Well, this is my Year of Fear (lessness). I realized it when I was looking over my 36 Things. This year I have a lot going on that's primarily about taking back my dark night of the soul. And someone asked me the other day, why I've chosen to go from as little physical activity to weight training of all things.
My answer was that it was a metaphor. I've been strong, really strong for the past few years. I've survived a whole lot and thrived through most of it. I'm standing taller now than I have for years and years. In short, I am a pretty kickass lady. Except that it's all metaphorical. I'm metaphorically strong and physically pitiful. I'm going to change that. (If it kills me, which, you know, right after a day at the gym, it kinda feels like it might.)
So, let me tell you about why I've never given blood:
It's freakin' scary.
No, really. I once passed out when I was having blood taken for testing. My arm felt like it was on fire and the fire spread to my head and I thought I was going to throw up, but luckily(?) I passed out instead. When I woke up, I had a very annoyed phlebotomist, a cold compress and the world's tiniest apple juice cup.
I don't like needles. I don't like the way it looks when they pierce your skin. I don't like the way the skin depresses and then seems to suck itself up around the needle.
I don't like tourniquets. They make my hand hurt. Yes, my hand. For a long time.
I don't like the smell of rubbing alcohol.
And I mean, really, that's just for a couple of little vials with some kind of sludge in their bottoms. I couldn't even imagine the horror of someone sucking out an entire bag of blood. Plus, I've watched enough vampire movies and shows about nice guy vampires to not be able to picture those things in any context other than being ripped open by someone's teeth.
So, today, facing my fear like a big girl, I walked into a bloodmobile. (I can't believe my spell check knows what that is, but has a problem with kickass.) Anyway, I walked in and sat down and started answering questions. My hands were shaking so badly that I dropped everything they gave me. Literally. My thermometer hit the floor.
By the time we got to the mini-physical, my legs were shaking too. When it looked for a moment like my surgery in April might disqualify me, I nearly burst into tears. I was afraid that it I walked out, that would be it and I'd never get up the nerve to give again. I was relieved that I might leave without a hole in my arm. Mostly, I was just too scared to answer questions.
It all turned out fine, though and I went to lay on the couch-y thing. The worst part was the waiting. Next time, I'm taking a book. Is that rude?
|Look at that bandage. It's a blue badge of courage.|
I got a brownie out of it, though. And a tee shirt. And, of course, the knowledge that someone, somewhere might need that blood and I might just keep them from bleeding out. (Or starving to death, I'm not discounting vampires.) Mostly, though, I got the knowledge that I could take this terrifying thing and stare it in the eye and with a wavery voice and shaking knees, and say, "Come at me."