dare to be different

Feeling the Burn

I did it. After many months of thinking about it, I finally joined the tattoo club. Maybe it’s small. Maybe it’s only one color. Either way, it’s mine.

The shape decision was difficult. What could I choose that I would still love many years from now?

I thought about memorializing something from my past…

To remember my Mom, maybe a ladybug or a dogwood. Or for my Dad, a carousel horse or something musical.

Maybe an accomplishment? My PhD? Something to do with my kids? Nothing jumped out at me.

Then I decided to think about my present and my future instead. What would remind me to keep pushing forward to the future I’m trying to create?

I knew I wanted something tiny for my first one. And just like I enjoy words with multiple meanings, I wanted a design that had multiple meanings as well. After looking and thinking about so many possibilities, I finally settled on a flame.

Here are a few of the reasons behind that:

I’m a big candle burner. I love the light and the flickers. I constantly have them around as a source of warm comfort.  But that’s just the start.

More importantly, I strive to be a light for others.  To bring warmth and brightness into the world.

Fire is a transformative thing.  You can’t be near it without being changed by it.  I want to say the same thing about my life in the world.  That my life is a force for change.

But the deciding factor was this quote: “Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.”  To bring to mind the spirit of my year of fearless.

I put it on my ankle to remind myself to hold my own feet to the fire. Not to become complacent or lazy.

Just because the year ends does not mean my spirit of fearlessness has to.

I’ve had it about a month.  I still smile when I look down and see it.  It’s small, it’s special, my unique ink. It lights me up. What do you burn for?

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adventure, celebrations

Dropping Off the Edge

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There were always a hundred reasons not to do it.

I’m too busy.

It’s too far away.

But really, the one that held me back was:

I am over the 250-pound weight limit for women.

This is also what kept me from Roller Coasters, Skydiving, Hang Gliding, Canoeing, etc.  (Watch for future posts on these…)

It was only a couple of years ago that I crossed that 250 threshold.  Now I am well under it, no looking back.

So, here I am, making my way through the year of fearless.   How can I embrace it, without having to travel too far? Ziplining at Banning Mills. 

I bought our tickets the night before. Just to be sure I couldn’t chicken out.  I chose the 2 Springs source, since it had fewer bridges (much scarier to me, in thought!)

Made the drive, donned the gear, took the class, then we set out.  No time to be afraid with just the three of us in our group.  We lucked out, the other course had 30 people! Lots of waiting on high platforms.  Lots of time to get worked up.  Not us.

I climbed and my breath quickened – not so much from the tower as from the fear.  Every single time, left hand on the pulley, right on the rope. Watch for the hand signal to slow down.  Then reach your hand around and press on the line.  Careful not to press too hard or you will dislocate your shoulder. Yikes!

I got to the top.  The two teens just soared right off the platform. Effortless. Then it was my turn…. I didn’t jump.  I kind of crouched and leaned forward, forward, forward.  Just barely almost sliding falling off the ledge.  And I just let go and trusted and flew.

The second one was a little bit better, but not much.  Before each of the twenty-something lines, I had to repeat those steps. Left hand, right hand, drop.  And I had to slow down, feeling the glove get hot from the friction was scary.  Feeling my shoulder pull was nerve-wracking.  But I finally got the hang of it.  Finally, up 150 stairs and down at 65 miles per hour over a lake.

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Did we want to do the extra lines at the end of the course?  Sure. Every line had a name and a story – some funny, some likely made up, some sad or puzzling. The line named Secret, one of the last ones we rode, sent us flying high over a beautiful flowing stream. Very few people make it to that line (our guide said he had been on it with guests maybe 5 times over a few years), which explains the name. I was able to relax a little and enjoy the view.  On our last line, our guide even had me jump off the platform backwards.  What a ride.

For so many years, I wore my weight as an excuse. It’s ironic that the bigger you are, the easier it is to hide.  It’s like an invisibility cloak.  It protected me from many things, including some adventures like this.

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Of course, it’s more complicated than that.  Only part of what kept me unhealthy for so long.  But I am determined to embrace reckless, crazy, over-the-top or off-the-edge adventures as often as I can from now on.

Some don’t even make it past the first line, the guides said.  But, I kept following the steps, holding my breath, and stepping off with trust.  I was free and flying and not out of place.  I put all my weight on it and the line still held.  There is value in facing the fear, sitting down into it and just letting go.

 

family

August, Where Did You Go?

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School is back in session. Child #3 is living her best life as a teen. Not quite ready to drive, but on the path to turning 21….in her mind anyway. Fall sports and a robust social life are in full swing as well keeping adults on the go or in the car! Check out me and my mini…

Work, work, work. Some say summer is slow, but for me I go, go, go. Keeping up with purpose work, professional engagements, community involvement, household chores and so on. I blinked and the month has come and gone.

Big things are in motion for my boys. Each charting their own path but lots of hustle and promise on the horizon. Moments like this make me celebrate being a mom.

Travel time. I had a little adventure to see my family up north. Good times, good memories. 2 kids in tow to visit the grandparents. Time well spent with relatives I don’t get to see often. Recharged and ready. Bring on Fall and all its adventure.

Cool Fall air has got to be on the horizon now that September is here. August has been way too hot. Despite the heat, I had a blast this summer. Fun fashion stops. Retail therapy on steroids. Plane rides, train rides, scooter rides and Uber rides made my summer one to remember.

As September sets in, its time to focus and wrap up the year. What’s left on the agenda? More writing of course!