It was just an ordinary Tuesday morning, on my way to 6am class with Mike to lift some heavy shit and generally be a badass. You know, whatevs.
When suddenly, the powers of the universe turned against me and this happened:
*Disclaimer: I did not actually take this photo. But this is very nearly what I saw.
Seriously, out of nowhere. One second, no snow. And the next…
And I turned into a whimpering lameass, just like that.
So ok, here’s the deal: I consider myself a reasonably courageous person. I push to step out of my comfort zone on a regular basis. I don’t hate snow or anything, and I *can* drive in the snow.
But…I am freaking terrified of driving in the snow. TERRIFIED. Like, literally white knuckles on the steering wheel, stiff back, every muscle clenched.
It is my kryptonite, probably because of a few car-losing-control-in-snow-or-ice-holy-shit-we-are-all-going-to-die experiences from way back when. I avoid driving in snowy or–god forbid!–icy weather at all costs, especially when there are hills involved.
My drive to the gym involves going down a very large hill on a highway. I have unabashedly cancelled workouts because of weather due to my crippling fear of driving on this hill in snow or ice.
So you can imagine my terror (yes, terror–go ahead and laugh at me for being a lameass, but it is true) when I got caught in what I can only call a “flash blizzard” en route to my workout.
I literally could not see the road in front of me. I was on a stretch of the highway with a 3+ mile space between exits, and the next exit was, of COURSE, at the bottom of the aforementioned terrifying hill.
I couldn’t turn around. I couldn’t keep going. I COULDN’T EFFING SEE THE ROAD!
I whimpered a little. I may have even sobbed a bit. This was my nightmare, people. It was 5:45 and still dark, and the snow was, like, EVERYWHERE.
I considered my options:
1) Just sit there, stopped on the side of the highway, until it cleared and I could see better. And the trucks came to plow. Or someone came to rescue me. (This option would likely include more sobbing).
2) Keep going. (Let’s face it, this option would likely also include more sobbing.)
I’m proud to say that it only took me about 30 seconds to discard option 1 as completely lame and out of character.
So I sucked it up. I kept going.
I kept going VERY slowly, and driving on the divots in the side of the road–you know, the ones that make that annoying loud noise when you start to veer off the lane–because at least if I could hear that noise, I knew I was going in a straight line.
Of course I had to keep going, because by the time I got to the next exit I would have already done the hardest part–the hill. And once I got down the hill, there was no point in turning around and heading home.
So even as I’m writing this, I feel sort of ridiculous. It all sounds very dramatic. (Of course, if you know me at all by now, you know this is partly just me.) But even for ME, it’s dramatic and definitely so lame.
But we all have our fears that seem absurd and make us feel like total pathetic wimps. This is mine (well, I also have an almost-as-crippling fear of mold, but we can talk about that another day).
Pathetic wimp that I was, I put on my hazards and crawled down that hill at like 10mph. More whimpering occurred, along with some praying, and the full expectation that at any moment I could and most certainly would lose control, slide over the side and pitch down the mountain in my crappy little car.
Real fear? Definitely.
Obviously, I made it and lived to tell the tale. I was only a couple of minutes late for class, and still kinda shaking when I got there. I’m not proud, but against my will, I had to face this kinda ridiculous fear and push past it. Because chances are, if I had known about the “flash blizzard,” I wouldn’t have left my cozy bed.
It’s a good lesson…
But I think there’s more to my little story than just the fear aspect. I really thought about it after, about what it was like sitting on the side of that road, trying to decide what to do, where to go from there.
I didn’t think I could go forward. I couldn’t turn back. I had no one but myself to rely on at that moment, and I had to dig deep, regardless of how silly the fear might have seemed to my rational mind.
At the end of my workout, I left the gym sweaty and feeling badass again. When I walked outside, the sky was perfectly clear as the sun came up. Like the little flash blizzard had never even happened. Son of a bitch.
Even when you think you can’t go forward, turning back isn’t the answer either. Weather the storm; it’ll be worth it.
It’s a pretty sweet metaphor. I’ll let you ruminate.