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Project Ridiculous

My name is Stephanie, and I am afraid of everything.

I’m afraid of wearing hats. I’m afraid of singing karaoke. I’m afraid of scarves. I’m afraid of coloring my hair bright red because it will fade. I’m afraid of wearing eyeliner. I’m afraid of making the tiniest of waves at work. I’m afraid of going skiing by myself. I’m afraid of inviting people to hang out with me. I’m afraid of going to work or skiing without full makeup, including three shades of blended eye shadow. I’m afraid of people seeing me taking pictures, especially of myself. I’m afraid of asking strangers to take a picture of me. I’m afraid of interior decorating. I’m afraid of wearing skinny jeans without boots or a super loose top. I’m afraid of playing video games. I’m afraid of striking  up a conversation with strangers. I’m afraid of wearing lipstick. I’m afraid of eating alone in public without a book.

My name is Stephanie, and I’m tired of being afraid.

Seriously, it’s fucking stupid. I’m 25, almost 26 years old. I’ve done so many things, accomplishments that I never imagined myself reaching. I light rock shows, I run mile after mile, I ski ridiculous hills, I write a marginally-successful blog. And yet, I’m terrified of going to lunch alone or wearing a fucking scarf. I think it really comes down to being terrified of what others will think of me or how they will respond to me. I’m not afraid of diving down a black diamond run or running 13.1 miles. Okay, lies, both are terrifying. But I can overcome something like that because I know that my success or failure is objective; either I make it to my goal without dying or I don’t. And that success or failure is entirely within my control. No one else can help me or hinder me; it’s all up to me to either kick ass or end up on mine. But when my success or failure depends not only on the judgement and reactions of other, but on a subjective opinion…that’s when I find myself frozen in my tracks and scuttling to my safety zone.

My name is Stephanie, and my motto for this year is, “New Me, Fuck You.”

I don’t me you, personally. (I like you.) I mean the rhetorical “You.” The You who judges me and makes me feel afraid. The You who looks at me weird and makes me feel self-conscious. The You who is the voice in my head telling me that I look like a jackass. All of You. Fuck You. Especially the me You. You’re the worst.

In case it isn’t obvious and annoy yet, you guys can probably tell that I’ve been spending a lot of thought on introspection lately. I think it’s a healthy way to approach a new year and soon, a new age of my life. Kyle says it’s what happens when I have too  much time on my hands. Regardless, there’s no denying that I’ve spend a lot of time lately thinking about the person I want to be, the person I wish I were. (I promise guys, I’ll be back to writing about transvestites and my underpants soon enough.) And all that thought has brought me to come up with a plan of action.

I call it Project Ridiculous.

I call it that because once a week I want to do something that scares me or makes me feel ridiculous. Not because these are necessarily tasks that I feel I can’t live my life without accomplishing; I can probably live my life without ever singing karaoke and still consider myself a well-rounded, successful adult with a full life. But I need to do these things because they scare me. I need to be able to feel that fear and do it anyway. Because the reality is, I’m tired of being afraid, I’m tired of second-guessing myself, and I’m tired of worrying that I look ridiculous. Just fucking tired.

But I also call it Project Ridiculous because it’s fucking ridiculous for me to be 25 years old and live in so much fear of embarrassment, ridicule, and failure. I’m afraid to act because I can’t stand the thought of not receiving approval from those around me when the reality is I shouldn’t give a shit about the approval from those around me. The strangers I see on the street, the people sitting across from me at the bar, the checker at the grocery store…they don’t care about me or have any of my interests in mind. They don’t give a shit about my success or failure. So why should I allow what I perceive  as their judgement to keep me held in a stasis of fear? The answer is I shouldn’t. Hence, Project Ridiculous.

Sometimes I’ll tell you guys about it, and whether my foray into the uncomfortable was successful or not. Sometimes I won’t. I already know what this week’s challenge is going to be, and it’s a dozy: I’m not only going to go skiing without Kyle, but I’m going to meet up with a woman who I’ve never met before and only know through the internet. I know. It’s terrifying. Spending the day skiing, which traditionally is a pretty social activity, without my emotional safety net AND meeting a new person for the first time without that safety net in place. The possibilities for awkwardness are endless.

My name is Stephanie, and I’m ready to be ridiculous.


{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Camels & Chocolate January 22, 2012, 12:39 pm

    Good for you! I, too, am scared of a lot of things–mainly dying and doing something I don’t know how to do for fear of not doing it perfect (perfection’s complex)–so I’ll see how your experiment goes then contemplate following in your footsteps 😉

    There’s another one to add to the list: the fear of not being awesome and kicking ass at absolutely EVERYTHING I do.

  • allison January 22, 2012, 3:02 pm

    Love this! I know you’ll rock it.

  • Lauren January 22, 2012, 7:05 pm

    You’d knock ’em dead with black eye liner and cherry red lipstick.

    Both at the same time? Well, now you’re just getting dangerous.

  • Kate January 25, 2012, 11:58 am

    I love your motto! My one and only girlfriend keeps telling me I need to write a book called, “How To Not Give A Fuck.”
    Good luck!

  • adriana January 26, 2012, 10:52 am

    I don’t think it’s ridiculous for you to be 25 and live in fear of embarrassment, ridicule and failure. A LOT of us are like that! It took me YEARS to get past feeling embarrassed about how other people could potentially see me, and I still won’t do karaoke. But – I’m glad you’re taking steps to get past some of that stuff! Because here’s the thing – you’re awesome!

    Yes, I only know you through blogging, and you could be totally different in person and I wouldn’t know it. But, from my point of view – you rock. You are in a job you actually seem to like and excel at, you do fun things, you run freakin’ half marathons! You’re funny, and interesting, and I’m always excited when you comment on my blog (even though we don’t have the same taste in movies) because you give good advice and perspective.

    So yeah – get out there and just DO! And take a photo of yourself in a scarf, I LOVE scarves and think you’ll look great in one!

  • Jerry January 29, 2012, 8:31 am

    I once read a snippet that stuck with me: “Don’t worry about what people think of you, ’cause they don’t”.

    That stopped me short. We want people to think of us, except when we don’t. So we worry about it. But if you see someone that seems different or strange or odd, you maybe think of it for three seconds and it is erased from your memory. Sadly, or happily, or whatever — that happens to us to.

    Best to ya’.

  • Keely January 29, 2012, 9:28 pm

    Just claim you’re drunk. That’s what I always do.

  • Charm City Kim February 2, 2012, 11:16 am

    This post was really surprising for me! I wouldn’t guess you to be afraid of anything (I think you’re one of the funniest bloggers and blog commenters out there!).

    I like your new motto and may have to adopt it myself. While I’m not afraid of scarves or karaoke, I am afraid of lots of trivial things (and lots of non-trivial things like serial killers and rapists).

    The funny thing about that is that when I’m awkward on the internet, people think it’s hilarious. When I’m awkward in real life they just look uncomfortable and stare at me like I’m stoned.

    Also, I’m just throwing this out there, but I think serial killers and rapists are on the “Good to Be Afraid Of” list of fears.

  • ThatWhiteGirl February 7, 2012, 8:46 pm

    I used to be like that too. I went out for dinner alone once and it was the most terrifying experience ever. I didn’t do it again for 5 years. But there came a time when I realized that if I’m always waiting for someone else to do things with me, I’ll never do things. Since then, I’ve broken out of my shell completely. I even went to Mexico alone in November. How’s that for brave, eh? Good for you, keep it up, and remember, it only gets easier and less awkward the more you do it!

  • Christine February 19, 2012, 9:11 am

    You would totally look great in a scarf. And now, with Pinterest, you can make your own!

    I wish I was so self aware at your age. Even now, you inspire me to change and to do.

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