Someone wise—maybe my cat, or more likely Eleanor Roosevelt—once said to "do one thing every day that scares you."
It really is a great idea. So that's why I'm doing it, right at this very moment. No, no, that one thing that scares me isn't blogging. (But maybe it should be, and then so many of my thoughts and feelings over the last several years wouldn't be splashed all over the Interwebs.)
Here's what I'm doing: I am typing this while sitting on a cushion on my apartment floor.
Why is sitting on my floor scary, you might ask?
I'll tell you why. It seems I have a new roommate.
This past weekend, I was having a rather terrific Saturday. I slept in until almost noon for no reason, other than the fact that I am a GROWNUP, dammit, and I do what I want. I talked to my dad on the phone. I did some laundry, which always leaves me feeling smug and pleased with myself, because that's a perfectly normal reaction to an everyday task that I put off for no reason every week, RIGHT?
My wonderful Saturday continued when I decided to try a new, more advanced yoga routine. I was having so much fun with all the crazy angles and falling down on my mat with side plank variations that I was grinning as I stepped back into downward dog. What a great day! I was thinking—yes, I was actually grinning, thinking positive thoughts while doing yoga on a Saturday, what the hell—and I looked back at my feet.
Right at that moment, a mouse scurried out from my front closet, across the room and into the utility closet.
So I did what any reasonable adult would do in that situation.
I yelped, grabbed my phone off the coffee table, and immediately texted several people. While perched on a stool with my legs in the air, of course. I'm sitting in my sports bra and yoga pants on a stool, sweating, and texting people that I saw a mouse.
Uggh. And I thought I was annoying with all that positive thinking before! Now it was official. WHO AM I?
I got off the stool, because this whole thing was stupid. It's a mouse, Alison! I'm now thinking to myself. Don't be a fucking ... GIRL ... about it.
(GASP. I know we're all shocked by that sexist rhetoric that went through my brain. But: It happened. Dammit, society! This is your fault! Gender! Ok. Moving on.)
So, I got off the stool. And I promptly put on my boots that were sitting by the door, because I was scared to be in my bare feet.
That's right. I was now sweating, grasping my iPhone for dear life, staring at my utility closet in fear—while dressed in a sports bra, yoga pants, and boots. To make the situation more ridiculous, I started chastising my cats.
"Layla! Mufasa! There's a mouse! Go get it!"
Layla was hiding, likely because all my frantic jumping around and perching on a stool freaked her out. I looked at Mufasa.
"Mufasa! THE MOUSE!"
From her perch on the living room chair, she looked at me, blinked, yawned, and stretched out on her back.
Thanks a lot, assholes.
To make a long story short, I called my landlord, and he came over and set up some traps for me. There have been no more mouse sightings as of yet. But I'd be lying if I told you that I haven't been taking giant leaps past the utility closet, or if I pretended I didn't yelp in bed last night because I was convinced the mouse was on my pillow. (It wasn't a mouse. It was my cat's paw.)
Yesterday evening when I was doing yoga I think I was actually holding my breath for the first 15 minutes, looking back every other pose to check for the mouse. What did I think it was doing, hanging out behind me and eating popcorn? And as it turns out, breathing is sort of, you know, important when you're doing yoga. So I cut that shit out and just focused on my yoga.
I was getting a little tired of the nonsense. Specifically: my nonsense.
Because spotting the mouse came at the end of a weird week for me. I was feeling out of sorts for the better part of last week. Insecure. Moody. Anxious. Then I see this mouse, and my first reaction was, well: "EEEK!" and then, heart still pounding, I'm already judging myself. Telling myself I'm not supposed to react in a certain way. Good lord. Of course I was a little freaked. Does anyone anticipate seeing a mouse run across their 2nd floor city apartment in the middle of the afternoon?
What did I think I was supposed to do? Immediately catch the mouse, then release it to the wild, all without feeling at all nervous?
Enough! Let's all give ourselves a break once in awhile, shall we? Because in all seriousness, I think it is a wonderful idea, to do something every day that scares you. It's just that sometimes, that thing is simply recognizing that you're afraid of something in the first place. And after recognizing it, just accepting it. Here goes: I was afraid of a mouse. WHEW. We all feel better now, right? (I hope it's at least somewhat clear that I'm thinking about other aspects of my life than just a mouse at this point.)
So tonight I sat my ass down on this pillow on the floor to write. My butt hurts. But dammit, I am showing that mouse who runs this house. Since I've done this, maybe tomorrow I can do something really amazing. One day at a time.
Of course, I'm directly facing the utility closet. If that mouse comes out, I'm ready. And we're gonna have a chat about this living situation.
This post is part of a little writing experiment inspired by Ray Bradbury, to "conjure the nouns"—read more details here. Or, just wonder why I wrote so much about THE MOUSE.