June 22, 2011

Defending My Life


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All this talk about theology has gotten me thinking about the principles by which I live. My all time favorite theology is the premise of the movie Defending Your Life. Basically when you die you will be judged based on how well you managed to overcome your fears in life. If you fail you get sent back to Earth to try again. If you pass you "move on."

The recently deceased watch video snippets of their lives, depicting moments when they overcame their fears successfully and moments when they chickened out. They have to defend their poor choices to a judge.

Sometimes, because I'm a little weird, I like to play my video in my head and decide how I think I stack up.

The Bad

Age 3: Made mom wait in long line for Santa and then refused to sit on his lap. FAIL

Age 4: Made mom wait in long line for Santa and then refused to sit on his lap. FAIL

Age 5: Made mom wait in long line for Santa and then refused to sit on his lap. FAIL

Age 7: Made dad wait in long line for Space Mountain and then refused to ride. FAIL

Age 5-13: Pretended to be sick on a regular basis to skip school. Also pretended to miss the bus. Also ditched with Lini Holloway (oh yeah, that's right Lini, I'm calling you out). But, contextually, at

Age 13: Attempted suicide as a result of years of school bullying. Was this giving into fear? Maybe. Did I know any better? I really don't think so. I thought that sounded like a good solution to the problem. Maybe it was almost an example of facing my fear (because, you know, death is pretty much the ultimate scary thing). PASS
Side note: the It Gets Better Project is a wonderful thing but please don't think it only applies to LGBT youths. I was bullied because I was fat, because I was socially awkward, and because there are some really rotten people in this world. Please, please do not ignore the issues your kids are facing in school. Don't think they just need to "toughen up," they need your guidance and your intervention. It's called parenting. (And I don't blame my own parents at all, I'm speaking as a parent myself. My mom & dad were incredible.)
Age 14: At a new school with a brand new start, but I fell in with a bad crowd because I was terrified of being labeled a dork again. I smoked, drank, snuck out of the house, and did everything I thought would make me "cool." FAIL

Age 20: Married a guy I knew wasn't right for me. FAIL

Age 23: While working for Club Med and vacationing at their resort near Guaymas ("Sonora Bay," now closed) I took an excursion to swim with the seals at Seal Island. Let me tell you about my absolute biggest fear in the whole entire world: the ocean. Specifically large animals swimming around me in the ocean. So I got into the water with the rest of the guests on the excursion. It was beautiful, peaceful, calm... then a seal swam by me. After my bowels finished voiding I scurried back onto the boat like a little bitch and spent the rest of the excursion being eaten alive by mosquitoes, while watching the rest of the guests delighting in the majesty of the noble and playful seals. HUGE FAIL

Age 25: Got entangled in a two-year relationship with someone who really sort of grossed me out because I felt sorry for him. FAIL

Age 29: Had a crush on a guy at the grocery store for months but was too afraid to approach him. Now's a good time to introduce my second greatest fear - men. I still, to this day, can barely talk to men sober. I'm like the female version of Raj (from The Big Bang Theory). At any rate my BFF had to ask the grocery guy out for me. He's now my husband. But if it wasn't for Giovanna this would have been a regrettable FAIL.

~Wow~ At this rate I may be headed back to Earth... but wait, we haven't analyzed:

The Good

Age 22: Left the guy who wasn't right for me. Leaving him was disappointing for everyone, including my own family. But I avoided complacency and stayed true to what I knew would lead to a more satisfying life. It made me sad to hurt him but it was the right thing to do. PASS

Age 23: Relocated with my job from Phoenix to Miami with just a car full of crap and a couple of pot-smoking buddies. I'd never been to Miami but I did it anyway. It was a fun year, full of great experiences. I learned what it is like to be a minority (the only gringa for 1,000 miles) and it gave me a whole new perspective on race. PASS

Age 23: While in Miami (and living on South Beach) I regularly took late night walks on the beach by myself. Dangerous? HELL yeah. Magical and enchanting? Oh, so worth it. PASS

Age 24: Packed up again and moved to Alaska because it sounded like fun. Took a road trip back to Phoenix and a month off, during which the millennium new year occurred. Decided on December 30th, 1999, that I wanted to spend New Year's Eve in Vegas with my best friend. Made it happen. Great experience. PASS

Age 27: Flew to Vegas to meet a (male) friend I'd made online who lived in Manhattan. Got a cool new tattoo!

Age 29-30: Took two hunting trips on Prince of Wales Island with my then fiancé (now husband). Let me tell you about Prince of Wales Island. It is the fourth largest island in the United States (2,577 square miles) and has a total population of 6,000.

Check out this map. Let's talk population density:

Craig: 1,195
Klawock: 745
Thorne Bay: 557
Hydaburg: 300
Hollis: 139
Coffman Cove: 199
Naukati: 135
Whale Pass: 58
Kasaan: 39
Point Baker: 35

Are you getting this image? A HUGE mass of land, sparsely populated, and the vast majority of roads are old logging roads in disrepair. We slept in rock quarries in the back of our truck, used a bucket for a toilet, and kicked around on dangerous roads for a week at a time. Once we got a flat tire on the top of a mountain and Jerry couldn't get the jack loose from the truck. There's no "waiting for the next car" to help you in that situation. There's no hiking to the nearest town. There's just "get the f-cking jack loose or we're gonna die out here." Once we killed a deer at dusk. Let me tell you about my third biggest fear - bears. You take a guess at how scared I was standing around as it got darker and darker while my husband gutted that deer and I envisioned the bears closing in around me.

For my husband this isn't scary stuff. I'm from Phoenix. These trips, for me, were a remarkable PASS.

Age 32: On a Friday afternoon I heard that the show The Girls Next Door was going to be filming in town the following week and needed someone to drive them around and stuff. I immediately got on the phone to the Chamber of Commerce and volunteered to do it, THEN told my boss I was taking the week off. E! hired two local production assistants for the week and they hated the other one, so I went from being a manager at a bank on Friday to being a producer's full time bitch on Monday. It was so rad. I drove the camera crew around, frantically chased down signatures from random people in the background, and went with the whole gang over to Prince of Wales Island (where Holly grew up). During the "plane crash" scene I had gone with the rest of the crew on another plane and was waiting in Craig for them when they finally arrived.

PS - They didn't show it but Kendra got SO wasted in Craig and had a meltdown before she agreed to get on the return plane. The "water bottle" in her hand was all booze. Can I get sued for saying that? Cool! That'll teach you to leave me out of the credits. Assholes. PASS

Didn't believe me, did you?
Age 33: While on a business trip to Connecticut I decided I couldn't miss the opportunity to visit Manhattan, alone. Drove from Glastonbury to wherever it was you could catch a train to Manhattan and stayed in a hotel by myself for three or four days. Did as much as I could cram into that time period, including randomly hopping on a train headed for Coney Island when I had no idea how far Coney Island was or even if it was open that day. PASS

Age 35: After relocating to Idaho with my family I immediately joined a mom group and met tons of wonderful people. After a year or so I even started my own mom group to coordinate more activities in my area. Joining these groups was one of the most rewarding choices I've ever made. Instead of sitting at home with my kids I'm out and about, all the time, with tons of nice people doing super fun things. I'm pretty dang shy, so for me this is a terrific PASS.

Should I move on or return to Earth?

I'm living a life I love right now, with few regrets. If I were my judge I would insist on some SCUBA classes (just the thought makes my palms sweaty) but otherwise I think I'm doing pretty doggone good. I still can't really talk to men but I can handle my husband. And, you know, bears can kill me so that's a pretty legitimate fear. I'm fine with bears at a reasonable distance and behind some big metal spikes.

Tell me about your video!     -Kim

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