About two weeks ago, I realized that
I hadn’t felt fear in at least ten days.
This was huge …. to the point that I stopped in my tracks and stood there on the deck …. dumbfounded.
This ^ …. is me …. paralyzed with fear in March of 2011. I was TIRED of waiting for someone else to come along and fix my roof so I marched out into the yard and got the ladder. I leaned it up against the roof, climbed up on the roof with fear and trembling and then … laid there grasping the asphalt shingles with fervor. In the end, James fixed the roof for me.
James took the picture as he danced and leapt over me and around me. By the time I was able to find the courage to climb back down, my belly muscles ached from laughing at him … making fun of me.
Since then, I’ve written over and over about my roof-relationship, I’ve made great progress. I can now climb up without fear. I know which ladder to use (the 6′ step ladder NOT the 75′ telescoping aluminum ladder that can reach the sky!) and I know where to put it to feel comfortable (next to a wall … not in the middle of the roofline). I’ve figured out how to walk on the roof. And now … I’ve even repaired holes!
I haven’t had the money to do any big repairs … and paying someone else to repair even the smallest problem quickly makes the repair feel like a “big repair.” I’ve had a friend or two help me here and there … but lately, I’ve started asking myself, “What are you waiting on? Why can’t you figure this out on your own? Do you really think some guy is going to ride in on a white horse and save you? Because … if you’re waiting on that, the house may fall apart around you! Figure this out! You can do this!”
So …. I wrote over here about a hole.
If I can be brave enough get up there to replace the patch,
can’t I figure out how to repair the hole?
A few weeks ago, I googled how to repair a hole in a shingle roof.
I watched three videos.
I made a list of things I needed to buy.
And the other day, I filled a bucket with all my tools
and climbed back up on that roof.
That hole was about the size of my thumb. It didn’t need a huge repair job because the hole doesn’t put at risk the stability or integrity of the roof. All I had to do was pull up a few shingles, fill the hole with roofing tar and put down new shingles. It took me a little while, but I did it … all by myself! I DID IT!
And repairing this hole, gave me the confidence to tackle a bigger one.
The next morning, I headed back up that six-foot ladder
and I thought about a phrase that has become a mantra.
For almost a year, I’ve posted on Instagram and Facebook
and I’ve written text messages to a few close friends …
“I CAN DO HARD THINGS!”
In my head, as I climbed that ladder, I thought
“I can do hard things” …
and my next thought was ….
” ….. wait. this isn’t hard.”
It hit me ….
this was unfamiliar … but it wasn’t h.a.r.d.
I realized that climbing up on the roof wasn’t hard any more.
Worrying about making a mistake wasn’t an apprehension.
Fretting about losing my balance wasn’t a concern.
Getting stuck and not knowing how to get un-stuck in the repair hadn’t even crossed my mind.
And ….. having someone I love doubt my ability and warn me to slow down or quit wasn’t a fear.
I … wasn’t even afraid.
This hole was larger than the first one.
Once I peeled away the shingles and roof paper, I could more easily see the damage.
I cut away a small piece of wood so that I could determine the thickness of the wood of the roof
and match it with a piece of wood that was the same.
I used a sewing tool to help me get the EXACT depth needed for the brace to be properly spaced.
I made braces to attach to the joists that frame the roof.
I tucked new roofing paper as far up under the existing paper and shingles as I could, making sure that it was under the paper above the hole and tucked under the shingles but on TOP of the paper below the hole (so water won’t work it’s way under the shingles and onto the raw wood).
And I wasn’t even scared.
I can’t really put into words just how excited I am about this repair. As I told my dad the story, my voice quivered and I found my self trembling (a nervous reaction for me). I was just so proud of myself!
As I worked up there on the roof, I thought about how closely related my fears of repairs at home,
my fears of creating my art and showing it
and my fears of working outside my home
must be intertwined to my fears of not pleasing people.
In my head, I have heard lines like,
“You don’t know what you’re doing.” “It’s easy to lose your balance and fall.” “See. I told you.”
But, in the past few years of working through fear, rejection and people-pleasing,
my practice of “I don’t care” is helping me shake loose these worries.
And it’s really a good thing.
And as I start 2015, I realize that I am beginning more fearless
than I’ve ever been in my life.
It’s a wonderful feeling.