To recap, last week I announced my self-elected challenge of tackling something scary in the spirit of living life boldly and courageously.  A chance to look fear in the face, to test my limits, to venture into the dark cave of the unknown and emerge heroically on the other side….my date with destiny….my date with pizza.

This morning I re-read my post from last week with a mixture of compassion and bemused awkwardness, rolling my eyes to mask the subtle squeezing of my heart.  I feel equal parts critical and protective of this girl woman girl who declared this challenge with such pomp and circumstance, filled with confidence and “I’ve got this!” optimism.

I find my earnestness both endearing and slightly embarrassing. The vision of myself as a laid back beer and pizza chick struck me as so naïve, so simple and sweet…like a little boy, proclaiming, “When I grow up, I am going to be an astronaut!”  And you pat his head, and say, “Of course you are!” But just one week ago, I felt caffeinated confident.  Breezy, even. 

Then the days began to creep by.

 Uptight, anxious, bitchy? Yes.  Breezy?  Uhh, not so much.

The adrenaline rush that comes with “Signing Up” was wearing thin as the Buyer’s Remorse settled in.  Hey, that rhymes!

This past week felt similar to the one leading up to the triathlon I did in Florida a few years ago.  It was all sunshine and lollipops when I was swimming laps in the safe little pool at the gym…but as the date of the race approached I started thinking about the Tampa Bay, and how it had things like waves, and no black line on the bottom to keep you in your lane. I started Googling “Shark Attacks in Tampa Bay.”  My vision of slicing effortlessly through the water began to melt under the hot interrogation lights of fear.  

 The point is, it wasn’t all “I Am Woman, Watch Me Pound Pizza”.  There were some angsty moments.

But then I started to do what I am beginning to learn is what real grown-ups do when they are scared, in lieu of sobbing uncontrollably or hiding under the bed. I talked myself off the ledge by reminding myself that I always have a choice to throw fish at the crazy Muppet-guys-in-the-balcony (aka. the voices in my head),

or I can run off the stage crying. 

I remembered something my favorite writer, Anne Lamott said: “My mind is a bad neighborhood I try not to go into alone.”

So, I called in some troops in the form of our good friends, Todd the Bod, (named for his bulging biceps) and his lovely photographer wife, Mrs. Todd the Bod, aka. Danette.  They busted in like the Party Patrol, armed with champagne and Danette’s intense looking camera to document the event.  I think God sends me these ridiculously fun people quite intentionally…crackpot crusaders on a mission to remind me that life is short and that IT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE SO HARD. 

Special Agents of Joy, armed with fart jokes and a case of Coors Light. 

While the Muppets in my head may think that I suck, my friends must think otherwise…because they keep on showing up. 

And by hanging around people who think you are awesome for reasons that have nothing to do with the size of your jeans…and they tell you those reasons….and you actuallly let yourself see what they see…well, I think that’s where the change happens.  That’s where the pizza cutter starts rolling some new grooves in your cranium. 

Speaking of the pizza…it was yummy.   Just as I remembered it.

 But I can honestly say, that amidst the laughing and storytelling, the pizza itself became quite secondary…which was exactly the point.

Oh, and incidentally….as a kid, my sister had a friend named Paul who would say, “When I grow up, I am going to be an astronaut!”  And you know what? 

He is.

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