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.
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.