Monday, April 27, 2009

Things I fear

I have many fears, and most are illogical. Water, heights, and speed are the three major ones I have been fighting most of my life.

Water is my nemesis. It is my oldest and strongest fear, one which had been reinforced as an adult. When I was very young I took swimming lessons and failed 'yellow' because I refused to put my head under water. I was terrified of not being able to breath, and even splashing water on my face resulted in gasping fear. I later made it past 'red', but have always been a very weak swimmer, and to this day am afraid of swimming without holding my head up and out of the water. I still need to hold my nose when I jump in. After a bad scare a few years ago, I was afraid of even venturing into water past my shoulders.

Heights/high speed:
This is a childhood fear. When I was little my sisters and I used to go to a park near our house, and there was a twirling swing. Being the youngest and smallest, when my sister used to spin us around, she held my swing because it was the lightest and easiest with which to run in circles. When she released me, my swing would suddenly soar up higher than all the others until I could almost touch tree branches. In my little imagination I saw my swing breaking and me soaring across the park to my death. It terrified me. Eventually I started refusing to go in twirly swings, and never could enjoy normal swings without that twinge of fear and picture of the chain breaking and me sailing to my death.

The breakdown:
I was fine with avoiding these things until I went to Southeast Asia. While there I REALLY wanted to see the view from the bell tower of a church, however, that would involve climbing up a rope to the roof (no guard rails). The rope climbing was fun because it was in the tower, but once up there I was, literally, on the roof. Scary? YES. But the view was amazing, and I felt like a superhero once my shaky legs were on solid ground again. That was the point in time when I decided to overcome my fear of heights, a little bit at a time. From that I went climbing with Chris in Korea and even jumped on the glass floor of the CN Tower. After every one of these major accomplishments I felt amazing!

My fear of water was enhanced while traveling in the Philippines, and I decided that I could not let it cripple me or I would never enjoy water again. I forced myself to swim with a life jacket while in Malaysia (the water was dead calm). I braved choppy water in Europe (with the help of my friend Allieren and an inflated bed). I decided to face my fear head on. Chris and I decided to go on holiday in Vietnam, and while there we took an open water SCUBA course. I panicked while we practiced in the pool (when you have to go under the water and learn how to breath with the mask), but kept trying. I found that every time I had to go from the surface to underwater, I would freak out inside and have to just allow myself to panic-breath while I held myself face-down. Eventually my breathing would slow down and I would dive. Soon I started to really enjoy myself! Learning to dive showed me that I CAN enjoy being under water. So I decided to boogey-board. I had one paralyzing moment of complete and utter fear when I was under, breathed in some salt water and couldn't find the bottom with my feet, but after crying and shaking for a little bit once I found the surface (which was after the wave had passed) I went back in and enjoyed myself!

Now, I would say that, although I am still wary of heights, as long as I'm on the ground or in a building (no skydiving for me yet!), I'm not afraid. I can finally thoroughly enjoy myself in high-up places. I am still very cautious of choppy water/waves, but I KNOW that if I can calm down, I WILL enjoy myself and even forget my fear for a little while!

All of this is to say that fears don't have to stick with you. I have learned to love climbing to high places, looking out from the CN tower, SCUBA diving, boogey boarding, swimming, and riding on the back of a motorcycle. Six or seven years ago I would have loved none of those things. I still get scared and panic sometimes, but the feeling of accomplishment I have afterward is my driving force. I feel amazing. I feel strong, brave, and ... well... like a hero.

In closing, check out this video. Chris sent it to me and it reinforces how I feel about my fears.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

my mom

This past weekend was the easter holiday, a time of visiting family and over-eating. This weekend was a little different for my family. Saturday was my dad's birthday, so I invited the weekend-visiting family over for a casual dinner to celebrate. Just before everyone arrived, my mom fell while trying to open the porch sliding door. She was obviously in a lot of pain, especially her hip, but everyone arrived right then, so she asked for some pain killers (an indication that something really was wrong) and endured the pain through the evening. By nighttime she was too weak to go to the hospital, so my dad took her the next day to get x-rays. I decided to stay home and clean up the dishes a bit. At about 9:45 my dad called to tell me that she had broken her hip and was going to be sent to Ottawa for surgery. I made phone calls to tell the visiting family members, Rae, and my parent's church. When I went in to visit (and bring my dad some food) the doctors said she'd have to wait another day (Monday) for surgery. My dad took the day off yesterday, and they took her in at about noon and put screws and a plate in to her hip. She's in recovery now, and will most likely be in the hospital for a few weeks, although we're hoping she can be transferred to Almonte, which will be much closer and convenient. She will have to get physiotherapy, and will be on painkillers for a while yet.

I'll keep this blog updated if anything changes.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

The Credit Crisis for Dummies (no offense)

Alright, I got this from my friend Matt, and as a way of explaining the "credit crisis" it was pretty helpful. Let me know what you think, and if you have anything to either dispute, or add to it!

The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.