Fakin' it. I'm becoming a believer in fakin' it. Now, you might be saying to yourself "Where's this going?". Follow me down the rabbit trail... On Thursday I celebrated my 25th birthday and, as I do every year, I spent the day at Disneyland with a couple of good friends ( This year it was Kelley and Evy). As always, it was a blend of nostalgia and pure silly-ness ( see photo).
Now, if you can, peel your eyes away from the photo ( I know you're mesmerized thinking " How does she keep her poses so fresh?" and "Her face looks so casual but her body... is so not?" ).
Evy, Kelley and I were on the prowl for rides when we approached a massive ferris wheel that I'm actually crap-my-pants afraid of. I don't do heights well. Evy told us the story of how she and her husband had been on the wheel once with a little kid who was terrified and appropriately losin' it. Her husband was also freaking out because it's pretty scary, but because the kid was so scared he played it cool. He thought HE shouldn't freak out because it would prevent the kid from calming down.
He had to fake it.
This reminded me of an experience I had this summer. This July I was working at Woodleaf, a Young Life camp for high school kids, as the camp musician. Due to the fact that I was sharing not only my music on stage but also speaking about what it looks like to be transformed by Jesus- I ended up being someone the kids looked up to; especially the girls.
One day I was on my way to rehearse for something when I saw this girl sitting by herself looking a bit sad. I knew I couldn't stop and chat so I smiled and said "Hi",prayed that the Lord would give me an opportunity to love on her, and then kept doing what I was doing. I had basically forgotten about this moment because camp is in constant motion and I'm a Scattered Susan ( just made that term up), then day or two later I decided it was time to challenge myself...
At Woodleaf there's this contraption called " THE TOWER" (see above) and just looking at it makes me nervous. As I mentioned, I'm afraid of heights and this thing is basically a 50' tower of terror that we challenge the kids to climb as a way of building trust and facing fear. I've happily avoided climbing it EVERY year as I hate most things that involve heights and or harnesses. HOWEVER, I decided a short while ago that " Because I'm scared" was no longer a good enough reason to NOT do something so... to the tower I went.
When you climb the tower you are assisted by one person belaying you and coaching you step-by-step. My good friend Carly Costanza was my coach and there were kids watching and climbing on the other sides of the beast. I harnessed up, put my helmet on, and had a wild "Can-do" attitude that made me feel like I was in some crazy anti-depressant or tampon commercial "Taking my life back". Carly turned to me right before I started my ascent and sternly said "Ok, now you can't lose your shit because theres a ton of kids watching and you're a leader to them". "Whaaat? I..PFFFFFshhh... I won't... I mean.. Whaaaaat?" I said, as I knew she was right and that there was a good chance I would lose my shit.
I started the climb and shortly felt that cold-sweat "GET ME DOWN RIGHT NOW" feeling. I kept going thanks to Carly's motivational speech and my 'tude but... I was terrified. I got to a certain point and my legs were shaking, I was short of breath and I honestly was about to tell her to let me down. I got ready to yell out that I was finished when I heard screaming from another climber who was a few steps below me on another side of the structure. I looked around to see what was going on when I realized- it was HER. It was the girl who was alone and sad.
Aw MAAAAAAAAAN. I was THIS close to escaping. You know those moments where you are so aware that God has heard you but in doing so you actually end up having to do something terrifying? Well.. that's where I was at about 40 feet... I still had ten to go and I was absolutely freaking out inside. However, I had to fake it because Jules, the girl screaming just below me, needed to face her fears too and I had the voice to encourage her. I looked at her dead in the eye and said " Jules, we're gonna do this together OK? Its gonna be amazing," when my insides were saying " AHHHH!!! GET ME DOWN! I CAN'T DO THIS! I'M SCARED!!"
It took about 30 minutes but we ended up climbing to the top together one very slow step at a time. I took a step forward then waited for her to follow me. I acted like I was completely confident when in reality I was losing my mind and you know what?
We got to the top. We finished the challenge and it... felt... awesome.
All that's to say, I'm really starting to wonder if conquering fear isn't accomplished internally before we act, but if its done by fakin' the funk until the funk is real. Even Beyonce has a technique where- when she has crazy stage fright- she just pretends she's someone else. That's how Sasha Fierce was born. Internally, Beyonce doesn't feel like tbe BAMF she looks like on stage... she fakes it and in doing so, kills it.
When I look back on my life there have been several moments when "Can't" turned into " Did" and I owe most of it to moving forward in spite of fear (and to God's bizarre sense of humor). Little by little, the fears are being chipped away and oftentimes, the rubber meets the road when I see the purpose as humbling myself to something greater. In the case mentioned above- the greater purpose was encouraging this girl... her victory became more important to me than my comfort and it was so worth it.
I'm not sure if this will reach you at all today or inspire you to face some fears but...I thought it was worth digesting a bit.
Until next time ( which will hopefully be a bit more concise),
Carly Calmes the First