Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Sightless Lagoon

While sitting in my seat waiting for the thrill of the Fire Dragon at Lagoon today I watched as a guy helped his blind friend onto the roller coaster.

It made me wonder what it would be like to experience the thrills of an amusement park sightless. Would it be more intense not knowing what was coming? Would I be more anxious with anticipation? Would I be extra sick? So I set off on the ride with my eyes closed tight and excited for a new experience.

I was wrong on two of the three accounts. Without sight I wasn't nearly as anxious or nervous and it wasn't very scary at all. I couldn't tell how high I was, I didn't know what direction I was facing and I didn't know when a fall was about to happen. I just sat calmly and enjoyed the wind and shift in direction. Once in a while I’d get butterflies, and I always slammed into the person next to me on a quick turn because I didn’t know to brace myself, but in all it was significantly less intense without experiencing it visually.

I WAS however more ill when the ride stopped than I had ever before experienced. Once the ride came to a halt it felt as though my head went through every turn in fast forward. Like it had to quickly catch up to what my body had just gone through until it came to the end of the ride and all was calm again. It was the closest I've ever come to being physically ill from a roller coaster in my life.

But it didn't matter; I was on a new quest. I rode every ride today with my eyes closed determined to turn this from a curiosity derived experiment into a life changing lesson.
(As I do with most things)

It wasn't until I rode my favorite and most feared ride that I learned what that lesson was.

The Rocket (re-entry style) makes me crap my pants. I can NOT handle it. It is the only one that TRULY scares me. So, of course I have to go on it. But every time I get to the top and I look out and see the cows in the field (they're really far away) I change my mind and want to get off. That is when I usually turn into a giant baby, cry for my mommy and suck my thumb. "I've changed my mind" I yell. The gracious conductor says, "I'm so sorry ma'am, let me get you down from there" and then that sneaky little devil drops me from the sky like a sack of potatoes.

TODAY however, was a completely different experience. I sat on the ride with my eyes closed and would you believe it, I had no idea how high I was. I didn't see any cows, I didn't change my mind, and I didn't even need my mommy. I did feel the drop but it was brief and mostly windy. Not nearly the death defying plummet to Earth that it usually is.

And that's when I learned the moral of my experience.

While riding each coaster I felt completely calm inside. I listened to my body as it told me how to feel. It told me to be calm, adjust to the sudden change of direction, and enjoy the wind whipping my hair. It was only by listening to people around me that I got any clue I should be scared. The woman behind me yelling, "no, no, no, oh God NO!!!" made me wonder why I wasn't scared. The whimpering in the seat next to me made me curious about what was upsetting her so much. And the screams from the front made me think that I was lucky to be missing such a traumatic experience.

I think that daily we all take clues about how to face our lives based solely on how others think we should. "Savannah, aren't you scared to move so far away?" Crap, I wasn't until you said something. Now I’m terrified because you think I should be.

While on the Rocket I learned how to face my fears, not blind to the adventure, but blind to the fear. With my eyes closed I wasn't afraid of the task (*task being drop to the ground like dead weight) placed before me. I just sat in my seat and did what I was supposed to.
And so that is what I will do now. My eyes are blind to the people who would make me believe I must be afraid of my life and what I do with it. I have not felt fear on my own, and I will not start because someone says I should

So there…

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Man Can Drown In a Teacup

I heard this today and it struck a cord with me.

I couldnt help but think how absolutely true it is...
Some people live their lives in a teacup. Small, unthreatening and fragile. They stay with what they know, never push the boundaries of their reality, and keep things simple. And yet they still manage to get their head under water and drown. I'm absolutely not disparaging anyone for having a simple life, sometimes I wish I could. I'm only baffled by their ability to become completely consumed by the obstacles that get thrown at them and their inability to rise above. But enough about obscure other people that I have no right to talk about in the first place.
Let's talk about me...
I try to have a HUGE life. I live in an ocean of a life and I am riding the waves. I have always met adversity and trial head on with an invincible attitude and an optimistic view of the outcome. I revel in tribulation and scoff at the mundane. In the ocean of my life I am swimming at times, surfing most often, and grabbing a lifeboat when I need help, but I never let my head sink below water. I don’t say all of this to brag, it’s not really my style… well that may be a lie… but the truth is that I often wonder how I became this person. How and when did I make the decision never to drown in a teacup? It was my choice. I could easily do it. Many people do. But what makes one person choose to rise to their challenges and another suffocate under them? I’m not sure, but I am glad I made the right choice.

Surfs Up

Monday, August 9, 2010

Whose Idea Was This?!!!

I woke up at 3:30 AM on a Saturday, picked up Rain and Lisa, then drove to Provo. Once there we met up with Ruth and picked up our numbers. Then we all hopped on a little yellow school bus to take a 20 minute drive up the canyon. After a visit or two to the port-o-potties we waited around for an hour and a half in the cold. Then when it finally reached 7am some man yelled at US for holding up the race!!!! So now that I have been awake for FOUR hours after only sleeping for three, I am now expected to run 13.1 miles?
Again I ask whose idea was this??? This is in the school bus on our way up the canyon... Ruth's first race, she is VERY excited!! My 4th... I'm less excited...
Lisa looks so cold and sleepy. I feel like this picture captured the essence of our morning. And do you see how dark it was? That's right this picture is taken after we had already accomplished many things that morning. We were working very hard and the sun didn't even have the decency to come up. Rain is always quite entertaining when she is tired. If I'm ever feeling blue I should just wake her up at 3am and make her try to function.

I was SO glad to get to have this experience with Ruth. She and I have been so close since the day she was born (I'm sure of it). When we were younger she would always try to get me to go running with her. She would run for miles and miles and I would run for minutes and give up. I just didn't see the point. When I became a runner she was shocked. I'm really happy that we could do this race together.
She beat me though...

This was a nice race that was easy and fun, but it didn't start that way. You always hear how races (sporting games and all athletic event) are won and lost in your mind. It is very, very true! I went through an emotional ordeal during this race. I started in a foul mood which continued to increase as I ran. I was playing mind games with myself. I told myself everything negative that was bothering me. I had a Forest Gump moment where I thought I just might stop running altogether because I didn't see the point anymore. Then I focused on the fact that everyone in my group was way ahead of me (something I knew was going to happen going into this). I stewed in my negativity for about 3 miles focusing on all of the aspects of the run and my life that were upsetting me. Finally I told myself that this race was mind over matter. I wasn't tired, I wasn’t breathing hard, and I didn't even have any sore muscles yet so what was my problem?

Nothing but a bad attitude!

Luckily for me, my mind is very strong and I work to maintain control of my thoughts and feelings at all times. First I took inventory of what was making me so negative. Once I realized what it was I let it all go. Just dropped it right there on the road and kept on running. I felt a little lighter after that. Then I made myself be in the here and now. I realized I was letting my mind and legs become bogged down by things that did not apply to running a race. I pictured the world and imagined everything getting smaller and smaller until I was finally focused on myself and the point I was at on the road at that very time. Then I closed my eyes.

They say when you lose a sense all of your other senses become heightened. Fact.

As I ran with my eyes closed (for about 20 minutes, peaking periodically only to make sure I was still on the road) I became so aware of myself and my running. I wish I could have run the whole thing with my eyes closed. I was able to feel the road, pace myself with what felt right rather than how fast I was passing things, and hear the music in my ears and my soul. It was the most liberating thing I had ever done. I felt amazing!!

After once again being in tune with myself and feeling like Savannah, I was so excited to be running. I was tearing up a little while I ran (which is another valuable lesson learned. Don't cry and run, it's awkward) After that I saw the 4 mile marker and I had a perfectly lovely 9 mile run.

That looks like a group of winners to me. Rain came in 1st with a whopping 1:47 time. That is amazing!!! Then Lisa and Ruth and I, as the slow old woman, picked up the rear with a pathetic 2:25. That's ok though, I had a blast!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Yard Sale!!

Lara is expressing my joy at selling all my old junk (and some possessions that I struggled to part with) and making money for gas to get me to New York.

This is us crammed in a truck loaded with all my possessions. On the first trip we took in the minivan I had to sit on a table propped up on its side with my feet up on the middle console. I know you can't picture it but when I got out of the van after a half an hour car ride my butt and left leg were completely numb. Moving sucks!!!

A pic of Lara that I took over my head.

So when I left my house there was an entertainment center nestled between these two couches. When I arrived at Lara's house it was no longer there. Did I drive through the Entertainment Center Bermuda Triangle and not know it? I just hope it didn't cause any problems for anyone else, I couldn't find it... anywhere...

We arrived at our yard sale destination in the wee hours of the morning but we had another load to get so I made Rain guard our stuff. This picture was around 6am so she "protected" our things by sleeping on the couches. She looked as if she had been kicked out of her house with no place to go. Either that or some crazy woman

So I've learned a valuable lesson about yard sales. They are an emotional event that needs a good cry afterwards.
I saw so many possessions that I loved tossed aside by yard salers who had no sentimental attachment to my beloved items. There was no way I could keep all of these things and I needed the money for my trip, but seeing other people leave with things I loved was heart breaking!

I put up this sign because I thought it would be fun and might motivate people to spend more money knowing the cause. I don't know how motivational it was but it sure was a conversation starter. I talked to so many people about New York and their experiences there. For the most part people were really supportive and excited for me. However, I was very surprised (although I shouldn't have been) to listen to all of the strangers who felt it was their responsibility to warn me of the perils of NY.
One "helpful" gentleman told me about how he lived there for 13 years and that it was a very difficult and expensive place to live. He then felt he should lecture me about moving there without a job and "what in the world would I do once I got there". You know what, he lived there 13 years and lived to tell the tale, I think I'll be fine.
Another man trying to be "helpful" said that I must have a lot of money if I was going to go there. When I informed him that I did not so I was having a yard sale he felt it was his obligation to lecture me about being responsible and yada yada yada...
Sheesh, strangers sure are nice right?

So anyway, needless to say I left my yard sale much richer than I thought I would but completely down on myself and concerned about whether I was making the right choice or not. Luckily I have amazing friends who actually know me and my capabilities. They reminded me that these well intentioned people have no idea what I’m made of or my ability to make my dreams a reality. I guess in the end I just need to remember that they were well intentioned albeit misguided. As my sister said I am, "a type A, gung ho personality and whatever is thrown at me I throw back 10 times harder”… Thanks Megan

So thank you to the people who love and support me. This is going to be a rough adventure and I only need positive vibes put out into the Universe for my success!