Inspiring Stories of Courage – Lindsey’s Story

Obstacle course for training in winter park

Those of you who follow this blog regularly and have eagle eyes, might have noticed that I’ve changed the wording of my header from Getting Published, Getting Laughs, to Stories About Women Challenging Themselves. This is because I wanted my blog to evolve to reflect what my books are about, and also because I wanted to have the freedom to blog about different things apart from the process of writing.

I have always been a huge fan of self-development and the growth of self-esteem, and these are always major themes in my novels. I regularly set goals and challenge myself – from small things like having a nerve-wracking conversation with my son’s head teacher to performing or taking apart in a charity abseil, as I did recently.

So to celebrate this change of focus, I thought I’d run a mini series of blog posts to tell the stories of women who have challenged themselves successfully in life. Here’s the first one, which is the story of Lindsey, who overcame her fear of heights to take part in that same charity abseil. Be inspired! I was!

If you’ve got a story to tell of how you overcame a fear or did something really courageous, please get in touch. I’d love to feature you in this mini series. 🙂

laughing woman 1 (2) crop (2)

 

LINDSEY’S STORY

When I was little, I developed a fear of heights and I’ve always been adamant I want to become OK with heights. Mainly because it was blatantly obvious if I didn’t, I’d miss out on a lifetime of potentially mind-blowing experiences and spectacular views with friends and loved ones and I owed it to myself, upon realising this, to conquer it…fast. Fear after all, is in your head and life’s too short for restrictions!

So time passed and discussions were had with various people which had me realise, the way to achieve this was by giving every ‘height related’ challenge I came in to contact with (within reason) a go and at worse, close my eyes if it got too much. This new way of thinking needed to become the norm, as opposed to running in the opposite direction…which believe me was far more appealing on many an occasion.

I’m pleased to say, this determination is slowly paying off. I’m now able to walk over Grapes Hill flyover, go on the London Eye, even the Nemesis at Alton Towers (with eyes closed), then in ‘06 was the big‘in…a 14,000ft tandem skydive in Australia! I can’t explain how much energy, focus and positive visualisation went in to each of these events, working through my breathing, taking my time and continuously telling myself “I CAN DO THIS”. It’s like brainwashing my subconscious to believe it’s possible and waiting for reality to catch up.

Since having children, I’ve become increasingly conscious this has become an excuse for taking time out of my goal. Then a post appeared on Facebook; some women who’ve attended the Eos Programme were organising a Charity 20m Abseil for Keeping Abreast….without even thinking, my fingers were typing “I’m in!” Proud I’d signed up for a challenge, I didn’t really give it much thought, until 4 days before the event, a group of us were chatting in the office and it hit me, I saw exactly WHAT I was abseiling down. I knew it would be a challenge, but my goodness I wasn’t expecting this! My vision of the abseiling event contained a wall, something I could fix my eyes upon whilst working my way down. Grass or sand would meet my feet on completion and if I dared to look, the views would distract any unhelpful thoughts I’d have. Instead, there stood a metal framed tower on a concrete base, surrounded by warehouses and metal spikes. My heart sank, I felt sick. I really, really hadn’t thought this through, nor had I done my research.

The morning of the abseil arrived having spent the last few days seriously working on my self-talk and visualisation. My lovely husband, parents, my Nan and two boys (2 & 5) were all there for moral support; I wanted more than anything to complete this abseil, especially with my eldest watching and ultimately creating new thoughts on what’s possible. Several kidney breaks later, my turn arrived. My harness was on and there I was, at the top of the 20m tower. Looking back, it was almost like a robot had taken over my body. My colleague went first and feeling her nerves, it finally struck me ‘yikes, this is really happening!’ I sat down on the step, convincing my body I didn’t need the loo, I repeated “I can do this – I’m bloody doing this”. Then realisation hit me if I don’t, it’s going to be pretty lonely up here tonight. I took a deep breath, approached the latch, let the instructor hook me up and then lower me down. When I finally reached the ground, I was over the moon. Buzzing as Wilson and Dexter ran towards me with the biggest hugs and grins. That moment I will cherish forever. Believe me, making up an excuse the day I was in the office would’ve been so easy; but what would that have proved – what good would’ve come from that? I needed to take control and believe in myself, have belief and courage to show this emotion (my fear), that my mind (my thoughts) was far more powerful!

Lindsey takes the plunge!

Lindsey takes the plunge!

The tower Lindsey Abseiled down.

The tower Lindsey Abseiled down.

Much to my delight my son Wilson, aged 5 was so inspired he immediately asked to do it too – the full 20m alongside a trained instructor. So I may still be working towards my goal, but I’ve achieved much more knowing my son has set the wheels in motion for an incredible future which includes heights! What’s more all the wonderful women that took part raised an incredible £3k! I’m honoured to have been part of the memorable day.

P.S My eyes were shut.

Thank you very much for sharing your story, Lindsey! Awesome!! Is this you next time around? !!!

cliff diving

Don’t forget, if you have a story for this mini series, get in touch.

A surreal night

What do you get when you combine two bickering comperes, performers who have wholly misunderstood the concept of a comedy club and a comedian who persists with audience participation even though all previous signs have indicated that this is at best a bad idea, and at worst, a disastrous one? Answer: an evening at The Redneck Comedy Club in Norwich.

redneck

Those of you who follow my blog will know that I had a go at stand-up comedy as part of my research for my novel The Dare Club. I loved it so much, I had another go earlier this year, taking part in The Funny Women Awards at Ryan’s Bar in Stoke Newington. Sadly, I didn’t get through to the semi-finals – boo, hiss, sob – but I enjoyed it every bit as much as I’d done on the first occasion, and it was such a buzz to make people laugh.

I’d love to keep performing, because it’s so good for my self-confidence, and a great challenge. As I’ve got a nine year old son, I don’t have the kind of lifestyle that makes it easy for me to obsessively tour around the country gaining experience at various comedy clubs, so I was pleasantly surprised to find out about The Redneck Comedy Club, as it’s local to me. I persuaded a friend to go with me, and off we went to check it out. It turned out to be one of the most surreal nights of our life.

I’m not experienced at going to comedy clubs, so I don’t know whether some of the things that happened are a regular occurrence, but I doubt it somehow. For example, how often are there two comperes vying for the microphone? And do people usually think it’s okay to go up on stage in a silly hat to read out chapter 9 from their steam punk novel? Although incidentally, this was the funniest thing of the night, since whenever the reader in question paused from her reading to offer some kind of a plot explanation along the lines of “Stella had previously been hypnotized in a dark alley” (not what she said, but it’s all a hysterical blur now, so I’m improvising) – the two guys behind me and my friend made sarcastic comments that were so funny I was soon writhing with laughter and fearful for my bladder.

And then there was the final comedian – who made the mistake of asking whether there were any single men in the audience. One audience member piped up, “Well, I’m technically single.” Oh, how that comedian must wish he’d just smiled and moved on instead of asking questions to investigate exactly what the guy meant. Because apparently, the man has a phone app girlfriend. Judging by the way he was speaking, he was very much in love with said girlfriend too, and celebrated the fact that he could change her appearance whenever he chose. He then proceeded to have a kind of breakdown moment, when, hands-to-head, he groaned with sheer horror at the prospect of a real girlfriend “with feelings and problems”. The poor comedian completely dried and lost his thread, getting drawn into what soon became more like a counseling session than a stand-up performance.

All excellent material for something, I’m sure! But will I return to brave those bickering comperes? I’m not sure. Watch this space!