|My younger sister, Heather and I in Salt Lake City, UT, appx 1982
When I was about six years old, I went camping with my mother. We lived in Salt Lake City, Utah. As my mom was building a campfire and setting up the tent, I began climbing the mountain.
My mom told me not to go further than I could see the campfire. I was concentrating so much on climbing, that by the time I looked back, all I could see ware trees behind me. I was not afraid, though. I could see how close I was to the top of the mountain, and I could not turn back. I kept climbing.
Eventually, I heard someone behind me. It was my mother’s boyfriend. He told me that she was panicking, and that we had to get back. I was so excited about being so close to the top, that I convinced him to go with me to the end. We made it to the top, and then descended back to the camp.
When we arrived, I remember it being about 9:00 pm. My mother had collected park rangers, fire fighters, and goodness only knows who else. I know she had been terrified, but all I felt was a great sense of accomplishment.
That was almost 40 years ago, and yet I still remember it. I realized then, that I do not tend to feel fear about challenges. I think part of it is because my parents always made me feel loved and secure. I was always told that I could do would be whatever I want in life.
“No matter how strong I am, I am constantly reminded that I am not a man.”
The problem is, I am a woman. No matter how strong I am, I am constantly reminded that I am not a man. This has caused me no end of drama over the years. So many relationships have dissolved because I just wasn’t a good listener, wasn’t passive enough, wasn’t obedient enough, was too stubborn. I just couldn’t take a backseat while my partner led us down the road that I did not agree with. I have spent many nights lamenting this fire in my soul that just will not give up.
Yet, I think of this time and again, when I see people that are stuck. It could be a bad relationship, a stifling job, or an unrealized dream. I can clearly see the steps that they can take to rectify the problems they are complaining about, but are unwilling to take. Fear can have devastating consequences, but for some reason, people would rather cling to the evil they know, then the uncertainty of the alternative.
At this age, I find that I consider things more than I once did. I feel the slight trepidation when I climb a ladder. I may reconsider following a dark road. I look around a bit more when I am walking to my car. These are exercises that I used to find silly, but the realization that I know that some boogymen are real grants me a bit more natural caution. I tend to feel betrayed by this fear, though. I feel betrayed like I do about my eyesight that is beginning to falter, ever so slightly. I begin to have the barest sympathy for my elders, as I realize that I, too, may find myself fearful one day.
One day, maybe, but not today!
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