Great courage from deep regrets — or Singing about boobs to 1500 people
I very studiously rewrote my goal for the third time with subgroups and highlighting and all those good things on behalf of my lates altMBA assignment. It was by no means a waste of time but the guts of this post are coming from my group’s feedback.
They asked about my fears and the biggest is that I want to write in my voice, but I’m writing for my company. How far can I push it? What are the edges worth protecting? I have discovered that if I must silence my voice and write boring informative posts, I won’t enjoy it. Not to mention, it won’t be effective.
As this altMBA process pushes me to dig deep and break through barriers, I find that it’s digging up some old history. One of the many, and possibly the best, lessons that my divorce taught me is how to turn regrets into courage.
Such a Nice Couple
My ex-husband and I started dating when I was 20 and we got divorced when I was 33. We both changed and grew so much through that time. It’s a wonder any young love survives.
He was more of a home body with occasional weekend warrior tendencies. I had a more intense need for novelty and stimulation. I didn’t have a wandering eye, I just wanted to talk to strangers, learn new things and have a few crazy adventures.
Our two orientations clashed. I had a tape playing in my head about how women are the caretakers of the relationships and the status of the relationship reflects the woman. I got to work stuffing things under the rug. Except for my resentment. That never quite made it under there.
Many years later and for many reasons beyond this, my husband and I parted ways. I felt a deep sense of regret about the complete lack of adventure in my life. I got down to the business of living as fast as possible.
Bust a Boob
There I was, recently divorced and carrying around a massive case of FOMO after a decade of conservative living. I found myself a group of drunk runners who value humor, adventure, camaraderie and beer above all other things. It felt like home. I found sister groups everywhere I traveled and we’d have a running adventure and then come together and sing dirty rugby songs and give each other horrible nicknames. The coolest kids would make up their own lyrics to familiar tunes.
I thought this was great, so after a while I took a stab at a few. I was particularly fond of one I wrote as a parody of Bust a Move, called Bust a Boob. It was silly and fun and used every synonym for breasts that the internet could provide. I screwed up my courage and sung it to my local group. The loved it. I sung it to them on my way to a nearby event that was a prelude for an even bigger event that brought in groups from all of the Americas. They made me promise to sing it at my next stop.
This next stop was not 12 close friends, but 60 people ready to hit the road for the big event. I told the head honcho that I had a song to sing at the end. Then after running and thinking about it, the idea became daunting. It got dark and I thought I would be off the hook. The master of ceremonies reassured me it would be fine and hollered, “Headlamps!”
Now I had a spotlight on me. Or 60 small ones. I had not had nearly enough beers for this. But burning inside me was this deep feeling of pressure. So many years with so few risks taken. I had chosen to suffocate myself and here was an opportunity to do something not everyone could do.
I opened my mouth and started rapping as only a white Jewish girl can.
It went over quite well. I was exhausted and sure I peaked. I had felt the fear and done it anyway!
The next day, a bunch of us were off to Savannah, GA for the main event. 1500 people and a dozen running trails to choose from. I chose poorly. Some assholes thought it would be a good idea to “run” us through ditches full of garbage and needles, under bridges and through homeless camps. I ended up at the front of the pack with about 6 guys because the rest of the pack had been chased off by a homeless person with a machete. He was no doubt pissed off about the stupid horrible trail running through his home.
It turns out when you swim through disgusting sewage together, you bond. It took almost no courage to sing my song for this group of 100. I was high on life for not only surviving but also getting hosed off at the back of the BBQ joint we passed on the way to the end of trail. Aaah, luxury.
I was not the only one high on hose water and I got voluntold to compete in a “talent” competition in front of the full 1500 attendees on a big stage with a microphone and everything.
As the time approached, I thought, “Shit, I’d better have a drink.” And so, I did. I felt nothing except my heart racketing in my chest and my blood pulsing through my body. I tried again. And again. Nothing. It was time to go on stage. With the assistance of massive amounts of adrenaline, I managed to perform and had a good time. We got the competition down to myself and a gorgeous buxom woman showing her ass…ets.
Thankfully for this crowd, they appreciated the creativity and delivery and made it known by chanting my name. If you’ve never had your name chanted by a thousand people, I highly recommend it.
I won my prize of a cheap tiara and blue sash and all the pride in the world. As I ran screaming off the stage to hug my girlfriend, the non-stop flow of adrenaline that had kept me going dropped suddenly. And there was my belly full of tequila just waiting for this vulnerable moment. But that’s a story for another time. Maybe someone who remembers it can tell you.
The Gift of Regrets
Few things in life are pointless or a waste if you pay attention. If you engage. As I grew aware of my regrets, I began to consciously leverage them to build that sense of panic in me. To push me to take chances I wouldn’t have been motivated to do without the decade of quiet.
If I hadn’t had those years of self-repression I can guarantee you I would not have stepped up in front of that crowd and made, what the real world would call, an ass out of myself. (Thank goodness, I don’t live in the real world.)
It is this same burning feeling of regret that is responsible for my participation in whiskey slaps, for taking a group of 100 people across a river with a beer and an inflatable kiddie tube, showering naked with all the other naked people at the Oregon Country Fair, dressing up like a stupid clown way too many times, sticking my feet in a pool in Israel so fish could nibble my feet, chatting up mall cops in Nairobi and even applying for the altMBA.
It is the same treasured regrets that will keep my voice alive in my writing. If my company doesn’t like it, I know exactly where to find the courage to leap to another platform.
The Next Platform
I hadn’t considered leaping to the next platform right away until goaded by my altMBA commenters. I googled how to monetize a blog and it looks like I won’t get to quit my day job any time soon even if I manage to put together a following.
That’s not to say it isn’t worth doing. There’s just a difference between having a deadline and accountability and doing something for the love of it. Usually if I have free time, I’m not continuing to sit behind a screen after a day of sitting behind a screen. I mean when else am I going to do the crazy things I blog about?
For example, today I scuba dived with a tank full of sharks and got fondled by a couple of sturgeon at the Oregon Coast Aquarium. We got a morning lecture from a Hollywood producer who has convinced me that I need to use video at least as part of my platform. Did you know that 80% of the world’s sea stars died a few years ago? No one knows why! Now I’m sitting at the local brewery pre-funking before our catered dinner with slide show about exotic places to dive around the world. I’ve made six new friends in my dive group who are amazing and funny and brave. What a day! How much of this sort of living do I give up to write to the world about living?
That being said, if you commit to the process of learning a new craft, it changes your worldview. That is living in my world.
I do believe I will try on the worldview of a blogger and start learning video through my work blog. I will see what the world looks like from that angle. Since I like to tell stories, it might help me seek out even more adventure from life. For now, publishing on Medium will be a nice place to start, especially with the launch from the altMBA. It will not be hard to tie in my personal blog writing and scheduling in with my professional.
Since I already have a start on Medium — come follow me and clap for me!! Here’s my account.
If you want to follow my professional blog that’s about marketing physical therapy practices including using functional outcomes data, that’s here.
They haven’t fired me yet and I have a story in there about being a drunk Irish pirate…