Friday, July 6, 2012

the last book I ever read (Lizz Free or Die, excerpt four)

from Lizz Winstead's Lizz Free or Die: Essays:

I had not yet learned to swim, but I had no concept that this was a problem. Mom never mentioned that if something bad happened to the old rubber tube, I would need to swim. I had no concept that anything bad could happen. Mom’s lap felt like the safest place on earth, and that feeling of safety because the foundation of my fearlessness. Unbeknownst to her, because she never mentioned drowning, tube malfunction, or motorboat decapitation, I didn’t know I was supposed to be scared.

And in a nutshell, that is why I dove into everything headfirst. By some fluke, my folks forgot to ask me the question most crucial to ensuring a lifetime of self- doubt: “What if you fail?” Then as now, I looked at life’s challenges as dares rather than uphill battles, and consequently the results of this glaring parental oversight led to a lifetime of me torturing them with my chronic pluckiness.

Mine was not a noble courage; it was more like courage by omission. This turned me into a Wile E. Coyote of sorts, my roadrunner being the dreams I had. I was like the coyote in that when I wanted something, I just went for it. I chased it as fast as I could without thinking of ramifications. The difference between me and ol’ Wile E. is that when I’m in hot pursuit of my roadrunner and end up off a cliff, as I hover over the chasm, I simply never think to look down, because my parents forgot to tell me to. So instead of plunging into pain and failure, I just run to the other side of the canyon and figure out a new route to reach my goals.

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