Who the Hell Forgot to Pack My Safety Net?

When I was younger, I was fearless. I would jump head first into things without the fear of failing, not being good enough, or any of the other things that bog the grown up me down.

By the time junior high came around, I was more cautious, but I was still always looking for my next big adventure.

High school did nearly kill the fearless me, but she survived .

College took its best shot at her, but she hung in there.

Hey..lets move to Indiana without any real plan or a back up plan! Yep. I sure did. I made that choice without a moment of hesitation. I had no idea what I was doing, but somehow it all worked out.

Let's go to Chicago for my 25th birthday, alone...meet random strangers at the concert and spend the whole weekend with them. Guilty.

Let's go to California, alone, and again meet random people...and then go back to spend Halloween with them in San Francisco. Yep, that's me.

How about going to a Goth Club in San Francisco befriending 2 filmmakers from Vancouver while in line to get in...and then hanging out with them all night...yeah again no fear just went with it

I could go anywhere and have a great time. I made friends from all over the world. I decided I was going to do something and I just ran with it.

Then that strategy landed me in an abusive relationship. I'll spare you the details. Just know it was bad, but I eventually found the strength to get him out of my life. That six months was the first nail in the coffin. He took every insecurity I had and had me believing they were true. I tried to recover my old sense of adventure after I broke up with him, but every time I tried I failed. About four years ago I decided that this fearless streak just wasn't worth it: I brought out the safety net.

Don't get me wrong, the safety net has never failed me.  It has kept me from falling. It has kept me from getting close to the wrong people. It has kept me out of bad situations. Consider it more of a safety net/security blanket hybrid. Some people have made it past the perimeter (also see: list of people over the age of 10 who are allowed to hug me), but for the *most part* they all have been carefully screened before they were allowed entry.

All decisions were filtered through the safety net until a few months ago. Most decisions still are, but a few slipped through unchecked. Many of these rogue decisions were able to sneak through because of emotions I was feeling after the tornado/accident. I know this is my second chance at life, so why not go for it. I was tired of feeling overwhelmed and lonely (tons of great friends, but I just didn't feel like they were getting what I was going through), and I just ran with a few things. Some didn't work out. Some turned out great. Others, well the jury is still out...and only time will tell.

As I was getting my pedicure today, it randomly (seriously randomly the only thought in my head at the time was not to kick the nice lady in the face as she filed my feet) occurred to me: I am totally running without my safety net in few instances....and it scares me...a lot. It is like the cartoons where Wylie Coyote can run in thin air until he realizes there is nothing beneath him and then he falls. I suddenly realized there is nothing protecting me from "sharp pointy rocks" at the bottom of each respective waterfall. Whether it is a personal choice, a choice I have made with my freelance work, or a new adventure I've started on: I'm on my own, and in at least 2 of the instances, it is out of my hands.

Erika Napoletano a writer I can only hope to be half as successful as (and if you do not read her blog Redhead Writing you should) is always encouraging her readers to listen to our hearts (in all aspects of life) and in one blog tells us why impractical is okay. Even when it ends badly,  you are still better for it in time.  My fear and my safety net have kept me from following this advice 99% of the time. However, I can tell you it is in that 1% of the time where I have actually not felt numb.

I'm not trying to feed you rainbows and butterflies here. I said I didn't feel numb...not that it was always a happy emotion. The few times I have actually been truly happy since our accident have been in impractical moments. That being said there have also been moments of sadness, heartache, frustration, confusion, self loathing and anger.

The thing is, once you have left your safety net behind, there is no going back for it. You are on your own. I'm not sure how I feel about it.


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