I touched a snake yesterday. It was a small python. I was at a festival and a woman was walking around with this animal draped around her neck like a scarf. She was letting people pet it so I walked over and touched it.
You may no think that this is a big deal but it you knew my history with snakes you would think it was remarkable. For my entire life I have been abnormally afraid of snakes. I don’t just mean afraid, I mean terrified. I have been known to cry, freeze on the spot and almost stop breathing when in the presence of a snake. I have no idea where this fear came from. As far as I know there was no childhood trauma involving a snake. You don’t come across many snakes growing up in Queens, NY. My mother was afraid of everything that moved but to the best of my knowledge she only ever told me that if I saw one I should run. I never had to deal with it until I left the wilds of Queens and moved to the wilds of rural Pennsylvania and then to upstate New York. I took up gardening and found I had a passion for it. Unfortunately the garden snakes and the farm snakes who lived nearby felt that my garden was as much theirs as it was mine. I had several nasty encounters and one flower bed was never touched again after a particularly fat one took up residence.
So what made me walk up to that snake and touch it? The same thing that made me sign up with a personal trainer at 63 and do things like jump on a trampoline and do push-ups. I woke up one morning after my daughter and grandchildren had moved out of state (actually, several states away) and I no longer had any excuses for putting my own life on the back burner. The moment my feet hit the floor that morning I knew that it was time to take my life back and go for it. I was tired of being overweight and out of shape, and just plain tired of being scared of everything, especially change. Once I started working with the trainer and feeling better than I had in years, I started to wonder what else I could overcome … so I took on the snake. By the way, it’s true what they say about snakes: they really aren’t slimy. They are dry and feel like a new leather belt.
I don’t suggest that everyone should run out and touch a snake, but if there is something that you’ve been afraid of without even knowing why, or even if you do know why, consider looking it square in the face and taking it on. Be like John Wayne and take the beach … well, you know what I mean. You don’t know what you can do until you try. What can you do?