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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Southern Girls Living Fearlessly - Day 5

Today's lesson is very, very important. In fact, getting this one lesson straight can make the difference between successfully living the fearless life and people only showing up to your funeral to see what the mortician dressed you in.

Living fearlessly is NOT, I repeat NOT, the same as living foolishly. In fact, doing foolish things makes it that much harder for us to do fearless things. Embarrassment and loss of self-respect drag us down far worse than fear.

Webster Dictionary defines foolish (adj.) as:
1. greatly deficient in good judgement, common sense, real wisdom; idiotic
2. contrary to all good sense, absurd
3. inviting mockery, scorn, or derision; ridiculous [i.e. people coming to your funeral just to see if it's tacky]

On the other hand, and in stark contrast, WebNet defines fearless (adj.) as:
1. oblivious of dangers or perils or calmly resolute in facing them [Think of our Heloise from Day 4]
2. invulnerable to fear or intimidation

The definition of fearless best describes the southern belle, or at the least Miss Scarlett O'Hara for whom tomorrow is another day. But we ladies of the magnolia-blossomed southland forget to capitalize on these strengths in our day to day lives. Still, we shall not diminish ourselves or our heritage by confusing foolishness with fearlessness.

Foolish is putting dark meat in our chicken salad; fearless is adding a touch of honey and lime. Foolish is wearing a necklace for a bikini top and a shoestring for the bottoms to the Club pool; fearless is going to the gym at 5am so we could wear it if we wanted . . . and look damn good. Foolish is thinking you'll be happier with your husband's best friend; fearless is asking the man you've been married to for 25 years out on a date.

Heloise (Day 4) could have said where she got that chocolate sauce she served the Garden Club members. Certainly the shock and awe would have provided a few wonderful minutes of mirth. But her sheer fearlessness in solving her problem would have been negated. She would have gone from homemaking hero to harlot faster than Billy Ray Cyrus went from Achy Braky Heart to broke.

Now that foolish and fearless have been clarified, it's assignment time:

TODAY'S ASSIGNMENT: Whatever you do, do not write any of this down. Leave no evidence. This is between you and you conscience. Find a comfortable chair, sit down, lean back, and close your eyes. When the kids come running through the den hollerin', "Whatcha' doin'? Why're you sleepin'?" tell them, "Y'all run on outside, now. Mama's just restin' her eyes."

Okay, get very, very relaxed. Eyes still closed. Think of the most foolish thing you have recently done. Relive the event. Picture yourself going through the motions all over again. Let the angst build up. Feel your chest tighten. Admit to yourself that you don't want to feel this way anymore.

Next, visualize what you could have done differently. How could you have behaved fearlessly instead of foolishly? Did you get caught gossiping? Maybe you could have refuted the gory details instead of wallowing in them. Did you have your yard service prune your neighbor's crepe myrtles? Perhaps the more fearless act would be to find the beauty in wild growth, or at the minimum, talk to the neighbor.

Finally, draw an imaginary bubble in the air with your hands and breath into it. You're filling the bubble with foolishness. Let it go. Move on to the fearless life.

When you're ready, get up and go finish the dishes. Your kids will be back any minute to see if you're still sleeping.

Tune in for Day 6 - Finding passion.

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