I’m not sure why we need to confront all of our fears and overcome them. And I’m also not sure, on the flip side, why we always have to be upbeat and why everything needs to be seen through pink lenses. I wonder if this is similar to anti-bacterial soap? We think it’s good to get rid of all the germs that might have come upon us, only to discover that we have now weakened our defenses so that we can be felled by the slightest of germs.
Yesterday I went to a park to see a waterfall (after a marvelous feast of Maryland blue crabs at a picnic bench covered with newspapers in a slight rain). I had thought that there would be a walk through the woods, and then the waterfall to marvel at, and then back to the car. Lovely. But no, there was a waterfall, but, it turns out, this waterfall was supposed to be climbed. There was a narrow band of water cascading down a wall of rocks and boulders that people climb up to reach the top of the waterfall. People, as in people other than myself.
Jon (the man I have been dating for about six weeks), who happens to be six feet tall with rather long legs, stood atop the first boulder before I could even grasp the fact that I was expected to climb this boulder, and then innumerable other boulders in order to what?—get to the top and say I did.
But no, I am no rock climber. It could be my rather earthbound build, or it could be my discomfort at the notion of climbing a smooth faced object, notwithstanding the “foot holds” in it. Or it could be my not trusting myself to haul up my not delicate self from hold to hold. Or it could be that as I thought about conquering the task and getting up to where those other people were, way up there, that I would need to get down as well. The joy of the day faded to the gray color of the boulders. I could feel the fun leave and a dread enter.
Dread. Why should I do something that I dread? And on my day off, too.
So I said no.
Jon tried to encourage me, and then he tried to get me to overcome my fear. But I was having none of it. I would not be talked into doing something that I didn’t want to do, that I didn’t feel comfortable doing. Is this giving into my fear or is this being realistic? Why can’t a mountain of boulders be just that and not something that represents a fear that I need to overcome? Why can’t I keep within this fear—protecting me?
Part of me—a big part—thinks I’m stronger for not letting someone else’s cajoling push me past what I felt comfortable doing. Did I get to where I am to believe someone else say which fears I need to overcome, or did I get to where I am so that I could listen to myself—and have a self to hear and trust.
Tomorrow I have another wall to face. Another wall that I have not faced before, but this time I have decided to push through the fear and trepidation and—paint it! Yes, tomorrow, all on my own, I will paint the wall opposite my bed in Blue Bayou. I will not get a sample and paint a three inch block to be sure that it’s really the color I want. No. I put up at least thirty paint sample sheets on my wall for about a week and narrowed it down to this color. It is the color. A decision has been made.
And I have not painted since I was about eight and my parent’s painted their bedroom chocolate brown. I was assigned the bottom molding. But I will do it. And it will be as perfect as I am capable of painting a wall.
This is a wall that I want to encounter—and climb.
Isn’t life about encountering walls, some to be walked around, some to turn away from, and some to walk right through?