Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Where do all the brave girls go?

Last week I attempted rock climbing. Since I live in one of the flattest states in the Union, this was done indoors at a local health club. Heights are not my thing, so I scaled about 10 feet, looked down and rappelled down (okay, so I didn't exactly rappel down--I kind of, er--plopped). I tried once more -- up, maybe 11 feet this time, then kick, flump, plop! Anyway, once on solid ground, I unhooked myself and decided to watch the other climbers show me how it's done. Out of the 7 others, 3 were girls, aged 10, 8 and 6. You should have seen them! Little Spiderwomen they were! They climbed as high as they could, as quickly as they could, did not look down and then--once reaching the top--really rappelled down! (Though the six year old was a bit too light to let her weight do the work and was instead pulled down by her mother and big sister).

Their fearlessness reminded me of something that happened when I was a girl. My friend Jenny and I loved to swim in a local lake. About 50 yards offshore was a platform dive. I'm not sure how high it was; all I know is that one day we swam out there and found a group of teen boys standing atop, all daring each other to jump, but none of them budging. Jenny and I climbed up, walked past them all, and without hesitation, jumped right in! I didn't stand around and ponder how dangerous it could be for me or what might happen if I landed wrong, what injuries I could possibly sustain (though I later heard that my shore-bound mother surely did). I just jumped right in.

Like the girls on the climbing wall. They were brave. They didn't look down. They just started to climb and gave it all they had. I'm not sure why, but many women I know have outgrown this sense of fearlessness, and have to work hard to get it back. I hope the girls I met the other night and every other girl out there never loses theirs.

'Til next time!

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