Back in the 90's I was obsessed with figure skating. I was a fan before the Kerrigan/Harding kerfuffle but it certainly increased my attention afterwards. I was playing softball with a bunch of other gay men my age and we decided we would take ice skating lessons at the Plaza of The America's. We found enough guys from the team to form our own class so it was just the people I knew on the ice with me.
I had never skated before but I had no doubt at all that I would be "sit spinning" and "triple lutzing" in no time. While the others were hanging on to the rails I was skating along and even figured out how to skate backwards. The tedious instruction of the basic principles board me to death. When the teacher told us to take the ice and practice what we just learned, I saw this as my chance to get going real fast and try a big ole jump. I picked up speed, the cold air rushed across my face. I was Michelle Kwan. I was Scott Hamiliton. I pushed off with my legs and landed like a Roadmast Buick flat on my chest. It completely knocked the air out of my lungs and miraculously I managed to keep my chin from being opened wide up by the hard cold ice.
After that on ice catastrophe I was so filled with the fear of pain on the ice I found myself joining my friends practically still holding the side rails. I started to dread the lesson and I quit.
There have been countless things in my life where I have excelled in before I knew to be afraid.
I have lost 100 pounds twice, 70 lbs twice and 40 pounds more times than I could could. It just never occured to me that is was suppose to freak me out with such a large number to lose. It never occured to me that I couldn't do it. Losing for me is way easy compared to keeping it off.
In most sports, racing and even rodeoing, to pause because of a flash of fear can actually be deadly. My mother will start to pull out on the highway and then stop abruptly many times putting her (and ME!) in danger of being hit.
All these things just drive home the point to me of committing and not second guessing myself into the loonie bend. Ordering anything that I had to choose from a menu was torture, fearing it would not be enough, it wouldn't be as good as the other choices or that I would end up wishing I had ordered what someone else ordered.
Today, after 15 or more years of looking inward and fucking up plenty, I'm learning more and more to commit and let go of the results or make peace with the possible consequence. Commit with out fear. I am flinging myself at life on earth and I will deal with results as they happen because anticipating the worst just puts me out of play for another day.
Today I would ice skate again without crazy fear of falling. BUT BUT BUT, I wouldn't try any crazy jumps because it looked so cool on tv. (Unless I relapsed on alcohol or xanax) But that is another entry for another day.
I have one or two folks in my life who aren't going anywhere, that if I give them opportunity they will let me know why something is a bad idea or how I will fail. I love them and that is just the way they are, but what I think trumps what everyone else things. Start looking and you will see people all around that are succeeding at things just because it never crossed their mind they wouldn't. Toddlers just get up and walk one day, some crawl first and some just get up and get on about it. Because they weren't made aware that failure was a viable option. lol