Tuesday, May 19, 2020

"Do It Scared"

child looking through a hole
(Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay) 
Today's blog comes from a friend and former wildland firefighter, Summer Osmond. Summer is going through some major health struggles. One way Summer manages her mental health is through a private group on social media where she expresses her most vulnerable thoughts. This is one of her posts. Summer has given permission to share it with a wider audience in hopes others might find strength through her words.

Hello, friends.

I hope this finds you well. Let’s catch up.

Have you ever had a crisis of faith? Or whatever your belief and foundation was seemed to be shaken or knocked loose? In contrast, have you ever had a moment when you felt propelled forward in your conviction and understanding?

This week has been a week of strange yet enlightening points of wisdom, and they came from unexpected sources.

My beautiful girl is growing up. About a week ago she asked to go through my makeup with me. I had more foundations and lipsticks than a person should ever have. We painstakingly went through container after container of mascara, blush, eyelash curlers (I had 4 by the way), brushes, multi-colored shadow and blush palettes, broken eye shadows, lip liner, and truly about 40 lipsticks. I had been meaning to get to this task but would quickly shy away from it for fear of finality.

Maybe that doesn’t make any sense to you, as this should be a pretty typical decluttering or maintenance type task. For me, letting these small, simple things go was a little more like the first crack in my proverbial dam. Maybe that crack has needed to happen for some time but what I was fearing about the painful and bitter end, instead created room for better, for clarity, and for much needed new headspace.

I let go of the eye shadow that I wore on my wedding day. I let go of the lipstick my late Grandmother gave me for my high school graduation. I let go of the many broken or neglected accessories items that ultimately overflowed my small trash can. As I would hold something, Adi would ask why the delay, as these were just random, unneeded disorder to her. Sometimes, just a memory was enough for me to accept peace, and other times it would require sharing. Such a simple task.

One of my doctors changed one of my pain medications a few weeks ago, but I had to get this approved by my cardiologist in Salt Lake. I have been having some of the strangest dreams in the most bizarre arrangement of people in my life. But, the other night I experienced something that pushed me forward.
I have been so afraid, and stuck. Stuck in fear of sickness, and of my early demise. Fearing being lost to my daughter, my husband, my family, and friends.

The dream I had was a memory of a fire in Utah in 1996. One of my fellow firefighters on my engine got caught in a position that is most people’s biggest fear, surrounded by a full circled wall of fire. I remember hearing her say the wind had shifted and she was cut-off. What she thought was safe and protected was in fact no longer. Was that something she planned for or deserved? No.

What happened next still shakes me, my engine boss told her, “Run.” She screamed over the radio that she would be burned and couldn’t do it. And then the voice inside the fire engine repeated, “Run.” “You have one chance right now, put your neck shroud on, now go.” “The next words that came out with enough force and inferred urgency it was unmistakable, “Run, damn it!” That change in tone and volume was the catalyst that propelled the compromised firefighter forward through searing flames into the black, burned-out safety zone. She was able to turn her fear into action. She was able to do it, scared.

I woke up the next morning with this three word thought, “Do it scared.” “It,” being my life. I cannot wait for this endless storm of health ailments and disease to stop before I can learn to live. So for me, “Do life scared” just became the direction that I needed.

More to come tomorrow.

Love you all.

The expressions, used with permission, are those of the author, Summer Osmond, BLM employee and former wildland firefighter.

Pam McDonald is a writer/editor for BLM Wildland Fire Training and Workforce Development and member of the NWCG Leadership Committee. The expressions are those of the author.

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