage.  You CAN just choose to do something that feels scary and intimidating.  You can apply for that job.  You can ask that person to dinner.  You can be vulnerable.  You CAN dance around in that swimsuit.

The best part?  Your courage doesn't even have to come from you.  Have more faith in your friends.  Believe that they will still love you even if you're 10 pounds heavier than you think you should be.  Believe that they will be there to celebrate when you get that job.  Believe that they will carry your burden when that person doesn't like you back.

So here we go.  What are you scared of that you really want to do?  Don't rely on your confidence, rely on your courage and the people who love you.  Go do it.  Now.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Alone and loved.

Last Friday I had a very scary morning.

“Do you have someone in the waiting room?”


“You are here alone?!”



The ER nurse went from a look of confusion to a look of sadness.  What was going on in her head?  Did she think I was so alone that there was no one there to support me?  Did she think I was an idiot  driving myself to the ER?  Did she just feel bad for a girl who is my age with no one around?

Just a few hours earlier, around 2am, in the middle of rehearsal, I had coughed and a pain in my chest (that I knew well from a sickness a couple weeks ago) returned with a vengeance.   I pushed on my chest waiting for it to subside like it had so many times a couple weeks ago, but this time it stuck around.  And a few hours later, around 4am, while watching Grey’s Anatomy at home, it felt like someone stabbed me in the chest with the biggest knife you can imagine.  I felt like someone pulled my breath out of me and my whole body tingled.

I calmly called the after hours nurse and while on hold, it all happened again only worse.  Ok, time to get in the car and get to an ER.  After the second episode I started shaking so awfully that I couldn’t even read my medical number off of my card.

The shaking was going in waves, so when I arrived at the ER I looked and sounded fine.  The nurse was confused why I was even there until another wave over took me and I couldn’t even talk correctly.

Her first thought was that I was a meth addict coming down.  I laughed and it made her smile.  Then she asked me if I was responding to any prescribed medication.  I said “Nope, fit as a fiddle.”  Then she asked me if I was maybe having a panic attack.  Look lady, I don’t care about McDreamy that much.

After multiple EKG attempts (they couldn’t get a good reading because of my shaking), blood work, heart monitoring, and an IV, the doctor came in with the best and worst news.  “You look completely healthy.”

I sat there waiting to be discharged and looked around my empty room; the plain beige walls, the smell of sterile equipment, the tubes of my IV, and the lonely beep of the heart monitor speeding up every time another wave occurred.  During one of my shaking spells, I thought back to that nurse who wanted to know why I was alone and teared up a little.  I guess it’s true, other people probably have a significant other or at least someone with them, but I have trained myself to do things on my own.

But as the weekend went on, my roommate was pissed I didn’t ask her for help, and my parents wanted to bring me things, and my work team asked how they can help. It all reminded me, just because I am alone doesn’t mean I am not loved.

I am loved deeply by people all around me and I don’t need someone sitting in my ER room to know that.  I think that ER nurse is good example of how some people may look at us single people.  We seem alone, we seem unsupported, we seem unloved, but the reality is that no matter what other people think, I am loved, I am supported by so many, and sometimes my “loneliness” is actually a sign of great courage and strength.

There has been no answer to what happened to me and it took me a good three days to even be able to stand for longer than 5 minutes, but everyday I have made huge improvements and I’m almost back to feeling 100%.  (Sometimes God just wants to slow you down and making you stay in bed for three days is a good way to do it.)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Little Tiny (Gigantic) Doubts

The shoes I wear when I hike are ridiculously old.  And I love them.  They tracked through Germany with me when I was the Ambassador of Disneyland and ran me to the finish line of my first triathlon.  There are little holes above my big toes and the front of the shoes are coming apart which sometimes flings dirt forward as I walk.  But I can't give up on them.  They fit my feet perfectly, they have been so good to me.

However, last night Matt and I were hiking.  I had mentioned to Matt for the last couple weeks that my shoes are more slippery with every hike we took.  But I still attack every hike the same way.  Yesterday, we were on our way down a pretty steep bank and my shoes finally gave up and my leg flew out from under neath me and I slammed onto the ground.  It hurt.  My hip was throbbing, I scraped and bruised the bottom on my leg, and my hands were stinging from catching me on the jagged rocks.

Matt and I decided that the path we were on was probably to steep for my little old shoes, so i knew if we headed back up the mountain, I could dig my toes into the mountain and succeed.  So we started up the steep incline.  I won't lie, I was scared.  It was steep and I doubted that my shoes could do their job, but I went forward anyway.  I went ahead of Matt and only about 10 steps later, my shoes gave up.  I started to slide down the cliff and my shoes would not grab on.  My hands grasping for something to hold onto, but I wasn't stopping.  I screamed to Matt, and he reached out and grabbed me.  Thank God for Matt and his solid shoes.

We gave up and ended up hiking parallel to the cliff until we were on a path that was flat enough that I could hike safely.

I can't stop thinking about how I can't remember the last time I fell while hiking.  And yet, I had just had two pretty bad falls right in a row.  Maybe it was my shoes.  Maybe they really had hit there breaking point, but also maybe it was me.  The first fall had put doubt in my mind, I had started wondering if these shoes could really get me through this hike.  I wonder if subconsciously I had started hiking differently because of that little tiny doubt in my mind?

Tiny little doubts can start making you live differently.  They can get into your mind and you start making decisions out of fear that you don't even know you are making.  The thing is, sometimes you need to change your shoes, but sometimes you  just need to stop making decisions because of fear (or at least start noticing when you are).