What makes me "brave"?
Thursday, December 06, 2012
I just want to climb. All the time. I wish I was climbing now.
I have officially registered for the climbing competition at my gym. Funny thing is, of the people I climb with, I'm the only one.
I don't think of myself as brave. Yes, I spend a lot of time trying new things, but to me, that's not bravery. Trying something new doesn't really scare me, and bravery is standing up and facing your fears. Public speaking doesn't scare me (I LOVE to be the centre of attention). Signing up for this competition was -- for me -- really just a matter of being invited and encouraged to (by an almost complete stranger, might I add), understanding what was involved, and then doing it. Really, the only thing that makes me nervous is the idea that I'd sign up and then potentially not complete a single problem. Then I'd be embarrassed by being so bad!
Heights frighten me. Yes, by climbing I am facing that fear... but I want to conquer it, so I do so. Spiders frighten me (you have NO idea how hard it was when my sister moved out and I lost my official spider-killer: my cat isn't the same... she just tortures them until my compassion overcomes my fear). Competing? Hey, I go in with a "I'm probably going to stink!" attitude, and then I know no matter how well I do, it'll be better than I'm anticipating!
So I really don't get why people keep saying "I'm too afraid to do the competition." Why? It's not like you're competing with anyone else (unless you're in the money-spots... then, ok... if I could potentially win money, then I might be nervous, but I am distinctly missing the anti-gravity field that I've witnessed around, so winning? Not an option). I have a ton of people promising to come out and watch me... people who regularly complete the problems that I'm merely working on. So why won't they compete? Why are they not comfortable with competing?
For years I had little to not faith in my physical capabilities: sure, give me an academic task and I would complete it without even considering if it was "too much", but give me a physical feat and I'd likely say "Impossible!" before even trying. Now I approach them both much the same: operating under the assumption that I can until proved otherwise. I am aware that that kind of confidence is rare.
But I remain baffled: what's so scary about trying something new? Why does my drive to do anything but stagnate lead to people regularly telling me I'm brave?