Teens of Today
Truth Is Stranger than Fiction

Facing a Wall

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?



I think it's fine that you didn't want to climb the wall. You've climbed plenty when you had no choice. To choose not to is a sign of your newfound freedom.


I think it is fine that you didn't climb the rocks on your first try. I didn't jump off the diving board on my first few attempts but eventually I did and now I can do a flip off the diving board. It was my kids watching me do my flip that encouraged them to at least jump into my arms. A few years later I had three of them jumping off a cliff into a quarry in Ohio. You never know what is on the other side of a closed door.


Cross the bridges you choose to cross on your own terms. I am sure if a bear was chasing you, you'd find a way up those rocks. That is all that matters. And if NOT...just hit him with a full brush of Blue Bayou paint.

Laura of Rebellious Thoughts of a Woman

April, I thought that those were caves in my past--it always felt rather closed in, airless and exitless. At least a wall presents itself to you and you get a sense of what you are facing.

Jon, thanks for your first comment! I can dive off a diving board, as long as it isn't really loose. Whoa. I did that once, and that was enough. What do you mean first try?

MTAE, Blue Bayou Bear. Is that a title of a song? Speaking of bridges, for a long time I didn't like driving over those, I didn't trust myself in the outer lane, but now, now it's smooth driving.


Oh Laura I love your words today...facing fears, overcoming fears, doing things we don't want to do or having the voice to say "No I don't have to do this right now or ever if I so choose." I love that you are using your voice for you. I love, in reading this, to find out that you have been dating someone for 6 weeks...my heart jumped when I read those words of yours...:) how this makes me smile...

I think back to some time ago...all that you dealt with...how far you have come because you have had the courage to fight and move forward in your life...I need to tell you how proud I am of you. Somehow, in sharing in your journey with you, I feel such joy in seeing you here at this place where you could say No when you needed to say no. Maybe a day will come when your answer will be yes?

I smile as I picture you painting your wall...bravo my friend...you will do fine..I just know it! Hugs & love to you...thank you for sharing your journey with me. XX Lori


They say it's good to leave your comfort zone once in a while, but there's also that little voice in the back of our head that tells us that climbing up a sheer rock wall maybe isn't our best idea. Do what you feel comfortable doing and stretch yourself as far as you feel comfortable stretching yourself and you'll be happy.

Good luck with your painting project. (I always have a damp rag handy for spills. I think I'd rather paint than do serious climbing.)


There are things I will not do in this life; won't ride a roller coaster - did it once as a kid and no, have no desire to do it again. I do enjoy hiking but I won't be rock climbing - do not need to risk broken bones. I don't think all fears need to be conquered. Fear keeps us from darting into traffic or touching a hot stove and that's good.
Other fears are actually challenges such as speaking in public or learning to swim.
Each person must not only recognize their own personal challenges but also recognize that another person's challenges are not theirs to determine.
We each face our fears/challenges when we are ready.
I am happy you made a choice and stood up for it. If you had given in, it would not have felt like an accomplishment. I'm glad you are going to paint that wall. When it is finished, it will be an accomplishment you can be proud of.


All fears should be faced immediatly in my humble opinion. Lest the be tucked under a carpet and ignored for the rest of your life. Take for example a person who fears leaving their abusive husband. Should she ignore the problem and wait until she is "ready"? I say no. Deal with the fear and dive into the moment head long. It won't be easy, in fact in could be very dangerous but it is probably the better of two evils. Deal with the fear or not. Climb an 8 foot rock and walk a path to the top to see the beauty at the top of a waterfall or stay at the bottom and look at pictures in magazines? You never know until you over come those fears. I myself have overcome many fears but I was pushed to do so and I am grateful for my pushers.



It's kind of easy to give advice to others about facing their fears. Unfortunately, though, not so easy to carry out when you're the person with that fear.

My thing about climbing rock walls or scaling Mt. Everest -- don't really want to. I mean, people do things all the time that I have no desire to do. The pioneer spirit, or whatever you want to call it, is what keeps us moving forward, but we can't all be pioneers or trailblazers, you know? Some of us can experience thrills vicariously. I don't WANT to sail around the world by myself. I don't want to ride in a vomit comet. And that's just fine with me.

Laura of Rebellious Thoughts of a Woman

I painted the wall and it looks beautiful. That was a challenge that I presented to myself and wanted to meet. The boulder was not a challenge that I placed in front of myelf, nor was it something that I felt I needed to climb in order to feel good about myself, or even to not feel bad about myself. Now, everytime I walk by my blue bayou wall I feel a tinge of true accomplishment.

One of the biggest challenges (if not the biggest) for me is public speaking. On Monday I submitted an application to present in front of the county's English teachers in the fall. Another wall that I am pleased to have confronted. No one pushed me--I pushed myself.

One last comment: abused women, if they are not physically hit, often don't realize that they are abused, they just think that they're dealing with a difficult husband--or even their husband, quirks and all.

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