I mentioned in Part 1 that I gained more confidence in 2012. Before, I didn’t like going out of my comfort zone–which meant as little small talk with the grocery store cashier as possible and keeping the jetski to just-fast-enough-to-keep-me-going.
Growing up, I wasn’t really a risk-taker. I was the one who stood back and shouted, “Be careful!” when someone tried something new. I was the kid who had a panic attack when I realized I’d climbed higher than 10 feet in a tree. I got better at pretending I was confident. When Justin & I were married, he talked me into trying a lot of new things, but I still didn’t feel confident.
I first started noticing the change after Matthew was born. I think it might have been that I felt that my life was a bit insane, or maybe that I just needed to do something. Whatever it was, I started rock-climbing.
That might not sound significant, but it was. I’ve always been scared of heights. I couldn’t stand up straight if I was more than five feet from the ground. I didn’t like using ladders and there was no way you’d ever get me on a roof.
My friend Elyse talked me into going rock-climbing with her, and at first I was really nervous. The thought that ropes and a harness would keep me from falling to my death didn’t really help. But our first time out, Elyse made me climb up a bit, then let go so I would learn to trust her and the rope.
About a month later, I climbed a 90-foot cliff. I didn’t freak out when I realized I was above tree-level, though I did have to sit down at the top and take a few deep breaths.
That was a turning point for me. I hadn’t completely conquered my fear of heights, but I’d become confident to not let it stop me from doing something I’d always thought would be fun.
There wasn’t such a big change over the rest of the year–I just started doing little things like actually interacting with strangers when I went out, rather than keeping my eyes down and my little shell drawn over me. Justin taught me to drive a stick-shift, something I previously swore up and down that I couldn’t get the hang of, and went on to teach me how to ride a dirtbike.
In my writing, my confidence has wavered back and forth, but I’ve gotten to the point where I just write regardless of my confidence level that day. I probably won’t get as much done, but I do try to press through.
I’ve never chosen words to describe my year, but 2012 has made me consider starting. Once I realized how my confidence was increasing, and started actively working on that, my year felt extremely productive even though my writing wasn’t.