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Battling Fear of Speaking Out

Flooded with Thoughts: TS Imelda & TS Writing Fear

Flooded with Fear

Historically, I've been a shy, reserved introvert who sneaked out into smaller, more familiar surroundings. I survived thirty years as a manager at Shell largely as a bundle of nerves, sometimes exposed as stress and a variety of health issues, and other times subdued by drinking or overeating. Now retired and learning introspectively, I'm assessing how my recent revelations may impact my life and my writing.

As many have seen on the news or experienced first hand, Houston got its annual dose of torrential rains that left many houses and cars flooded, and in this instance at least five dead! Many people, including myself, look at the pictures of cars stuck in the flood waters and think, "What idiots! Why would they risk their car and their lives and drive into obviously high waters? For what, a chance to get home earlier or maintain a level of bravado?"

My heart definitely goes out to those inconvenienced or who lost their homes and special belongings to Imelda.

Well, I myself got lured in by my own stupidity this past Thursday and paid a hefty price.

My family and I am fine but my transformational new Mazda Miata (see my summer blog) did not fare so well. Since Thursday it has truly pained me to even talk about the likely demise of my beautiful car, not to mention acknowledge the stupidity and of the situation. My car stalled out after about three blocks, unable to make a deep turn. I pushed it two blocks to dry safety but I fear I was too late to save her. Despite my embarrassment, in accordance with this week's theme of being authentic and vulnerable, I share my five learnings below:

  1. Cars with 5” clearance to the ground should NEVER drive in heavy rains/floods!

  2. I should not have abandoned my cheapness at a time like that. Now, I will likely incur at least $120 towing charge and $1000 deductible and maybe a lot more.

  3. I’m frigin’ retired! I had nowhere to go! I should have crashed high and dry with my Writing Critique Group ladies at my friend’s 16th floor apartment and gorged on their cookies for a few hours!

  4. I should never be in such a rush that I tune out my wife's angelic voice on my shoulder. She always is the voice of reason and caution and, damn it, she is right again!

  5. You'd think after 53 years my ego would be predictable and I’d pause to realize the stupidity of my intended actions before I drive off into a river. NEXT TIME, I pledge!

Note: All feel free to post this list on my Facebook page at the next downpour!

Meanwhile, I've been expanding my introspection through more powerful books I'm reading. I'm concluding a series of three impactful self-help books that are making me pause...

  1. Ask others for help (Ch5): don't be controlling. We all need help sometimes.

  2. Embrace sensitivity (Ch8): don't hide my sensitivity/introversion. Embrace it and protect it.

  3. Speak up (Ch10): know my values and protect my pride. Speak up! The world needs to hear our voices.

  • Brene Brown's book, Daring Greatly, is what I'm reading now. In many ways it seems to build on the other two. In the early chapters it focuses on the stigma of being vulnerable and how we can reach new heights once we give ourselves permission to embrace that vulnerability. I look forward to reading on...

So how do these readings impact my writing specifically? I've pondered this in three areas:

  1. My personal growth- in pursuit of my goal to live unabashedly (see last week's post), these readings give me new perspective on learning and living.

  2. My writing- as a memoirist, I strive to dig deep, to bare my soul in both a therapeutic and inspiring way. These themes definitely help peel a few more layers of the proverbial onion!

  3. My book marketing plan- this is the area I'm most concerned about. As a shy introvert, I'm least comfortable in front of a big room of strangers. Though I made many work presentations in front of crowds, it's one of the things I happily left behind at retirement. So with my book coming out next spring, I've received a lot of advice from other authors suggesting speaking engagements were a critical part of marketing.

So do I EMBRACE INTROVERSION or go BEYOND INTROVERSION? Do I choose to stand tall and embrace my true, introverted self and stay within my comfort zone or, conversely, live boldly and unabashedly and stand in front of crowds to share my message of courage and inspiration. The latter makes me shake but the former seems to leave me wondering...




September 27th is NATIONAL NO EXCUSES DAY!

Friday is National No Excuses Day. What a great opportunity for us introverts to both embrace our own introversion and to break the chains and strive Beyond Introversion. I don't think we can hide behind our introversion but that we should leverage our creativity, loyalty, thoughtfulness, and structure to attack challenges in our excuses!


Or, how I learned to stop worrying and love the stage

by Larry Cornett, Ph.D.

Photo credit:

Keeping with our weekly theme, what a great article on public speaking for introverts. Lots of great, time-tested tips to help us succeed speaking in front of crowds. My favorite is "It’s not about you, and that is a good thing. Once you realize that your story is a gift for the audience, the stress of delivering it reduces."

CLIMBING KILI- Choices, Choices, Choices... (9/18/19)

Climbing Kilimanjaro - Africa's tallest point at 19,341ft - includes a 5-8 day trek through 5 distinct climates (Bushland, Rainforest, Heather, Alpine Desert, and Arctic)

As my daughter, Madolyn, and I contemplate our Kilimanjaro trek, it's time to evaluate options:

Many different routes up and down Kili, each with its own pros/cons.

Choose the Climb- there are six routes up Africa's tallest mountain and several more derivations. We are aiming to narrow our focus based on our primary criteria:

  1. Provides greatest likelihood we will reach the summit.

  2. Offers the most diverse and beautiful scenery including alongside glaciers

  3. Easiest on the body. While there's no true mountain climbing, some trails are steeper than others and can wreak havoc on joints and bones.

  4. Comfortable accommodations on the trail but also in the village before and after.

  5. Cost.

So we've narrowed routes down to two:

Amazing scenery trekking alongside a melting glacier!

  1. Marangu: only trail with cabins (vs. tents) and called "Coca-Cola Trail" for its ease and popularity. Shortest trek (typically 6 days) so costs are lower.

  2. Machame: called the "Whiskey Trail" for its relative challenge, but it's 8 days which helps to acclimatize for the higher altitudes and therefore chances of summiting are best. Treks alongside glaciers and takes different route down so scenery is best.

So leaning toward Machame but seeking input from past Kili trekkers!

The Summit! 40-80% of hikers reach the top, depending on route.

We are also learning more about training for our trek. Acclimatization is KING: getting to the top is most dependent upon how your body may handle the higher altitudes. Hence, longer climbs are better. But older, heavier people theoretically have just as good a chance to summit as younger, fitness buffs.

However, to improve our chances and the condition we may be in when we finish, two training areas seem to be recommended:

Acclimatization is the key! The solution is to go slow to help your body adjust to high altitudes. I don't want either of us to be carted off the mountain!

  1. Cardio: improved overall fitness condition will help for those long days (6-8 days of 4-6hrs of hiking each day) and improve our confidence, which will be critical on the exhausting, high-altitude surge to the top. So walking, running, elliptical are all recommended.

  2. Stairs: while vertical climbing is not part of Kili, some sections can require crawling and some sections appear to be rough on the knees, especially descending from the peak. So StairMaster or building stairs up and down will help in conditioning and knee and bone survival.

As training progresses, tackling these exercises in our hiking boots and with 20lb day packs will also prepare us for the expedition ahead.

For the next couple of months we will be further researching our options in order to book our route and trekking agents, who coordinate the details before and during our trek, by early 2020.

It's all quite surreal at this point. But the research is building excitement and once we book arrangements, we will have 6-7 months to train for the challenge ahead in August.

ASPECTS IN ART: The Traveler (9/4/19)

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