The story of Nervous Nelly

I got me some pumpkin spice coffee this morning since I didn’t clean my coffee machine last night because I got home too late. Nothing starts a day better than pumpkin spice coffee… (or anything pumpkin flavored).

In the Bruebager’s Bagels (where I got said coffee), there was a man in his fifties dressed in a Boy Scout uniform. I suspect he was a leader–or whatever they call them in Boy Scouts, den leader or something–but it still looked ridiculous to me. Boy Scout uniforms just don’t have the same effect as, say, a Marine uniform. To me, an older man wearing a Boy Scout uniform is like seeing an elderly woman in a Catholic school girl uniform: it just looks ridiculous. Can’t Boy Scout leaders wear normal clothes with a cool pin or brimmed hat like the highway patrol wears? (Not that highway patrol hats are all that classy, but at least they carry some amount of respect.)

I’m feeling a general lack of self-confidence. I’m in the middle of one of my “I am a horrible person who has diarrhea of the mouth and no one likes me” moods. Which may be due, in a large part, to my writing on this blog. I think I have all these “brilliant” ideas about life and I’ve worked them all out in my head, some of them quite radical, all of them very loud. And then I expect, somewhere in the back of my ego, for everyone to nod and say, “Damn, Mars Girl, you’re so right!” I expect that my words can touch the hearts of staunch conservatives and change them (especially as is the case with my beloved entry about Gene Robinson to which no one replied, which, of course, denoted that the topic was too hot and probably most of my audience had some problem with me talking about a gay preacher… I worked so hard on that entry to get all the wording right and explain my point of view, and I guess I expected one comment somewhere… but all I heard were crickets making me realize that you still can’t sway people from their convictions even if you have a well-thought out argument.)

Some of my friends comment to me in person that I want to draw and quarter conservatives, Republicans, and Christians. I become hurt and take offense, and then they withdraw their statement as a joke. But I’m not so sure it’s a joke. I’ve made an ass out of myself with expressing my opinion and maybe I should just stick to safe topics like my spirituality (minus negative commentary on other faiths) and widowhood and cycling. Maybe I shouldn’t be so loud. The world doesn’t like people who feel strongly one way or another on certain issues. Maybe I could just try to blend in and be neutral so that I’m more people-friendly to the world.

Some people like how opinionated I am, though; others wish I’d be a little quieter. I don’t know. I don’t want to be a blow-hard like Bill O’Reilly. I want to sounds intelligent about my views (even though I know I don’t always manage to do so). I know I’m probably just like all the liberals most conservatives hate. I can’t help the way I am. I can help about how loud I am about it, though.

I know, I know. I can’t have everyone liking me all the time. It’s just like my dad always said, “You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” Some part of me still wants to please all of the people all of the time, which I know will be a weakness of mine in any leadership role I take on because there will always be those two or three people who will complain about anything I do. I can’t get all bent out of shape about these things. I can’t let it bother me the way I do.

My lack of self-confidence streak has started to seep into other activities of mine. My Tuesday night ride (by myself) was utterly pathetic. I was so consumed with fear the entire time I rode. Going uphill, I feared I would go too slow and that I wouldn’t be able to get my feet clipped out in time so that I would fall (which, in itself, is a stupid fear because a low speed fall doesn’t do much damage but bruising and is more embarrassing than it is painful). Going downhill, I kept getting mental images of colliding into a deer that stepped into the road, not having enough time to stop. I was constantly pulling my feet out of my pedals, something I’d reduced significantly over the past few months.

Last night, while riding stoker on the tandem, I was constantly experiencing heart palpitations on hills I normally would have enjoyed sailing down (a few weeks ago Michael and I hit 50 going down Highland Road and, while I got a little scared, I was mostly fine). Maybe it was the darkness and, again, the visions of running into deer that got me. I tried to remind myself that I probably wouldn’t feel a high speed hit–I’d just wake up somewhere later. Of course, this did nothing to relieve my fears because I imagined waking up in a hospital, paralyzed, which is my worst nightmare. I would want to die if I were paraplegic or quadriplegic.

Maybe the fears are brought about from recent email correspondence with a good friend who had a horrible motorcycle accident from which she’s slowly and painfully recovering. It seems to have put huge barriers in her life now and I’m freaked out about high speed accidents (even though part of me still wants to also ride a motorcycle).

I’ve never been a person to let my fears keep me from doing the things I want to do or love. So I don’t know what’s come over me suddenly, why I’ve becoming such a Nervous Nelly. It’s very disconcerting and it makes feel less confident about myself in all aspects of my life. I don’t know why I’m in this low place right now…

Anyway, excuse my annoying rambling of doubt here. I’m not asking for anyone to pity me or try to make me feel better with compliments. I’m just writing it like it is and that’s how the general mood is today. I apologize for being so rough around the edges and offensive. I just feel very passionate about everything, as my blog byline reads.

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19 thoughts on “The story of Nervous Nelly

  1. I was glad when you and Michael and Mike Rossman finally passed me on Riverview Rd. last night on the return to Peninsula. Before that, all I could see in my mirror was a confusing bunch of lights, any 2 of which could have turned into a car. I’ve been a little nervous too lately, especially since that pickup truck knocked me into the ditch.

  2. If the guy was in Boy Scouts, the appropriate title would have been “Scoutmaster” (or Asst. Scoutmaster). As someone who was in Boy Scouts for 11 years, I don’t quite agree about the uniforms. But, as Marines are generally in better condition, I would say that a 50-year old Marine looks better in any set of clothes than a Scoutmaster of equal age wearing the same style of clothes.Aside from the differences in physique, most Scouts, unfortunately, do not take the time to press their uniforms or wear them correctly. And, of course, a Boy Scout uniform does not have the same meaning as a Marine uniform. But, some Scoutmasters due earn respect when wearing their uniform.

  3. Bob, I hear ya. I think we get nervous about the accidents that already happened to us. I’m always worried about animals running into the road because it was a dog that got me in June 2004. And I was only going 25mph on a slight grade. I ended up waking up in the ambulance with a concussion. (I know, I know, everyone’s heard that story now.)Michael seems like he’s extra careful over railroad tracks cuz I think that was the cause of an injury. Now you’re more cautious of cars… Ikes! I used to be a speed demon, post dog incident. I wasnt afraid at all. Now… eh… the speed demon in me would LOVE to ramp up the mphs, but the Nervous Nelly makes me brake more than everyone else (as well as remove one of my feet from the pedals).James, sorry, meant no disrespect to the Boy Scouts. It just looked really weird to me. And, from behind, I for a moment thought he was a Downs Syndrome kid wearing a scouting uniform… But, nope, upon further inspection, it was just a dorky looking 50-something dude.No disrespect meant to 50-somethings or dorks… I will be a 50 something someday and I’m admittedly a dork.I just found the thing kind of comical and bizzare. If it makes you feel any better, I would have equally mocked a full grown lady in a Girl Scout uniform too. Of course, *our* leaders just had a simple blouse with a plain pair of pants as their uniform… didnt try to mimic the girls’ uniforms at all…

  4. < HREF="http://goshop.girlscouts.org/GSUSAOnline/LandingPage.aspx?subCatId=Uniform-Women" REL="nofollow">SEE!!<> They made the GS leaders uniform even LESS dorky than it was when I was in scouts. However, the Brownies still have to wear that < HREF="http://goshop.girlscouts.org/GSUSAOnline/LandingPage.aspx?subCatId=Uniform-Brownie" REL="nofollow">retarded beenie<>. Bleh. I think there’s a picture of me in one of those somewhere in the annals of my mom’s photo collection…I’m sad that they turned the cadet’s sash–which used to tie at the bottom–< HREF="http://goshop.girlscouts.org/GSUSAOnline/LandingPage.aspx?subCatId=Uniform-GirlScouts11-17" REL="nofollow">into a vest<> and that they changed the color from green to khaki. What a pity…

  5. MG,I started participating in an internet discussion group a few years back. At first, I also thought I would win the whole world over with my brilliant arguments. I was stunned to find that sometimes my best arguments couldn’t even move a molehill, yet alone a mountain. It can be quite a reality check. But for those people who stick with it and become informed and hang in there for a while, they can make a positive contribution. You do move molehills eventually, but not the way you thought you would.On top of that, just because someone doesn’t comment doesn’t mean they don’t value what you said. They may reflect on it in the coming days, weeks or even years. They may be part of a silent majority that just doesn’t say anything. There are lots of folks who have influenced me and many of them will never know it. I can’t write to every author, teacher, TV actor or internet blog where I got something that was meaningful. Like any teacher, you gotta just toss out the seeds and you may not even be around when they grow.I think it is common to feel like you did. I did and I can tell there are other people who are in the same boat. There are lots of folks who participate in this internet discussion group but then after a few weeks they get flustered and leave. I guess they got mad because they didn’t convert everyone to their line of thinking. You are doing the right thing. Lots of folks never express their thoughts vocally so they never find out that maybe there are holes in their arguments. It all made sense in their head. And it still might be a good argument, but it might take work when you present it to the world. All arguments can stand improvement (remember Joyce Dyer–all papers can be edited, even the best novels of all time).

  6. Heidi, m’dear, they turned the Girl Scout sash into a vest back in like 1989. The new khaki, however, is an improvement over the BLUE I had to wear! Don’t fret too much, though, sashes are still available for the die-hards (but a vest has more room to display all your cookie sale patches!). My sashes never tied at the bottom, though. They were always hemmed, and if you don’t believe me I still have them somewhere. And my blue vest! Oh, and I never had to wear a silly Brownie beanie, so nah nah ;)

  7. I don't recall the scoutmasters uniforms looking dorky or what not. My dad used to be a scoutmaster even years after my bro obtained the highest, Eagle Scout, and left. I recall them just being the colors of the boy scouts and yeah the shirs had the patches & their troop # on it. What got me was when my dad used to come to our elementary school to talk to the boys about joining and I would be all embarrassed cuz he was in full uniform, but that's more along the lines of how kids just are naturally embarrassed by their folks from time to time.I think somewhere I might have a pic of the hubby in his boy scout uniform. This was from a few years ago at a boy scout camp reunion thing we went to. Yeah I do believe he still fits in his uniform.Now as for the girl scouts, I don't recall having to wear a beanie ether and thankfully we got the lighter brown for the uniforms and not that darks stuff. I actually like the vest for the junior girl scouts as that looks nicer than having 2 sashes criss cross …. what do you do if you need a 3rd one?

  8. I dont know what ya’ll gals are talking about… I never did enough badges to even fill my sash… And I certainly wasnt winning cookie sales since my dad was a contractor and was not therefore committed to a central location where he could get coworkers to order. And my mom said it was my responsibility to sell those things, not hers or my father’s, so I dont think they would have taken the order forms to work even if they both did work at an actual office.Which is why I always buy the cookies from coworkers, hoping some little girl will get a prize for most cookie sales because I could never even get close. Though, I cant help but have my mother’s wise frame of thought, which is that you should do your own footwork for something like this since it’s your cause and ambition to sell the cookies (and your troop you are supporting).So I guess I’m kind of split about the whole thing. I think it’s kind of akin to doing your kid’s science fair project for them. (Which my mom also never did… and that’s why I never won any cool prizes… but I think that was due to the lack of ambition to perform a scientific experiment… and one wonders why with this in mind I came into Hiram thinking I was going to major in Biology!)

  9. Didn’t you do any of the other badges that you could earn? There were 2 books of them if memory serves.I don’t recall getting any patches for selling the most cookies. Yeah I got prizes for selling them, but I don’t think I sold the most in my troop. My folks never took the order form to work but I had the corner on my neighborhood … and since at the time my bro had like half the neighborhood for his paper route, I just tagged along with him when he was out collecting. This was after the 1st year and they realized he was my bro, they would start asking him like a month before I got the order form when I would be coming around with the cookie order form. But that was about it on the corner. All other things we sold in school, just went to the family …. too many kids in the neighborhood going to both the catholic school and the public to go door to door.

  10. MarsGirl said there was a man in his fifties dressed in a Boy Scout uniform ….. it still looked ridiculous to me. Boy Scout uniforms just don’t have the same effect as, say, a Marine uniform. To me, an older man wearing a Boy Scout uniform is like seeing an elderly woman in a Catholic school girl uniform: it just looks ridiculous. I do not see your point in this analogy Marsgirl. A Boy Scout and a Marine are not supposed to illicit the same response because they are not the same thing. Whereas you gawk at one and scoff at the other, I respect both for what they represent. When I see a Marine I see a combat soldier who is a trained killer that will lay his life down for my freedom. I respect that person because they are willing to put everything on the line to keep me safe. When I see a Boy/Girl Scout leader or youth I see a person who wants to make the world a better peaceful place through good citizenship and selfless service to others. I respect them for attempting to prepare youth for life and make the planet we live on a little less cold, a little less hostile. A tall order to fulfill in a violent turbulent society. As for an old woman wearing a Catholic School Uniform I will agree that would be funny to see. It doesn’t fit because it doesn’t evoke the same sort of respect as the other two you mentioned because an overall public purpose behind that uniform really doesn’t exist. In reality, no woman would do this except for maybe in the bedroom with her lover. I’d still respect her though. My respect would be primarily for the guts it would take for the woman to do so and the ridicule she would have to endure from someone like you, people who like to snicker at people but who are too self-conscious to face the criticism themselves to ever pull a stunt like that. Technically, if I were to base my views on what you’ve said, I could say that cyclists look like total goofballs in their genderless riding gear. I’ve seen 50 year old men and women squeezed like sausages into their skin-tight bike shorts huffing and puffing along the road. Lance Armstrong they are not. And some of the women cyclists look more like men than the men do. But you know what, I respect them too because they go out and do it exemplifying what can be accomplished through endurance and perseverance. Don’t laugh away someone else’s pride. You only belittle yourself.

  11. You know, Anon, I’m really getting tired of your continual flaming. I personally think you have some sort of agenda against me and you’re just being a thorn to the conversation–an advisery, if you will–just to harrass me. I’m about to shut down anonymous commenters because, really, if you dont have the balls to identify yourself in some way that I would recognize (not necessarily your name if you are afraid to do so for typical internet paranoia reasons), I don’t have the time to waste having a conversation with you. You’ll say that I just don’t like people to oppose me, but that’s not the case: I like intelligent debate. You seem to try to come off as intelligent while finding ways to cut me down. I’ve had enough.If you couldnt sense the dramatic irony of my observations this morning, then you have no sense of humor. I like to poke fun at people sometimes. That’s all this was. It was completely harmless. So whatever.

  12. I’ve always liked that you express your opinions. I think your blog is great and I enjoy reading it. I wish Anonymous could disagree with you like an adult rather than cut you down and flame your blog. Don’t get down on yourself. Keep writing and expressing your thoughts. I like reading what you have to say.If you were in Seattle I’d invite you over for some fresh pumpkin bread and coffee and an afternoon of conversation.

  13. Yeah, I don’t know what the frak is up with Anon…. Not sure who it is, but I have multiple suspicions. The unabridged hostility is shocking (I think it’s personal more than it is about disagreeing with me).Oh well. That’s life.Maybe I’ll get out to Seattle next summer for STP. Not pumpkin bread season, but I am sure we can enjoy coffee and some other confection. ;)

  14. It does seem like a personal attack, more than disagreement.I love pumpkin bread anytime of year and would be happy to make some during STP season!

  15. Hey I understand you being more careful when biking and due to that dog incident, get a little nervous about dogs or other animals running out in front of you. I think this happens to all of us. I mean it’s only natural if something caused us to be injured or what not, that we will be a little more skiddish about possibly getting in a situation where it might happen again. It’s like we want to get back up and do it again, but our brain remembers. *sigy* just seems like it’s part of living and getting old *gasp, say it ain’t so?* I have noticed that certain things I am more catuious in doing than say 10 yrs ago where I would think nothing of it.

  16. My theory is that people only respond to things they find entertaining…and entertaining isn’t necessarily (or often) intelligent, well-thought out, engaging the mind. People write responses to the most “pathos” driven pieces on the internet…pathos is an appeal to baser emotions instead of an appeal to reason, and people cannot resist it…including me :(Yes, I would write a reply to a Cary Tennis advice column on a person who wonders if her husband is cheating on her with his new girlfriend rather than writing a response or commendation to a well-honed piece of brilliant political analysis on HuffPost.?I think your post didn’t get replies NOT because people were at all offended or enlightened, but PRECISELY because it was so well written, so well reasoned, and so thought-provoking. I guess the q to ask is this: is this blog for you, or is it for your audience? Do you really want to pander to the baser interests of the crowd, who’d like to hear about action or feelings or misadventures but not so much about your intelligent analysis of a book people should read….or would you rather write what you think you want to communicate with people everywhere, and damn the hecklers, they’ll either get the idea you were presenting later in life, or they’ll keep going as they are and no harm done to you.I would really prefer reading a blog that doesn’t pander too much to its audience’s desires, but rather gives them what it thinks they should know in lifetoa blog that seems artificially delimited to discussing ONLY the topics its author KNOWS will poke the seamy underbelly of the human psyche, nourishing the uglier parts of the mind in order to get reader approval…..Ok, I’m tired and should go watch my well-written TV show. I will admit to changing the channel to something more mindless from time to time just to see how mindless people can seem to be, but I can’t live on that sort of thing…my mind needs better sustainence.

  17. I, too, think that a grown man in full boy scout uniform looks funny. I laughed out loud when you (Heidi) mentioned in your comment on this entry that at first your thought it was a person w/down’s syndrome. I confess…it sounds cruel of me, but I always laugh the hardest at the naughty things.I think my most painful, gut-wrenching laughs have occurred in church as a child, whilst trying not to burst out loud.As for anonymous, I suggest you don’t even read anything unless there is a name on the bottom. Eliminate the snipers!MOM

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