Snake Man, Selfie-Stick-Guy, and Me

So there was this not-too-long-ago day in Manhattan. I was walking down the sidewalk minding my own business, mentally listing all of the fearful reasons I could not launch a blog. All of a sudden Snake Man ambushed me.

I screamed and fell back, whacking myself on some guy’s selfie stick. (This is precisely why I doubt my ability to write a blog. Re-read that sentence.)

Moving on…I explained that I suffer from a severe case of ophidiophobia. Fear of snakes.

“It’s your opportunity to overcome your fear,” Snake Man said. “Just let my pet hug you.”

“Do it, Mom,” my son, Eli urged, with a wide grin on his face and plenty of distance from the writhing reptile.

“How much?” I asked.

“Five bucks.”

“All I’ve got is a credit card,” I said, trying to untangle my purse strap from the selfie-stick.

“Here,” the tourist with the selfie-stick said, holding out a five-dollar-bill.

Moment of truth. Was I going to walk away from an opportunity to prove that I wasn’t afraid of a stupid snake?

Hell, Yes.

I walked. Fast.

But then I turned around. And well…you can see from the photo that I’m smiling. What you can’t see is the puddle forming down by my foot. Not pee. Melted fear. I did it! I held a snake. I let it hug me.

That moment was the Universe’s way of preparing me for this moment.

Blogging is terrifying. It’s risky business. It invites rejection. I think everyone should do it. That way we get to know each other and ourselves better. We tell stories that we live. We use characters that we love and settings that we know. The problem is once you’re camped in my family room, I might not be comfortable with you being there. And then there’s the greater possibility that you might not like being there. You might not like me.

Ouch.

I used to want everyone to like me. I was a kiss-A-people-pleaser. I honestly thought that was how I was supposed to be. Man, was I ever wrong!

But like Maya Angelou said, “Now I know better.” I realize that the only person I need to please is me. It’s not as selfish as it sounds. If I please me, then I don’t have to be concerned with what someone else thinks of me. My value doesn’t come from opinion. It comes from integrity.

Today’s word: INTEGRITY. Of course it means being honest and morally upright, but it means something else too…it means being complete and undivided. It originates from the Greek word “enteros” which means whole. I love that. I freakin’ LOVE that!

Here’s my confession. I’m not whole. I’m not undivided. I’m a shattered creation, someone who has been trying to put the pieces back together, shard-by-shard, all of my life. And though I believe I’ve done a pretty darn good job of it, I don’t think I’m so full of wisdom that I have to project it. What I am is a student of life who wants to share what she learns. I want to share it with YOU!

I’m working on my personal integrity, but to be honest, I’m not always honest. Sometimes I’m lazy. I have Mommy meltdown moments when I yell at the wrong kid. There are dirty dishes in my kitchen sink at this very moment. I’m always working on my weight. I have to fight my fears every single day. My fear right here, right now, is that you’ll reject me, or worse, ignore me.

Oh man, this list could go on forever, but I just want you to know what you’re getting into if you hang with me through this blogging journey. We’re gonna go places. We’ll learn new words and share stories. For sure, we’ll meet all kinds of new people that we’ll hopefully turn into friends. And we’ll face our fears together. The etymology of the word fear includes the Old Saxton word far, which means…get this…ambush.

Who wants to feel ambushed? Nobody. But it’s what Snake Man did to me, and it turned out okay.

(Deep breath here while I pause to push down the fur ball of fear rising in me.) I’m still scared, but that’s okay. I’ve been scared before. I’ll be scared again. In an hour I’m off to face another fear. I’m going to hike a mountain that has terrified me for years. I’m afraid I might not make it to the top, that I’m not physically fit enough to handle it, that my butt will look too fat in the photos. (You’ll wanna stay tuned for that one.)

That’s life. I will get ignored. I will be rejected. People out there in Etherland will pummel me. Bring it on. I can take it because no matter how many times I break, I know how to make myself whole…one piece at a time. At this stage in the game, I’m not going to be stopped by a little thing called fear or something as conquerable as a mountain.

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