Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Fear or Cowardice?

The Countdown to Kona has reached less than 48 hours. I still have lots to do. So why am I blogging instead of doing it? Because this is more fun than getting ready.

As I prepare for this wonderful get-away with my dear husband to celebrate our 35th anniversary(which is really December 28, but the cost is prohibitive between Christmas and New Year's), I find a bit of fear, or cowardice, invading my life. I have a lack of courage. I looked up these words to see which really fits me and here's what I found:

Fear (noun:)

1. A feeling of agitation and anxiety caused by the presence or imminence of danger.
2. A state or condition marked by this feeling: living in fear.
3. A feeling of disquiet or apprehension: a fear of looking foolish.
4. Extreme reverence or awe, as toward a supreme power.
5. A reason for dread or apprehension: Being alone is my greatest fear.

Cowardice (noun)

Ignoble lack of courage: chickenhearted, craven, dastardly, faint-hearted, lily-livered, pusillanimous, unmanly. Slang: chicken, gutless, yellow, yellow-bellied. See fear

Courage (noun: )

The state or quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger, fear, or vicissitudes with self-possession, confidence, and resolution; bravery.

I'm not exactly certain which word, fear or cowardice, fits me best. I do not go through life in a state of dread or apprehension, agitation or anxiety. I do like the 4th definition - that of reverence or awe for God.

I really don't like the second word - cowardice. But I fear it describes me better than fear. I think I'm more like this guy, from The Wizard of Oz:

I am really a chicken when it comes to physical challenges. I can face an audience. I can start a new job. I can drive cross country by myself (well, I could when I was younger and didn't fall asleep on my way home from work!) I can take on anybody who has wronged a loved one (as long as it's on the phone or in a letter!) But I am a puddle of pathetic pusillanimity when it comes to anything physically daunting. (See definition #2 under "Fear").

When my younger sister and I were living in the town I mentioned in the previous post, there were a lot of pretty rough kids walking home from school with us. It was a very cold town and these kids loved to make snowballs, which were really more ice than snow. They would hurl them at unsuspecting kids (seemingly especially kids who had just moved there and hadn't been accepted quite yet). I was so afraid of getting hit by one of those ice balls , especially in the face with the possibility of breaking my glasses) that I cowered every day on the way home from school. Enter my courageous, YOUNGER sister, who would fight back with snowballs. She actually chased them off, if I recall correctly.

When I was only 10, we were at one of the 10,000 lakes in Minnesota, cooling off on a hot summer afternoon. I didn't know how to swim, and hit a drop-off. I literally saw the proverbial life before my eyes scenario as I bobbed up and down in that water. My mom, who couldn't swim either, but was taller, came to my rescue. I shudder when I think she could have stepped into a drop-off as well and we would have both been lost. But God spared our lives. He, however, did not give me the courage to face that possibility again. The only D grade I ever reeived in school was in 8th grade swimming - I could not trust the water to hold me up. I could not float, much less swim. I still can't. I've toyed with the idea of taking adult swimming lessons and whipping this giant, but I am too afraid! Or cowardly.

Fast foward to adulthood. I met my future husband. He loved to hike. I hadn't done it much, but wanted to be with him, so would venture off into the hills with him. We did pretty well until he took me on an adventure one day shortly after we were married that was too much, . This particular hike involved a perpendicular (well, it seemed that way to me) ascent. I don't do perpendicular. Ask my brothers and sister if I ever made it up into the haymow, where they were having lots of fun when we were at our grandparents' farms as kids.

DC could tell you the sad tale of how I cried and sat on a rock at that very spot, telling him to go on to the top and come back to get me on the way down. He was pretty shocked, as I recall. I did manage to conquer that hill at a later date, but haven't felt the need to do it again since then.

A few years ago I decided to prove to my kids that I wasn't a total wimp. Don't ask me why I chose this particular method, but I decided to go on this ride at Elitch Gardens one beautiful late summer evening.

The Tower of Doom!

They couldn't believe it, and I still can't either. But I did it and that was enough.

So I know you're wondering "Where in the world is she going with this?" Here's where I'm going. The other night as we were discussing our upcoming trip, sweet DC said he wanted to rent a kayak. He wanted to do that last time, and I managed to put it off long enough to escape. I'm scared to death of getting in the thing, more even than the ride itself. Getting in and out is the worst. Ridiculous, you say? Well, most irrational fears are. But they're still fears.

Then he mentioned maybe going horseback riding. HUH?? Where did that come from? I have never been on a horse (yes, Midlife Mom, it's true!) And I haven't felt deprived one little bit for this missing adventure. Not one bit. I don't think I really want to start now! I really don't.

And he loves to snorkle. I know it's beautiful down there under the water. I have pictures he took with an underwater camera last time to prove it. Last time I had a terrible cold and I could just picture the goggles filling up with mucous! Great excuse ten years ago. I'm thankful I don't have a cold this time going in, but how am I going to get out of this adventure this time?

I really hate to be such a party pooper. But how can I get over all of these fears in two days and be ready to jump in and seize these moments that I don't want to seize?? My idea of a perfect vacation is sitting by the water while he does these things, and reading a good book, going for a walk on the beach, or even in the tropical gardens, going out to eat, and. I know, I know. I am a real wimp. And he really does need me to be more adventurous and quit being such a coward. I know you're wondering how in the world we ever got together! It is really true that opposites attract!

I'll keep you posted!


Karen H. said...

Good Afternoon Dawn,
Well, to let you know, you are not alone in this department. I can't swim either. I never learned and I don't want to learn. I do get in pools, but I stay where I can touch the bottom. LOL. Yes, I'm a big chicken and I'm proud of it. LOL. Rather be a Chicken than a dead Duck. LOL. That's the saying I have always heard. I love to watch horses, and even have been on a horse as long as someone was in front pulling it. LOL. I am just skeered of heights. I have flown before, but I was a big baby. I would do what you said, sit by the water and read and blog. That's what I would do. I've never been to Hawaii, but would love to go, but I know how I would have to get there and it is a long way there, so I don't guess I'll ever make it there. I would love to just go sight seeing and see all the beautiful trees and plants and everything else they have there. I will keep you in my prayers and pray that you will overcome those fears. I know you are excited about going. Take care my friend and have a great evening. May God Bless You and Yours.

Karen H.

Susie said...

Now I could have never gone out that ride, but I could get on a horse or in a kayak. The snorkeling? Not me!
Perhaps you can compromise and do the one that worries you least?
Have a wonderful time no matter what!

Chris said...

Horse riding, not me, snorkling yes. Have a great time.

Chrissie said...

I know how you feel! I've had some scary experiences with water myself, and it's a tough one to get over. May our Lord give your sweet soul rest from your fears as you step forward on your vacation. Hope you have a marvelous time!
God bless you, dear friend!

Nadine said...

I don't think you're a wimp at all. Listen we are all different. I wouldn't do half those things either on vacation. I'm with you on the reading a good book and going somewhere nice to eat. That's how I like to relax. I'm sure it will all work out.

I pray you come to an agreement that would make you both happy. Don't sweat it Dawn and have a great vacation and celebrate your love for one another. Via la differance!

Looney Mom said...

My hubby and I are totally opposite as well. Strange how that happens huh? Well whatever you do, enjoy your special time together!

Angela said...

Dawn, I guess I am a wimp too. I have never been the adventureous type either. It was always good for me to read a good book or take a long walk on the beach.

I can feel your fear. I pray that you will find a middle ground and still enjoy your vacation time together.

May your holiday season be filled with many blessings, family and lots of love!


Kristen said...

I think Dad is just fine with you (fears and all) otherwise he wouldn't have stuck around for 35 years, right? Lots of people have a fear of water. Just enjoy your books or whatever else while he's doing his adventures.

I still can't believe you went on the Tower of Doom. To this day I have to tell people about that when I go to Elitch's. To me, that ride is far worse than a roller coaster, but hey....I think it was pretty cool that you went on it. Was it a moment of temporary insanity, or would you go on it again?

Diane said...


Where did my last comment go? Did I post it on someone else's blog? Won't they be surprised! Or maybe not--they'll just think it's that's unknown blogger making no sense once again!

Too bad it was lost--it was, of course, brilliant! ;)

A quick review:

I shared with you the time I was a Chaperone for Sam's 5th grade class on a 3 day field trip to Wolf Ridge, an environmental camp in the Arrowhead section of Minnesota (on Lake Superior). I was the only Mom Chaperone and found myself awaking on that January Minnesota morning to a blizzard. Our group was scheduled to do the ropes course. We had already climbed walls, spent an afternoon in the wilderness, identified and named all living things, and failed at starting a fire without matches! This day, this blizzardy day, we would do the ropes course 30 feet in the air.

After all the kids raced to the starting ramp and zipped down the last zip line challenge, the Dad Chaperones decided WE should do the ropes course. N'er mind my fear of heights (since going through menopause)--or the gusts of winds that nearly blowed us over on ground.....THEY thought we should do it.

So as not to appear to be the stereotypical whimpy, middleaged woman....I stood in line and watched as they boldly and successfully finished the entire ropes course without a stumble.

Hoping that the Ice Age would arrive before my turn, I had to step up to the platform and climb the ladder and step out onto a wobbly bridge held together by sturdy ropes. My knees weakened and the sweat on my face began to freeze, still, I stepped out onto the swinging base and into the gusts of swirling snow and began my adventure. I couldn't be outperformed by the men. I think it's called.....PEER PRESSURE! You'd think I'd outgrown that by now!

Back to my weakening knees and wobbling footing: As I took each step forward, I literally felt faint. Not because it was hard to breathe through the layer of frost that had now built up under my nose...but because I had been holding my breath since the first step into the line of Chaperones who would be conquering their fears!

I made it half way across the first challenge and soon my self talk turned from "Come on have to do this....the guys all did this....don't be a whimp!" to "WHAT IN THE wORLD ARE YOU DOING? YOU HAVE NOTHING TO PROVE, YOU'VE GIVEN BIRTH THREE TIMES! HAD THESE MEN GIVEN BIRTH ONCE, THEIR CHILD WOULD BE AN ONLY CHILD!!!!"

I immediately turned around and headed back to safety without a thought.

What is my point Dawn? Yes, there's always a point, the adventure for to stay on task!!!!!!

My point is simple: One person's adventure is another one's hazard!

I have read how you have lovingly written about your husband and am convinced.....he will understand your apprehension. He is a shining example of both that you have conquered one of the greatest adventure in life.....a long lasting marriage!

So whether you get on that horse or in that not as the photos! We will want to see those photos!!!!! WE'd love to see your husband enjoying that kayak or atop that horse! And if you decide to give it a try...never fear! Just wear that trusty life-vest (in the kayak of course, not on the horse!) and remind yourself that those trail horses are very trustworthy. They know what they're doing even if the rider doesn't.

Have fun! Have fun! Have fun!

And don't forget your camera! We can't wait to see your Hawaiin photos.


Sherry said...

Tower of Doom?!? My word! That's incredible. I hate those kind of rides...why? fear:) Have a great time!!!

Dawn said...

Diane - you crack me up! Very good adviced mixed in there. And a few good laughs. I can't even fathom doing a ropes course for anybody ever!! And in a blizzard - are you a crazy woman??? But thank the Lord you survived to tell us about it. You're amazing.

Mary said...


I couldn't swim if my life depended on it. I would love to be able to. I would love to go snorkeling. I love the water, but for some reason I just never learned to swim. I too have contemplated taking adult swimming lessons, but, like you, have never been able to talk myself into it. Maybe in 2008, we could tackle it.

I do hope you enjoy your holiday. Horseback riding isn't so bad. If they know you are a beginner, they will give you a gentle horse and you will really enjoy it. Be sure to let me know if you are able to do so.

You're going to have a lot of fun on your trip. Be safe and enjoy!


PEA said...

Dear Dawn, I so understand what you're talking about...I have a great fear of heights and it has stopped me from enjoying a lot of things in life. Sometimes I have dared to try and it's been just as awful as I thought it would be! lol Now I don't force myself to do anything I'm not comfortable with. Your husband's idea of a great time in Hawaii is just not the same as yours and I'm sure he'd understand if you told him you don't want to do some of these things...tell him you'll just watch him! Don't let this fear/anxiety ruin the trip for you!!! xoxo

Linda said...

Oh Dawn - I am so with you on this. Steve is afraid of nothing - absolutely nothing. I - on the other hand - am really good at watching him be afraid of nothing. Even my grandchildren are braver than I. I'll be praying you can get up enough courage to do a couple of those things. I could do the snorkeling. I do love the water.
I've been on a horse exactly once and it wasn't one of my finer moments. But I think maybe the kayaking would be okay. At least he doesn't want to do one of those hellicopter rides. That would do me in I think. Amusement parks are a complete waste of money for me unless you consider the merry-go-round daring!
I'll be praying.

Kathleen Marie said...

One thing about the ocean is that you really don't have to know how to swim. You can of just let the waves float you around. It is so SUPER RELAXING! You will love it. When I was pregnant I would get a little boogie board and just float or just float on my back... The ocean is somehow so healing.

So, don't worry about having to swim, you don't have to. Just let the ocean waves do the work. Get a lawn chair and just relax on the beach. Hugs!

Linds said...

Celebrate your differences, Dawn. Just relax and enjoy the time away, whether you are on the beach or trying something new. We all have our nemesises (if that is a word!) and you don't have to conquer them all for your husband to love you. He does that anyway!! So don't forget the photos!

Barb @ A Chelsea Morning said...

I was going to say exactly what Linds said. Your idea of the perfect vacation is about the same as mine and I'll bet after 35 years, your hubby knows that and will be perfectly fine with it.

I wouldn't climb into a kayak. I love horses but have no desire to ride them. If I could swim, I might snorkel because everyone I know who has done it can't talk enough about how great it is.

Me? I'd be on the beach with a book and Rob would be fine with that.

I hope you two have a wonderful time. Can't wait to see the photos you bring home!

By the way, since you're celebrating it now, Happy Anniversary!

Sharon Lynne said...

I'm probably too're most likely gone...BUT...I like to go snorkling, but it I get nervous about swimming out over my head. So I bought a life vest...the kind that goes around your waist. That way, if I get tired...or well...I just feel more secure when I'm out there.

You could even lie on a raft and stick your face in the water to see the fish.

I have a fear of coming down steep hills on my dirt bike. I've sat up at the top and cried too!!

Husbands are like that