Bravery & Bridges

Once, not too many years ago, I was sitting on a bridge in New Zealand having my lower legs tied together. I decided that no visit to Queenstown could go without leaping off of the Kawarau Bridge, and paid to leap 43 meters into a river. Clearly, I was out of my damn mind.

My memory of this day is so vivid. I remember what the air felt like, what the sky looked like, what I was wearing, what music was playing. The man who tied my legs was named Sully, and he was a Brit with green eyes and glasses. And I was silent. I was shaking as he wrapped that towel around my shins, and then cinched a canvas strap around my feet. I looked down at this (handsome. Stupidly handsome.) man, who was singing along to the Metallica song blaring through the loudspeakers as he tied my legs together.

“If I don’t jump, Sully, will you push me?” 

He looked up, as he was kneeling at my feet. He pushed his glasses up his nose and said: “Nope, girl. It’s against AJ Hackett policy. We believe that you have the power in you to leap – but you have to be brave enough to take that first step.”

I did leap. I screamed the whole way down, but I jumped. 

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This past week, I have been thinking about that leap. How much courage we hold within us, and, specifically, how much courage I have. I have spent a lot of my life afraid, scared to move or point in a direction. Lately, I’ve been trying for direction in my life. I have a pile of goals that require movement, that require bravery – and lately, I’ve been acting like a big old cowardly lion, holding my tail for fear. 

No more. I can’t wait anymore. My soul can’t stay in this holding pattern. I need to free myself from my fear and leap off this proverbial bridge. So I’m writing it down. I want to lose weight. I want to find my way to peace, I want to silence this inner screaming child howling for peace. I want to be HAPPY, dammit. And not just “Oh, look, a new X-Men movie!” happy. Enough happy that I never need to search for it again. Dear Sugar would say that I need to be braver than all of it – she’s written that I need to be brave enough to break my own heart. 

Today, I don’t feel brave. To be perfectly honest, I feel like a big, fat, miserable failure. As of right now, though – I’m starting with leaping again. Sully was right – I do have the courage. I just need to find it. 

Maybe this time I need to jump out of a plane instead. 

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Monsters, Aliens, and me

Last weekend was the Calgary Comic Expo. I bought my tickets in November, and proceeded to get RIDICULOUSLY excited the closer it came, and with almost every guest announcement. Like, giddy excited, complete with GEEKGASM posts on my Facebook (they brought a huge chunk of Middle Earth this year. I’m a Tolkien-ite. And if that’s not a fandom, I’m starting my own.)

Comic expos are a new thing for me. In fact, this whole uber-geek thing that I have built over the last year is pretty new. I’ve always been into film, and was introduced to Star Wars, Batman and Indiana Jones at a young age. But the Firefly thing, the superheroes (and preferences – Marvel over DC, but Batman forever!), the comics, the zombies, and science… this is pretty new. My friend bought me a ticket for my 30th birthday – Nathan Fillion (see above Firefly. And Castle. Oh, and Dr. Horrible’s Sing-along Blog.) was going. I was instantly hooked. Here was a population of people who shamelessly loved, and embraced their inner geek. I bought tickets for the Edmonton Expo soon after my initial experience.

Edmonton was different for one reason – Ron Perlman was attending. Ever heard of Mr. Perlman? Go IMDB him if not. He’s astounding. He plays Hellboy (and Clay Morrow in Sons of Anarchy), and to say that I fangirled during his panel in Edmonton is an understatement. I wept. Here he was, this towering, growling man who always tackles these complex, tortured souls – talking about the beauty of writing, and how his production company is based on beautiful writing. What?! My main reason for loving Mr. Perlman, however, is that I feel connected to him. He has described himself as “monstrous”. That’s why most of his roles he is hidden behind make-up, and huge prosthetics – he always felt too ugly, too hideous to show himself.

I know that feeling. Not that I need to hide my face, or my body, even though I am rather shy about the latter. I hide so much of myself. I hide the parts that I don’t want people to see, I hide the weakness, I hide the tears, I hide the writer. I hid the geek. I never felt worthy enough to see. This, my friends, is a battle that I have been fighting for most of the last year. I don’t want to hide anymore. Even if my parts are monstrous (which they AREN’T. I think I’m a lovely human being, most days.) I have been hiding parts of myself since I was 14 – I can ever remember the date that I stopped showing my true self to people. There are few – very few, in fact – that have seen all of me. I am ashamed of this. I understand what Mr. Perlman means when he says that he was too much of a monster. I am also trying to follow in his footsteps of showing his true self.

This past weekend’s highlight was Ms. Sigourney Weaver, perhaps known best as Lt. Ellen Ripley. Or as the first female lead character in a science fiction movie who saved her own ass, as well as many of the people around her – one of the baddest bitches in film, portrayed as both a virgin and a mother figure. Powerful, unstoppable, passionate – Ms. Weaver is BADASS. Also, hilarious (please see GhostBusters for further proof). I love Ms. Weaver. And, last Sunday night, I burst into fangirl tears to see her. Beautiful. Fierce. Able to conquer aliens, ghosts, and gorillas. She has inspired me since she was looking for the Gatekeeper. She paved the way in science fiction for women – there was never anyone really like Ripley before her.

The reason I bring up both of these human beings, is simply because they inspire me so. I strive to be a badass woman – one capable of taking care of her damn self, and anyone else who needs looking after. I strive to be a person in the light – a soul who doesn’t hide, or, rather, a soul tired of hiding. I think this is where the geek comes in. I can safely look up to these characters, these people who have paved the way as monsters and alien killers. I look up to that because I long to be fierce. I long to stop hiding. And I fight, every single day, to come into the light. To be open, and honest. To be fierce. To let the parts of me that I deem monstrous out to play.

Especially the geeky parts.