doing what terrifies us
The heatwave in portland continues. It's amazing how quickly we all acclimate to the very temperate climate portland usually provides us...and then how completely defeated we can be by a few days in the high 90s. It's baffling how quickly it zaps the energy and leaves us absolutely drained. Jen and I decided to do what any self respecting Portlander does when it gets hot- run to either the river or the coast. Lucky for us, BnDs place at the coast was open and they have a bit of a renovation going on. A sweet stay at the coast in exchange for labor...just the kind of deal we need right now!! Doesn't hurt that after work hours we get to spend time with our favorite people over dinner, games and movies.
Feels like an entire world away from what we were doing back home, sleeping on the floor and sweating 24/7. We spent days working on the beach house, evenings playing games and enjoying good bottles of wine.
I realized at some point in the week that we have barely seen the ocean since our return to PDX with the bus. When we rounded the corner and saw it again for the first time it impacted both of us. It always does. It's such a large part of who we are...and it goes so far beyond our being water signs. It seems all decisions in life (at least for us) should be made while staring into the ocean. It simply makes everything else feel small, and simple. Puts everything into perspective, and perspective is key.
This was a huge week in the news, both locally and afar. Marijuana becomes legal in Oregon this week. Last week saw the supreme court finally decide that love wins. That marriage can't be regulated based upon who you wish to marry. Couples were finally given the right to make lifelong decisions on their own vs having their rights decided by someone else. Absolutely amazing.
We've been finding ourselves talking a lot lately about doing things that scare us. As if being jobless, starting a new business and finding ourselves without money isn't already (or shouldn't be) one of those things. But we've had a few conversations and opportunities arise recently that we would have immediately said no to in any other year. Things we would have had no interest in before, we somehow find ourselves seriously considering now. The only reason we can figure, is that they actually terrify us. The same thing that would have made us run the other way before is now suddenly a reason to consider doing them.
We've had people requesting that we join them for a podcast recording and to be in front of a camera on video...both of which have always been fears for us. Public speaking has never been easy for either of us. I almost quit my job years ago when they told me I had to get up in front of an audience and speak in front of a few dozen people. Jen almost lost it when friends asked her to marry them in front of family and friends. Somehow I can write this blog knowing that untold numbers of strangers can (or now do) know pretty much everything about us, but the idea of having our voices heard or being recorded on video (even if nobody even sees or hears them) freezes us in our paths. It feels so...exposed.
Our immediate reaction was an absolute no. We looked at each other, knowing we hated the very idea and knowing we would turn it down cold. But then as we discussed it further, it seemed like fear was the worst possible reason to say no to something. To anything. If anything, the fact that it scares us or moves us out of our comfort zone...seems to be exactly the reason we should be saying yes.
Now, we seem to be coming around. In the last few weeks we have started saying yes instead of no. "Lets see what it's like and where it goes" vs "lets run like hell in the opposite direction". It still scares us, but suddenly it feels like that is the best possible reason for saying yes. We'll see what happens, but hopefully if they continue asking we will continue saying just that.
A similar realization happened last week when the world naked bike ride went through portland. It's one of those events that we've always heard of, and occasionally seen a few bikers go by the house before/after the event and appreciated it for its portland-ness. There was never a moment where i considered joining them or wanting to be with them. I don't have the body image confidence to drop my clothes and ride through the city on a bike naked, though i have always respected those who do. This time it was different.
I kind of wished I had a bike to go test myself and see whether I could join them. I figured I would likely walk into the park, enjoy the festivities and then when it came time to get naked i'd just get back on my bike and ride the other direction. But the more i've read about the event, the more I understand it. It's not about exposing yourself, it's actually about being comfortable with yourself. It's about how small and exposed you are on a bike vs the vehicles around you and it's a chance for people to feel comfortable with their own body image in a mass of others who are also trying to be more comfortable with theirs.
In the hours leading up to the event I caught myself wishing we had joined, but still using the "we don't have bikes" excuse to not go make it happen. Later that night we were walking home from dinner with friends and I was so disappointed that we didn't even get to see the event (much less have the confidence to take part). But then we heard the shouts and cheers from nearby division street and went running towards them. The event was far from over and we stood on the sidewalk watching 10 thousand or so bikers, skateboarders, skaters, joggers and walkers go by in all different stages of nudity. "As bare as you dare" is the order of the day.
It was an awesome and beautiful and inspiring event that was somehow magical and very, very portland. Next year (if we are anywhere near portland) we will not miss this event. I may or may not find the confidence to strip down naked among 10k of my peers but i will be among them in some way testing my confidence and saying yes- simply because it terrifies me. And that, right now it seems... is as good a reason as any.