So it's insanely cheesy, but this quote hit me hard in the ole cranium this evening. Sometimes we avoid the truth simply because we...
On Cliches, Skiing, and Drunken Aardvarks
When I was a teen my Great-Uncle Harold took turns taking me and my siblings skiing. Being completely neurotic I was, of course, absolutely terrified. My little sister went first, and when Uncle Harold brought her home he kept praising her to the skies, telling everyone what a great faller she was. And I was all . . . seriously? You're calling biffing it in the snow a skill?
My fears were somewhat eased because I figured, hey, if Jenny falling down impresses the guy, then I'm pretty much golden. Turned out . . . not so much. See, what I didn't realize is that it wasn't the falling down that was so amazing, it was the getting back up. Jenny rocked at that. No matter how hard or how often she fell down, she got up again easily. Me? The first time I slammed into a snow bank, skis splayed out around me, I simply could NOT get back up again. At all. Uncle Harold had to haul me up every single time and it was humiliating, often painful, and more than once he ended up slamming down next to me because back then I was less coordinated than a drunken aardvark.
Still am. I think I named one of my daughter's Grace because deep down I desperately hope the clumsy gene will skip a generation or two. If not . . . yeah, sorry girls. You get it from me. Your Dad's a freakin' ballerina compared to your mum.
Anyway, the whole falling down and staying down thing has kind of been a theme for the last couple decades of my life. I'm a quitter by nature. If it's hard, I quit. If things don't go as planned? I quit. And this is the part where I'm supposed to say something really inspiring about how I learned that it's always worth the effort to get back up again, and that quitting is the only real failure, blah blah blah.
But I'm not going to say that. Because it's true and everyone KNOWS that it's true, so I don't have to.
Instead, I'm going to say something else that you already know. It's not enough to know. It's fun to know. It's self-satisfying to know. There's a certain smugness you can wrap yourself up in when you know stuff (especially if others DON'T). But it's useless. Absolutely useless. Until you ACT.
And that's the theme of my life right now. Action. Doing. Living. Trying. And those are hard, hard things for a gal like me who creates worlds inside her head. Because it's possible to use your imagination to trick yourself into thinking you're living your life. And I'm done with that (until I forget all this and then have this epiphany all over again). Just because I'm a writer doesn't mean my real life has to be make believe.
So I'm leaving the house more. I'm writing more. I ate goat cheese the other day, and asparagus, and all kinds of other foods I've spent my life assuming I dislike (they were all yummy, every single one).
VanderVision Tip of the Day: Get up! Live! Try! Fail! Get up again and fail some more! Because that is what life IS. Trial and error, and mostly error. If you're not making mistakes, then you're living inside your head too much, and however powerful your imagination, that is a small, small place, and don't fool yourself into thinking differently.
And try the goat cheese. Seriously. It's good.
About author: Kimberly VanderHorst
Kimberly Vanderhorst wrote her first book when she was seven (it was totally awesome, but the world isn't ready for it yet), and her next when she was twenty-seven. When asked to account for the intervening decades, she likes to suggest the possibility of alien abduction with as straight a face as possible.