Being Brave(r)

I’m a worrier, someone who tends to overanalyze things, weighing the risks versus the benefits. This is not a trait that makes me happy. (I don’t always think things through, though. I did jump on Andrew’s skateboard a few months ago, meeting the sidewalk, face first. That was unfortunate). But mostly I’m a thinker. I don’t like this because it limits me, and I have to psyche myself up to do/try new things. After my first bout with cancer, I’d tell myself: If you can get through that, you can do anything. But then I’d forget what I’d been through and have to give myself another pep talk.

These are two things I’ve done lately that pushed me beyond my comfort zone...

1. Ice skating. I worried about falling on my face again (see the above unfortunate skateboard incident) or breaking a bone. I hadn’t been on ice skates for over thirty years (and I was a sucky skater as a kid). Urged on by Andrew and my young writer friend L, I put the skates on, held onto the railing for a few feet, then let go. And I didn’t fall over or burst into flames! Picture, if you will, skating at the end of December in an open air rink in Downtown Los Angeles.


Dressed in exercise pants and a short-sleeved shirt, I wiped away the beads of perspiration on my forehead. It was 80 degrees out. We skated round and round the rink full of people--all ages, many of them falling, and laughing. (Only a little bit of blood involved.) I found myself having to stop and take a breather every few minutes while Andrew and L bopped around, looking obnoxiously young and fit. (And L, who is much younger, unfortunately had gone through her own bilateral mastectomy eight weeks before. I felt like a wimp in comparison. At eight weeks post surgery, I was walking around the block. Skating? Hah! No way. Ah, youth.) So I survived and felt good about it until a few hours later when my knees decided to let me know that they don’t skate anymore. (Stupid knees.)


2. I cut my own hair. The only explanation I have for this is sheer laziness. My hair had gotten to the point where it needed to be cut. Stat! But I just didn’t feel like going to the hair place. I looked at the scissors. Nah, I couldn’t. But I did. Scissors in one hand, mirror in the other, I chopped three inches off the bottom. (Much easier than I thought it would be.) And sort of did something with my bangs. I survived. I didn’t die. And my hair looked surprisingly okay. 

So I’m going to try to keep pushing myself to do things that may be uncomfortable. Right now I’m querying literary agents--this is an activity where a person is inviting certain rejection into their lives. But nothing ventured, nothing gained. And I do believe in these books, enough to give them my best shot anyway. 

On a different note: February 13th through the 20th, Normalish and Finding a Man for Sylvia will be on sale for 99 cents. (Thank you to my publisher Musa!) Normalish--readers tell me they laugh and cry. Finding a Man for Sylvia--no tears; laughs only. (This one comes with a warning in the front, which is funny. There is nothing explicit other than, erm, humorous references to domination--one of the main characters happens to be a dominatrix. And I could never write erotica. I tried once on a dare from Steve. It was so awkward, and I felt like: dur, dur, derpity, dur; I am such a dork.)

After watching Saturday Night Live last week and laughing so hard at the CVS Valentine’s Day commercial skit, I say: Why not treat yourself to a good read? Forget about the heart-shaped box of waxy chocolates or the stuffed bear holding a heart. Just say no to the desperation gifts. Bake your significant other some cookies. Order takeout and watch a movie. If you have no S.O., then call someone you love. And treat yourself. It’s a made-up Hallmark holiday anyway. (But that is a post for next time. Or it should be: Valentine’s Day Survival Tips.)  

Be well, everyone. And try to be brave(r). And share your being brave stories. We’d love to read them.

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