Today my roommate treated me to lunch at Gorecki, since I have but 2 lowly flex points left. Upon our arrival we were greeted by a friendly man in a hot dog cart with a big red umbrella on top that read, "Chicago-Style Hot Dogs!" I was a bit skeptical at first... anything that claims to be Chicago-style but is actually in some place that is not Chicago (aka--Minnesota) will probably be a poor representation of what Chicago-style really is. Nevertheless, I was still intrigued and slightly excited, and approached the man to receive a dog.
My Dad has been trying to get me to eat a Chicago-style hot dog for forever. Even though I grew up with plenty of opportunities to have one in the NW suburbs... I was always a plain Jane kind of girl. Plain dogs... plain beefs... plain burgers... plain pizzas. Plain, plain, plain. Every time I've gone with my Dad to get some dogs I've always gotten a plain one, and he's always given me crap for it.
Needless to say, today, I leaped out of the box in which I have been confined for so long. I grabbed a dog in a poppy seed bun and I put a pickle slice in there, two juicy red tomatoes, bright green relish, onions, and even a pepper (not two peppers... I didn't know if I'd actually like the pepper... but I wanted to try it anyway). I wasn't very generous with my toppings, but I tried them! And let me tell you... after that first glorious bite... all of the colors in that cafeteria seemed so much more vibrant! I felt so alive! And it tasted so wonderful! I wondered to myself how I could have gone so long without ever trying this. Oh, how my life could have been changed!
So naturally it got me thinking... which is something I do too much, I think. What else have I been missing out on just from being too afraid to try it? In what ways can I leap out of my box and really experience life as it calls to me?? What's stopping me?
Why don't I take that risk and start tackling that JVC application? Why don't I ask that boy to that dance? Why don't I go to the bars for country swing dancing? Why don't I introduce myself to more people... go to more on campus events... sit with more strangers at lunch who are sitting alone? Why don't I strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to me on the train/plane in stead of just putting my iPod into my ears? Why don't I ever really share anything about myself with friends... whether they're new friends or old friends? Why do I stick with the elliptical when I work out? Why haven't I tried that weight room? Why haven't I signed up for the Snowflake Shuffle? What is it, exactly, that I have to lose?
If today was my last day here on earth... would I be ready for it? Would I be able to die in peace knowing that I took the bull by the balls in life? Would I be proud of the fact that the reason I haven't experienced life in all it's glory is because I'm afraid of the outcome? I'm afraid of rejection... I'm afraid of my future... I'm afraid of looking like an idiot... I'm afraid that people won't like me... I'm afraid that I won't fit in... I'm afraid that when I get too close, my friends will leave me... I'm afraid of being flat out noticed by anyone. I've lived so much of my life just hiding in a corner... trying to blend into a wall. I shake off compliments if they are sincere, I put up a wall when I have to get close to someone, I try to give people reasons to not like me... so then I won't need to take any risks and I won't ever be disappointed or rejected. And that boy... you know, I'm at a point where the crush was fun, but now it's kind of like... well, you're either gonna shit or get off the pot. I'm either going to do something about it... or I'm going to keep waiting until someone else does something about it. But I'm just so darn afraid. Fear is really powerful. But fear is nothing. Fear is just this imaginary thing that has no real weight because it's not something that can be proven to be true.
The thing is that hiding behind all of these walls I've been so carefully building up isn't protecting me from anything. It isn't protecting me from heartbreak, rejection, sadness, or disappointment. Those things happen regardless of whether or not I do anything to bring about said feelings. So if I don't do anything and those feelings still happen... what's stopping me from doing something? What do I have to lose? The only thing the wall is creating for me is a sense of emptiness and that my life is passing by un-lived. The feeling of emptiness is worse than any kind of heartache. Emptiness happens when I'm not being true to myself... when I'm not letting my colors shine... when I'm not taking risks and trying new things and experiencing life for all it's worth.
So. I could ask the boy to the dance and he could either say yes or no, but at least I'll have asked. I could sign up for the Snowflake Shuffle and I could either finish it running or finish it walking, but at least I'll have signed up for it. I could try out the weight room and I could walk out looking like the Terminator or I could roll out because my legs won't work anymore, even if I don't do just as well as everyone else... and at least I got a start on it, and there's hope for improvement. I could go out to the bars and go dancing and I could either really love it, or really hate it, but at least I tried it.
I could have had a plain dog... but I tried the one with everything on it, and if I liked it I liked it... and if I didn't, I could have thrown it away. But I liked it. I wouldn't have known I liked it if I didn't try it. Perhaps the moral of the story is that if an opportunity presents itself... you really just have to seize it... because what wouldn't happen as a result of you not trying it at all is the real tragedy.