Chief and I were on Interstate 5 somewhere in central California when he asked me a question. It was one of those moments. Like when you see smoke rising from a discharged revolver. Or taser darts that grabbed high and low – a perfect hit. Or the boot print on my assets. It was a question that opened up a long forgotten door to my inner self, shedding light on an issue that was meant to be hidden.
I hate when he does that.
Well, not really. Because after the initial hot alligator tears of anger comes gradual relief as I see the silhouette of an obstacle. And like all obstacles, it’s in the way.
Obstacles are kind of like hurdles. And that word right there conjures up memories of gym class eons ago when the coach put out those white L-shaped contraptions on a perfectly good track. My palms get a little sweaty just thinking about it. For those of you who I’ve not met in person, I’ll clue you in. I’m short. And I was blessed with Scottish genes that gave me muscular thighs that should move fast but don’t and a long torso. This translates to very few hurdles left intact after I’ve bumbled through. It’s a wonder I kept all my teeth through the track and field weeks. My knees and elbows still bear the scars of blood long lost on hurdle day.
Chief’s question made me very much aware that I struggle with fear. Fear of heights. Fear of failure. Fear of dying when I run too long. The list goes on a little further, but I think you get the point.
As I made peace with this new realization, I was reminded of a picture my aunt gave me on my 40th birthday. It was a picture of a little blond girl of maybe four years old, running full force through the grass, a look of pure delight and excitement on her face. She had bright eyes and a huge laughing smile. It was me. My aunt wrote a note that said this is how she sees me, even now. It was my favorite gift that year.
With that picture in mind and the fear obstacle in front of me, I made the decision to tackle my fears in 2013. To sprint full force toward the things that scare me, and leave no fear hurdle unturned, even if I have to skin my knees along the way. My word for this year is FEARLESS.
I plan to run a marathon late in the year, with little races on the way. For my 25th anniversary I’m having Chief take me to Maui to learn to surf. And this summer I will jump out of an airplane. There are other goals and fears that I want to tackle as well. It’ll be a new season of adventure!
What about you? Want to join me? What word will be the theme of your 2013? What’s your game plan? I’d love to hear.
Victoria Newman - "A CHiP on My Shoulder" January 4th, 2013
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