About how I started doing crap that scares me

I’m a wimp. I grew up afraid of bee stings and coyotes and heights and the dark. I also lived in rural Newfoundland, where most of these things are pretty prevalent.

Rural Newfoundland folks like me are generally named “bay-men.” My father has been hunting and snaring rabbits since he was five years old. He raised and trained a snowy white owl. I, however, just learned how to drive a four-wheeler last week.

I posted this picture on Facebook. You would not believe the dismay expressed by all my friends.

Overall, I was a pretty lousy bay-woman.

I used to be of the mind that if something scares the shit out of you, why put yourself through that stress? Riding that goddamned gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain in Banff nearly killed me. I was in tears, much to the enjoyment of my dear friend Cailin.

But there was a change that occurred, something clicking beneath the surface that never occurred to me until I was on my Moose Network tour and decided I’d go skydiving.

Really, Candice? You’d jump from a freaking airplane with nothing but a parachute and a handsome guide strapped to your back? Need I remind you that being on an airplane makes you plead with God to forgive you for all your wicked sins every time you hit some turbulence?

But I would have done it. If the day were clearer and my bank account fuller, I would have done it.

I did, however, tackle my ridiculous fear of rock-climbing. I’ve had dozens of occasions to try climbing. On a camping trip with my Girl Guides troop back in junior high, I was the only person in the entire group who wouldn’t dare touch that damned wall. But British Columbia seems to have brought out the “bold” in me.

One evening, I went for a hike with a few friends just outside of Vancouver, and watched them all scurry over the cliff-face like little monkeys once they found a good climbing spot. The dude next to us was climbing barefoot. Finally, my adrenaline-junkie friend Lee turned to me and asked, “Would you like to try?”

Yeah. Yeah I would.

And I did. I did it! I was awkward and my knees were bruised for days and the rock wasn’t that high to begin with, but I did it! A German couple stopped to applaud my effort, my friends whooped and cheered below, and I landed safe and sound on the ground with wobbly legs.

It was one of my favourite nights from my entire trip. The sun was setting and people were climbing and sailboats breezed by. Someone lit up a joint and started playing a guitar.

And I climbed a rock.

Dawne and Jen took me to the climbing gym after that, where I scaled intermediate-level walls like a pro. Once I stopped looking down and realizing how far up I had climbed, I was okay. Sorta.

I’m told next I have to learn how to gut a fish.

  • August 12 2011

    Wow! I am totally co-signing what you are saying….it’s so important to step outside our comfort zones and be daring. There is such a feeling of accomplishment and pride. The good news is that is doesn’t have to be something as daring as jumping from planes, it could be anything that you have never done. I will be white water rafting and will learn to fly fish during my trip to Jackson Hole later this month and I can’t wait. It may not be exciting to everyone but it’s the personification of everything that I had convinced myself was meant for someone else. It’s about meeting a brave new me, someone who was always there, but had to be convinced to show up. You should definitely learn how to gut a fish….I haven’t in awhile, but I guess I will have to do the honors after fishing.

    • August 15 2011

      I would love to learn how to fly fish! Any new experience is a good one, in my opinion. Gutting a fish makes me a little nervous, yet I used to have no problem with baiting the hook. :)

  • August 12 2011

    Stick with rock climbing. Fish are gross! :)

  • August 12 2011

    I’m with Dalene-I’ve gut a fish, it’s just pretty gross.

    I’m a big scaredy cat, too! I’m afraid of a long, long list of things. It’s pretty great doing things that I grew up saying “I could never” to.

    • August 15 2011

      Hehe, do you think our parents made us that way? My bro is the same way!

  • August 12 2011

    Looks high enough to me, Candice!
    I’m impressed!
    (I’m also off to hide my fish) ;)

    • August 15 2011

      Definitely a painful fall. ;)

  • August 12 2011

    From my vast age I absolutely promise you that this is exactly what life is about, extending your comfort zone! It might be dying your hair blue; standing up to speak in front of two dozen people; studying something you’ve always wanted to do; travelling solo – or rock climbing. Many congratulations and lots of luck and enjoyment in your future adventures :=) ……oh, and yes, the fish gutting is a bit on the gross side, so is rabbit skinning and pheasant plucking, but maybe you have to try it just to know?

    • August 15 2011

      Good call on the public speaking one…something I’ve only started doing again recently and it STILL terrifies me every time! But I’m so glad to be doing it.

      Rabbit skinning, oh man, think I’ll leave that one to my father! Haha.

  • August 12 2011

    yay rock climbing!

  • August 12 2011

    Every challenge is a success even if you fail, oh and Someone lit up a joint and started playing a guitar. Snort.

    • August 15 2011

      Hahaha hey, NOT my gang of friends! We’re straight-edge. Stay in school.

  • August 13 2011

    Good for you, Candice :) I only went rock climbing once. In a rock gym. And I hated it.

    • August 15 2011

      Hehehe, I’m glad my first experience was an outdoor one…made it easier to do indoors!

  • August 15 2011

    Inspirational. I try to take baby steps to conquer my fears…somedays I do better than others. I HATE heights, I spend time praying when I’m flying. This makes me hate any sort of ride, but especially roller coasters. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve waiting in line FOREVER only to chicken out as it’s my turn. Somehow Josh talked me into going on a roller coaster that looked like if the wind blew too hard it would come tumbling to the ground. I spent the entire 3 minutes screaming my head off and asking God to save me, I would go and be a nun if he wanted.

    I was crying and he never asked me to do that again. So sometimes I think I don’t have to things that I hate to do and are no fun for me (other people can be crazy) but sometimes doing those types of things allows me to get to a better place…which is also great!

  • August 16 2011

    i also grew up afraid of bee stings, heights, and the dark. . . and thunder&lightning like woah. I pretty much bawled during every thunder storm. Ottawa has a lot of thunder storms.
    But, I found being thrust into situations to deal with fears helps. . . a storm came up quick while I was playing soccer, and I had to walk home alone in it. I cried the whole way, and 2 guys on the rival team ended up walking me part of the way, and I was a MESS once I got home…. but I never cried during a storm again :)
    And when my brother thought poking a hornet’s nest with a stick was a great idea, my options were to chase after him as he flailed directly into the woods and off the path and got himself lost, risking stings myself, or to just let my stupid little brother go die somewhere. I got stung 3 times, but was distracted by trying not to lose him, and it actually wasn’t that bad. . .

    Heights, though, still not a huge fan. And the fear of flying seems to get worse the more I fly. You will probably never get me to skydive. Or zipline, for that matter. But good on ya for concurring yer fears ;)

    (I suppose the fear of driving was a big one i got over as well. mostly. i still get nervous if i go too many days without driving. and i’m actually a big wuss about 4 wheelin’ – I rode on the back while steph was driving once, and my hands cramped from white knuckling the rails :P )

  • August 21 2011

    Congrats on conquering your fears, I think I’ll stick with mine for the time being, although I was not so much afraid of Bees, just being stung by them. Rock climbing for me, “get out of town”. Well done Candice!!

  • January 01 2012

    Lovely post – totally made me feel better about my own fears! I’ve grown up being afraid of EVERYTHING – snakes, spiders, heights, the dark, planes, falling… so when I tell people I want to travel they look at me like I’m crazy. Sometimes I feel like I’ll never be a legit traveler because the thought of diving out of or off of ANYTHING terrifies and I have no desire to do a lot of things that most people put on their bucket lists. But fears are meant to be conquered, I think, and I already started by hiking up a Mayan Ruin in Guatemala – a small one but the fall down would have been long and deadly! :)

    • January 04 2012

      Oh man, I know EXACTLY what you mean! Haha. I really wanted to make myself skydive this past summer, but I think it’s something I’ll have to work up to slowly. One day at a time, one day at a time. ;)

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