Monday, August 18, 2014

Head On

True confession: once upon a long, long time ago, I was supposed to go to New York City. We booked a tour, paid for tickets and planned how much fun we would have seeing all the amazing sights in the city that never sleeps.

But then I had an anxiety attack.

I freaked out. I became physically ill at the thought of going to NYC and all the ills that could befall me. To be fair, this was in the olden days, before Times Square was a family-friendly tourist destination, back when it was still a crime-ridden den of iniquity. And while I loved the idea of the adventure, the reality gave me pause. And by gave me pause I mean made me physically ill.

We were out the money for the trip and we stayed home. I regret that still.

Then there was that time when we lived in Europe and I had the opportunity to go on some daytrips (to places like Paris, to visit Jim Morrison's grave) on my own, when my husband was deployed. But I didn't go. I couldn't do it by myself; I was terrified. So I didn't get to see places that I wanted to see because fear kept me away.

These days, I try to take life a little differently. I see a challenge and I feel I need to take it on. I have kids now—if I come upon a challenge and fold, what am I teaching them? I start to think about that old commercial for the headache medicine—HEAD ON! HEAD ON! HEAD ON!—Good advice for dealing with a challenge.

So when I was asked to participate in the Run or Dye color run, even though I have what may be an irrational fear of inhaling colored powder? I did it. And it was great. And on the heels of that, when I was still riding high on endorphins and feeling the feels of power and I was asked to rappel from a 16-story building? I said yes. Hell yes! I will do it.

I am hopeful that my smile will be this genuine and less
terror-tinged than I envision it may be.
Wait a second; what now?

Rappelling from a 16-story building. Yes, I'm afraid of heights. Really afraid of heights. To the point where when I think back about some of the places that I've been that are really high up in the air (like the Space Needle or airplanes), I scare myself.

But I'm going to do it. First and foremost because it's a once-in-a-lifetime kind of thing and I've already established that I let some of those slip by me. Not gonna happen again. Second of all, it's for a great cause: raise money and awareness for the Girl Scouts.

The event is called Over the Edge, and all proceeds from the event will support Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma and the Storm Shelter Campaign at their camp properties.

Since I am a supporter of the Girl Scouts but not a Girl Scout myself, I thought I should ask some friends who are to share why the Girl Scouts are important to them:

From Jennifer S.:
Some of our family's favorite memories have involved Scouts. First camping trips, mother daughter tea parties, daddy daughter dances, powderpuff car races, Christmas caroling at local nursing homes, and decorating a special tree at the capitol, to name a few. We love Girl Scouts! Our girls have truly benefited from being involved with Girl Scouts. Girl Scouts opened a new path to wide ranging experiences for the girls. They have grown as individuals and have developed a "yes I can" attitude. They have learned perseverance, self-sufficiency, teamwork, philanthropy,  and a true commitment to a sisterhood. They are strong minded, compassionate girls and are unafraid to stand up for what they believe. Girl Scout experiences have played a strong part in their character development. Girl Scouts make a promise and follow a Girl Scout Law that can and will take them through each part of life.

When our oldest daughter turned ten she had a slumber party. She invited about thirty girls and we had it in an activity center. I was concerned with such a large group that someone may feel left out or that small cliques would form since our daughter had invited friends from church, scouts, dance, and school. Once everyone arrived I shared with them that our family was part of a Girl Scout family and that some of the things that we believed were that we needed to be honest and fair, kind and considerate, and to be a sister to every girl and what that means. I had no problems. The girls were wonderful and played well together and no one was left out. I had so many parents that shared how much fun their girls had and several girls shared with their families about what I had told them about scouts. The next week I had several phone calls from parents asking about signing up their daughters for scouts.
From Gayleen R.:
Often the challenge for me involves stepping back and letting the girls do things on their own. This can be incredibly hard when they've just broken the sixth match trying to light the cooking fire and your stomach has been growling more than an hour. But that smile of accomplishment when she finally uses just the right amount of pressure and the match bursts into flame makes it all worth it.

Last summer we were at Troop Core Camp (leaders accompany troops at this camp session) and our troop was doing the Ropes course. It was the end of a hot afternoon and the girls were all tired. One of the girls was struggling to make it across an elevated obstacle—she had to balance and pull herself forward while sitting on a block of wood. Sweat beads were breaking out on her forehead and I thought she was going to call it quits (I think I would have) but the other girls cheered her on and she made it across. When we were walking back to the tent, I asked her which obstacle she liked best.

"The last one," she said enthusiastically.

"Wasn't that one the hardest?"

"Yep - that's why it felt so good to finish it."

What I know of the Girl Scouts is that it teaches girls to be brave. To believe that they can do what they set their mind to. That if they are challenged to face their fear of heights? They can do it head-on.

Images courtesy of Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma. I was asked by Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma to promote Over The Edge before, during and after the event in exchange for the opportunity to rappel down a 16-story building, I agreed because (1) I like a challenge and (2) I believe in the Girl Scouts. The event belongs to them; the opinions and words here are my own because I don't sell them.

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