It is so easy to give a “thumbs up” to the quote “Do what you are afraid of.” The most popular of the overused yet under realized current online “positive messages”.
I include myself in the group of individuals who have kicked themselves out of a self-imposed safety zone and stepped into the land of fear.
Do not for a moment confuse this with recklessness.
Fear comes in all forms. Confronting fear does not always include a danger to your personal safety. Speaking in public can be as debilitating for some as the rattlesnakes I face.
Due to the pride I feel, the free education I receive, the friendships I have formed and sense of community that comes from volunteering at the Superstition Mountain Museum, I will not give up simply because the reality of where I will be doing it might be unsettling.
Volunteering in the barn requires me to face my greatest fear as a life-long desert kid. I will see live rattlesnakes on a regular basis.
The quote “Oh someone else will do it.” should actually be what gets hundreds of those easily given “thumbs up” online.
“Someone else” seems to live in a magic land “somewhere” and shows up magically when everyone else decides not to bother or care.
You see, magic individuals moved the barn I stand in piece by piece over to the museum. Each slat of wood numbered so it could be rebuilt exactly as it was before fire destroyed everything around it. The barn holds memories I am now proud to help protect.
Why should I get paid to stand in that amazing old barn for a few hours every Saturday? In an air-conditioned shop, selling trinkets and ice cream and watching Elvis, why should I receive anything when around me are people who don’t and have given so much more?
Because there are rattlesnakes and “someone else” can do it.
Well guess what?
No, there isn’t a line of eager people who can seem to give a few hours of their time. Nope. Too busy. Plenty of excuses. Someone else can.
My most recent encounter with a very aggressive rattler had a profound effect on me physically once it was all over. I don’t want you to think for a moment it didn’t.
Facing your fear is bigger and means so much more than a stupid “thumbs up” from a stranger online.
As evil as I can be at times, being completely alone facing a rattler who has reared back is not anything I would wish upon anyone.
Blessed with a combination of born and raised desert instincts, prior Zoo training and being a Mom, fear stepped into another realm so focus could slide in. Though I was alone, the Museum grounds were not closed, so an unsuspecting person could walk up at any time and I can guarantee they will be wearing flip flops. The rattler was in direct route of me getting help and at the entrance to the barn. My boss was not answering his phone so once the rattler settled back down and started to move on, I made the decision to RUN as fast as I could to get help while still trying to watch the snake to see where it would go into the Blacksmiths area. I am the only one who knows where this loaded weapon is and I have to get help and get back over there before a child finds it.
In steel toe boots I am a blur across the desert.
When all was said and done, I sat in my car to go home and I burst into tears. I am not for a moment going to let you think I am some non-feeling desert robot. I got home and threw up. The reality of what I had dealt with, including a sandal wearing idiot who insisted upon leaning over the wooden Blacksmiths counter to take a picture of a loudly rattling snake before the Fire department could arrive, had set in. This man was really lucky I used my stick to move him back and not knock him up side the head with it.
It took hours for me to feel relatively normal again.
Now after that story, not even complete with all of the details, and knowing this was my third straight week in a row of facing a rattler, I am positive there are plenty of you who would say I have every reason to not go back.
Except I am needed and qualified. And as it turns out I am one of those “someone else” who can be counted on to show up not because she’s getting paid but because she said she would and picked up a few more shifts because no one else did.
“Do what you fear…”
So, what are you afraid of really? Less time in front of the T.V? Less computer time for you to give a “thumbs up”? Weight loss?
Afraid of an ounce of inconvenience? A minute of un comfort?
Are you afraid to sweat?
Or are you afraid I am talking honestly and directly to you and you now feel a need to answer…well don’t. I’m not looking for your thumbs up or your why.
I have two shifts this week…you can put money on it I will see at least one rattler.
Remember what the wise man said…there’s nothing to fear…