One of my very favorite rules to live by is this quote by Eleanor Roosevelt:
Do one thing every day that scares you.
Most days, I can easily accomplish this by eating expired Greek yogurt or trying to squeeze into my pre-baby silk cargo pants from 1999. (OMG, remember when we all used to shop at The Limited? Wasn’t that hilarious?) But every once in a while, I suck it up and try my best to do something really truly scary, such as:
• Watching a Kevin James movie without a morphine drip and anti-nausea meds
• Actually closing my eyes when one of my kids says, “Mom, close your eyes!”
• Clicking on a flashing “RUTH BADER GINSBURG NAKE PIX!!!!” link
• Bursting into a PTO meeting with a jug of wine and screaming, “Yo, where da white women ats?!”
• Weighing myself after Pork Night
I’m sure any one of those things would make a lesser person wet their pants and start downing Xanax like candy corn, but not me, sir! No way! For I am a brave, strong woman who was raised on the North Dakota plains! Also, I think I might have some slight brain damage due to the over-use of Benadryl.
But the point is, nothing makes you feel more alive than doing something that makes your stomach hurt and your armpits sweat like Albert Brooks’ in Broadcast News. Which is why I recently did a few even more terrifying things during my day to day life.
The first was appearing on live local television with Liz and Carlotta to promote Listen To Your Mother Austin. I am a well-known cameraphobe, so my friends and family knew this was a big deal for me. In fact, my kind father even suggested that I appear on TV with “a glass of wine in hand, like that Kathie Lee person—-you’d be much better that way.” At least he didn’t suggest I guzzle vodka to “up my personality” like my mom did when I told her I was trying out for Tic-Tac-Dough in 1991.
The interview went perfectly well and my friend Kevin was even nice enough to tell me I was very brave to face my fears—but even more brave to wear horizontal stripes on TV. Thanks, Kevin!
Photo courtesy of the wonderful @c_linnell.
The next nerve racking thing I did was co-produce/direct and emcee the Listen To Your Mother Austin show last Sunday. However, thanks to our incredible cast, the show went flawlessly and was a huge success. More on that later when the videos are up and ready for you all to watch repeatedly.
Finally, the single most frightening thing I’ve ever done in my life happened this morning. For some insane reason (midlife crisis), I decided to change my hair color from my natural-with-highlights-blonde to something more dramatic and cool, which I’ve never, ever done before (midlife crisis). So I bought a $5 box of “Light Auburn” hair color, took a deep breath and slathered it all over my head for 10 minutes (midlife crisis).
The results? Well, let’s just hear some of the rave reviews!
My husband: “Wow! Look at your hair! Do you want to borrow my Nike hat?”
My friend Liz: “Oh, no, Wendi. That’s not a wig is it? Because at least a wig you could take off. That looks like something from the party store. (giggle fit)”
The salon I called in a panic to set up a re-blonding appointment: “Based on your description, Mrs. Aarons, you should plan on being here for most of the morning on Friday.”
My friend Monica: “Hey, maybe you’ll get lucky and it’ll all fall out, right?”
Yes, I’m now a demented Lucy Ricardo. My hair is red and blonde and grey and it looks like I crashed headfirst into a clown. I keep startling myself every time I pass a mirror because I think Carrot Top is chasing me. Oh, man, was that $5 well spent or what?!
But the important thing is not only did I do one thing today that scared me, I did one thing today that scares every man, woman, child and domesticated animal in the greater Austin metropolitan area. Huzzah! See for yourself what my new, foxy red hair looks like:
Okay, that’s obviously not me because I always take the price tags off my top hats. Here’s the real picture:
Questions: Where did that giant ridge come from? Why does it look like amateur tie-dye? Will the salon be able to fix it? How much will the fixing cost? If I cut it off, could I sell it to the Sesame Street Workshop as raw Muppet material? Is my mother now freaking out that it’ll look this way at their 50th Anniversary party this summer? Why is it four shades darker in the front? And what the f&*kity f*&k was I thinking?!
Answers: I DON’T KNOW I DON’T KNOW I DON’T KNOW I DON’T KNOW.
What I do know is that the next time I decide to do something scary, it’ll probably be something that I put a hell of a lot more thought into.
And it probably won’t come in a $5 box, either.
Update: Liz took that hair picture, so please read her very wonderful comment below. And I just learned that the hair color supposedly goes away after “28 shampoos.” So I took a shower and washed it four times. I think I’ll be showering a lot.