Caution! thrown to the wind.

I'm naturally pretty wimpy. No, it's true--don't try to make me feel better. (As if anyone would try to convince me otherwise.) I just prefer the safer route. Is that a crime, people?!?!?

No, of course not. It is not a crime. In fact it is the opposite of a crime. Case in point: I was the one kid on my high school field trips that kept the whole class waiting as I went down to the crosswalk because I refused to jaywalk. Jaywalking was dangerous and against the law and I wasn't going to do it.

If you happen to be an incredibly devoted friend, then you may have read my previous post about chasing lions, or the more recent one about chasing kittens. Probably you're a great friend but still haven't read those posts, so let me get you up to speed here. Basically, I recognize that I'm perhaps a little too cautious. Actually, I was starting to think that my careful living was getting in the way of actual living. Therefore I decided that it was time to break out of the box---at least a little. So I've been trying new things, things that I don't like either because they scare me a little or a lot, or because they really embarrass me. I'm pretty easily embarrassed, so the list of new things to try was rather long. My "Chasing Kittens" blog lists a few new things I had been trying, and here are a few more:

1. I have been longboarding to school and around town. Strange, I know. Someone lent it to my husband and I found in the garage and thought I'd give it a go. This is very unlike me because falling is bad, but falling in public is much worse. I was just gonna ride it in the street in front of my house, but then I needed to get to school and the car was gone and my bike tire was flat... so I tried this new thing and it's been pretty fun. And the funny thing is that it is drawing a lot of attention and I can tell people are getting all sorts of the wrong impression about me. The longboard is very cool and hip; I am not cool and am unhip. So I'm like a rolling irony cruising around campus.

2. Related, but still very unlike me, I've been trying skateboarding. The longboard is nice and smooth and I pretty much just cruise around, maybe taking some hills or getting low on the board. But skateboards are different creatures. Last Thursday on a whim, I decided that I needed to ride it. Joshua and his friend were headed to the skatepark and I tagged along, but only to read a book and maybe chat with the other wife who came. But . . . then I got on it, did some very failed ollies, and rode the halfpipe a little. I fell quite a few times, but it was fun, and in doing it I made a great summer memory.

3. You know how there's food and then there is other plant life that is really just better for admiring in nature? Lettuce is good to eat, while ferns are nice to look at. Don't mix them up. All my life--really, all my life--mushrooms have fallen into that second category. In my yard: "Oooh, look at the cute mushroom." On my plate: "Why? No, seriously, why? For the love of all that is good, get this fungus away from my food." But . . . in the last few weeks I've been eating them! Once in pasta and a couple other times in pizza. Good news: I have not yet died. Further reports to come.

4. I tried riding my bike hands-free today. This was sort of a dumb thing to try because I've been trying it since about the time I got my training wheels off (3 or 4 years ago) and it has never worked. Never ever. So why did I think that today might be my lucky day? I don't know. But I did try it and it worked exceedingly well. I think I went maybe 30 or 40 seconds without touching the handle bars, even going so far as to unclip my backpack chest strap and swing the pack around to the front so I could grab my phone. And no injuries. A few minutes later I was standing and straddling the bike as I waited for traffic to clear so I could cross the street (and not at a crosswalk!!) and the bike fell over, scraping up my left leg and making me wonder about the operations of irony in the world.

5. I went lap swimming. I used to do this regularly until one day it dawned on me that I actually hated it. That was a few years ago and I hadn't been in a pool since then. But today is cardio day and, by the special request of a friend, I grabbed my goggles and donned my old swimsuits (yes, that's plural). Swimming is hard and I don't like it, but I'm still glad that I did it because it's good to do things that I don't like and the other option was running and I don't like that either. So what did I have to lose? Nothing except my annoying amount of whining about how much I dislike lap swimming. I wonder how many fun (or at least okay) things I miss out on because I decided once that I didn't like it.

6. I dropped by a friend's house unannounced. This may very well be the Ironman competition of social phobias. Calling someone is difficult, inviting someone to hang out is really hard, but stopping by their actual house uninvited and unannounced? Wow. That is over-the-top difficult. Now I can't say that I did it without a few second thoughts (the kind where I headed back to the car more than once), but still I did it. And we hung out and had a great time. I came out of the thing completely unscathed. In other words, I took home the trophy :)

New Things (or, Chasing Kittens)

So I'm doing this thing where I step out of my (neatly organized and vacuumed) comfort zone and try things that I either have tried and didn't like or haven't tried before. So far, here's my list:

1. I ate eggs. Not big ones, but small ones; not boiled but scrambled; and mixed in with fried rice. Might not sound like a big deal, but I haven't eaten eggs in years. ('Cause I hate them.) But I just didn't look at my fork and it was fine!

2. I invited people over to my house. Yes, I invited other human beings to hang out with me at my house. Very easy for some people, but not for me. I'm a wimp. But I did it and it was fun and I'm glad they came over!

3. I actually CALLED someone and invited them to do something. This, again, may seem like such a simple thing to some people. But since you're reading this you must be a friend of mine. Have I ever called on the phone and invited you to do something with me? I didn't think so. (By the way, sorry about that! I'm a bad friend, I know...) That's because I never thought people would want to come. But I invited this person anyway. And she did wan to come and she came! And I'm glad I tried this new thing.

4. Fake nails. I know--is this really a new thing worth trying? Well, I've been a nail-biter since the tender age of 8, so I've never had long fingernails before. And yesterday I went to Chicago on a whim (spontaneity is also new) and also on a whim I got french-tipped fingernails. I cannot tell you how weird it feels. I kind of feel like I'm wearing claws. Even typing on this keyboard is difficult. BUT, even though they feel weird, they don't look too bad and Joshua likes them. Plus, trying something new is sometimes its own reward.

5. I cooked! Not only did I cook, I tried some pretty time-intensive recipes AND cooked several meals in one week, including orange-fennel salad and butternut squash and sage pizza. (No, it was actually good!)

6. I'm attempting to get people to call me "Kessia Reyne." I know, it's a big mountain to climb. A lot of people can't even pronounce Kessia, so what makes me think they'll get Kessia Reyne? (It's pronounced KESS'-ee-uh RAIN, for those who don't know.) Well, to be honest, they might not get it. They might mispronounce it and they might forget it and they might end up calling me Cassie in the end anyway. But it's okay. Kessia Reyne is my preferred name, so why not introduce myself that way? It's something new and it's okay if it doesn't work out.

Alright, so those are a few of my new things. What about you? Tried anything new lately? Maybe it's time to live life boldly!

Related posts: chasing lions & Caution! thrown to the wind

chasing lions

I try to live a little dangerously. Sometimes I don't wash my face before bed. Sometimes I let my tea steep a little too long. I don't always handwash my delicates.

Okay, so maybe that stuff's not too dangerous. But I've really relaxed over the years and tried to be a bit more bold with life. There are a few things I do that are a little risky (like walk to close to the edge of the trail when I'm hiking), but for the most part I live a safe life.

Mark Batterson wrote an article that challenged me in this area. (You can read it here.) He takes his inspiration from Benaiah, an obscure Old Testament character who did something outrageous: he ran into a lion and chased it into a pit on a snowy day, and he killed it. Wow. So Batterson challenges the reader to live boldly and stop counting on holiness by subtraction (not doing this and not doing that) and to start chasing after big things for God.

But I have a problem with this.

I was six years old and on a trip to the skating rink with my family. As I skated in that counter-clockwise circle over and over again and I began to be less and less happy because I knew I was a scared-y cat. I was afraid to use the toe stop. I was afraid that I would be catapulted forward and injured. And embarrassed. And I don't like injury or embarrassment.

It took a couple laps of self-talk. "Kessia, don't be a wimp. Just do it. Just use the toe stop. Do it."

So I did. Just after I rounded the corner, I tipped my right skate down and stuck that toe stop into the floor. You can imagine what happened next. I catapulted forward and injured myself. In fact, the toe stop incident threw me headlong into the skate rink wall. After my skull bounced off the wall, I fell back, directly onto my tailbone. This initiated sudden and intense pain throughout my body and also led to back pain for about ten years of my childhood and youth. The only good thing about it was that it hurt so bad that I wasn't at all embarrassed by the scream I let out (that also cleared the rink).

So I think that confirmed in me whatever natural tendencies I have to be a cautious woman. I don't want to chase lions, although I wouldn't mind reading about the success and failure rates of various strategies for chasing lions, or watching a documentary on chasing lions, or even viewing stuffed lions in a museum honoring the great lion chasers of history. But me? chasing one? into a pit? on a snowy day? Too rich for my blood.

But I don't want to be a wimp. I think it's time to put on my running shoes.

Related: chasing kittens & Caution! thrown to the wind