Saturday, December 10, 2011

Life Begins at the Edge of Your Comfort Zone

(This is the spot, but this is not me!)
There is a little known oasis in the middle of the desert in southern Utah. To get there, you hike through hot desert sand, cacti and some pretty big bugs. It's beautiful, but frankly, it would only make me grumpy if it wasn't for the water waiting about a quarter of a mile in. From there, you splash through a stream into a narrow, sandstone canyon. Eventually you'll come to a deep pool of water with footholds carved into the cliff above it and a rope attached to something just out of sight. After you climb to the top, you can either keep going to the next pool of water, or you can leap off into the water below.

When I was in college, I went hiking there with some friends. In my own mind, I will always be the girl who has to stand under the waterfall, the girl who sloshes through the water instead of taking the trail if given half a chance. But there was something I did not yet know about myself way back then. I am also the girl who is deathly afraid of heights. Not knowing this about myself, I was determined to jump into the water. After all, that is the kind of thing an adventurous water lover would do, right?

However, I climbed up to the top foothold and froze. The rock of the ledge I was precariously perched on jutted out much farther than I had realized. I suddenly remembered the story my dad often told me about a friend of his who dove into shallow water and was now paralyzed from her neck down.

My sane, dry friends were waiting to leave, but I knew that one way or another, I would never forget my choice that day. It was a character defining moment. I have no idea how long I stood there, staring down at my beloved water and the nasty cliff surrounding it, but finally something inside me snapped, and I leaped off... Such a rush! My heart sang for the rest of the day!

On cliffs and being a writer...

One day, about four years ago, I boldly declared to the world that I was an author. The last time I'd been that brave was right around the third grade, when I told anyone who would listen that I was going to be a professional swimmer/ballerina/archaeologist/teacher/whale rider/but-mostly-author who traveled the world with her husband and six children.

Calling myself an author took a lot more courage once I was a grown-up. It was labeling myself something amazing--something I didn't really feel like I deserved to be yet. Declaring that I was an author was like jumping off that cliff. Once I'd said it, I had to be it. And I've loved every minute of it.

I've met a lot of remarkable people as an author. It's one of those perks I simply wasn't expecting. And when a couple of those remarkable people got together with some other obviously remarkable people and started a blog called The Prosers, I was really happy for them. But I was also kind of sad. You know that feeling when you find out that a good friend just got hired for your dream job? It was like that.

You don't have to look very hard at this blog to know that these women are going places. They are talented, funny and determined. And here I am, grabbing onto their coattails! Thank you for letting me join the party, ladies. When Sheena offered me the Saturday spot, I was thrilled. But there I was, right back on the top of the cliff again. "Start thinking of your first post," she said. "You post on Saturday." 


THIS Saturday? As in four days from now? Somehow, in my head, I was imagining a spot several months from now, after they'd interviewed all the other available candidates and argued amongst themselves about whether or not I was the right fit. 

Sometimes, life is that way. Living in my comfort zone is--well, it's comfortable. Promising to have a blog post every week for the foreseeable future starting right now is not so comfortable. But life begins at the edge of your comfort zone.

(Again, this is not me. Hopefully, that is obvious, but you never know.)


  1. Awesome first post, Melanie.

    We are obviously lucky to have you with us. :)

    I'm glad you took the plunge.

  2. I am terrified of heights, too, and I would never ever ever have jumped!

    I'm thrilled to have you on board, Melanie. Great post :)

  3. The vote was unanimous and very quick. We're thrilled to have you, and given your first post, you clearly belong.

    And that's the perk of being among good writers; you all inspire me to constantly improve my posts each week.

  4. Thank you all! You know, this is even more fun than it looks.

  5. Yay! Welcome aboard!
    Excellent first post.

  6. You my dear - are among authors! AND you are AMAZING!

  7. I love it! I'm proud to be related to you. And since we have so much in common I hope to one day write as well as you! :)

  8. Oh and to go along with that - I also had a similar cliff jumping experience except I may or may not have decided to walk away....


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