Like Julie and Julia, but with fear rather than food. I just finished My Year with Eleanor by Noelle Hancock (thanks to Summer Picnic for the recommendation)…interesting, insightful, entertaining. But most of all, how cool was Eleanor Roosevelt? I mean, seriously…here I am all feminist-mommish, and I almost missed her!
The book was good…not great, but certainly a worthwhile read. It’s one of those “year in the life as I pick something and do it every day” stories (I guess like blogging 1000 cups of coffee, but with some greater purpose). When Noelle was laid off from her job as an entertainment blogger she realized she had led a shallow and sheltered life for a while, and was ready for a change. She was inspired by the Eleanor Roosevelt quote “do one thing everyday that scares you” and set out to do just that. Some of it was simple, like sending back food in a restaurant. Some was more dramatic…sky diving, swimming with sharks, stand up comedy. All of that was entertaining for sure.
But what I found more insightful were her conversations with her therapist (I am not proud, I will take free therapy however it shows up), especially the unproductive role of worry in one’s life, and how it isn’t actually connected to fear. Fear is accompanied by adrenaline…you work through it and it’s over. Worry is a barrier. I really keyed into this, because I worry about the littlest shit. I mean stupid stuff, and I lose some serious sleep over it. For instance, this weekend I heard a small clicking sound whenever I walked around the house. I identified it as in my hip, and while I couldn’t feel it, I was certain I would be facing hip replacement surgery soon. I didn’t go so far as to google “hip clicking sound” but I was only a day away. This morning I realized it was a weird sound from my slipper. You may laugh, but come spend some time in my head, it’s a busy place.
The book reminded me of my no-good companion, worry. And it reminded me of meditation, and how that used to help me. And of friends. Fantastic friends who will show up and take risks with you, and go along for the ride, just to keep you company.
But the part of the book that kept me hooked were the passages about Eleanor Roosevelt. I’ve already added her books to my wish list. She could be my new super hero. Inspiring, for sure.
I don’t think I am about to go out and face down my fears. I am pretty comfortable with the list, and for the most part, my fears don’t keep me from enjoying my life. They include singing, playing on a sports team, high heels, being late, not having a plan, guns, semicolons, the black cat named Laverne that hangs out in our yard, complex math, mayonnaise, fancy dinners, and scary movies (ok, so I am really, really afraid of scary movies). Oh and Michelle Bachmann. I think I am afraid of her. However, those fears are offset by the fact that I am not afraid of heights, needles, hospitals, speed, insects, snakes, fire, falling, pit toilets, germs, flying, clowns, puking in public, crowds, speaking my mind, making mistakes, or someone hurting my children.
Of course, I suspect I am more afraid of myself, than anything else, and perhaps I can work on that.
Just a bit.