Have you ever had that moment when in one instant you were so very, very sure of something and in the very next second, the voice in your head is saying, “WTF were you thinking DC?”
Like the time years ago when I was living my dream. I had found a women’s travel outfitter in a magazine, signed up for a backpacking trip (mind you I had NEVER been backpacking), spent a fortune at REI on a new backpack, sleeping bags, etc etc and was on my way to California for the time of my life. As I attempted to heft the loaded pack off the baggage carousel at SFO airport, I started to have doubts. The adrenaline levels were still high so I hoisted that sucker on my back and took a shuttle to a few blocks from my destination in Berkeley. As the shuttle driver dropped my backpack on the sidewalk and I attempted to get it on my back, I had that “What was I thinking?” sinking feeling. I somehow managed to wrestle myself into the super heavy pack and begin trudging up the hill to the meeting spot for the group. Now I really started to worry. I was huffing and puffing and I was still in an urban setting. I had several days ahead of me in the wilderness of California to navigate up hill and down dale with even more weight in the pack (still hadn’t added food yet.)
Fast forward a day or two and I had managed to get to the destination camp site and drop that rascal off and luxuriate in the beauty of the hills, lake, and nature. THIS is what I was thinking. I stifled my inner wimp and got the job done.
I wish I could say I learned my lesson, but this same Cheryl Strayed moment occurred several more times. A couple of years later, I found myself carrying same backpack at 3 a.m. in pitch darkness as I trudged my way up Mt. Whitney. WWIT again rose up in my noggin. As I hit the snowline with no trail visible, the WWIT feeling came on like gangbusters. Summit I did and just like childbirth, the memory of the agony getting to the top was forgotten. This hiking WWIT seemed to occur more frequently as I carried on with my fascination with the wilderness.
As I edged toward loosing my creative nature, I experienced the same thoughts as I toted camera lenses, tripod and assorted gear on my first photo outing with REAL photographers. OMG, what was I thinking signing up to shoot alongside people who really knew what they were doing? I felt like such a poser! I have come to realize that I have this little Negative Nancy voice lurking in the shadows questioning my sense of adventure, fun and learning. So now when she visits, I respond to her little voice asking “What was I thinking?” with “Hey you. Piss off. I’m one badass lady that is living a great life!”