March 8, 2009

He Said "Jump." I Said, "How Cold?"

I would like to think that I am not so easily swayed. But this is part of the story, so I won't lie about it, however tempting it may be. This is how a girl afraid of cold decided to go swimming.

Only a week ago, there was a Facebook status about a guy (of course...doesn't it always begin this way?) doing the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics. The next day, a status in capital letters, "I'M CALLING YOU OUT" with a list of a few names, including mine. Impulsively, I texted him and asked if he was really doing it. The response came back "maybe." Knowing this boy, I knew it was already improbable. "I'm not doing it unless I know you're doing!" I told him. No response. I plugged my phone into the charger, and turned off the lamp on my nightstand.

I laid awake in bed looking at the blue, blurry numbers on the clock and thought about it. Assuming he wouldn't even be there, would I still be brave enough? It's not like I could raise any money-I don't know enough people. Of course, I could talk to people from work. Maybe my family. It can't be that hard. I turned the light back on, and pulled the covers back. I walked towards my bedroom door, and then turned right around, got back under my blankets and hit the light again. I can't do this! I'm not an outdoors-y, swim around with snakes type of girl. I am always cold, and I hate it. Plus, I definitely have super pale legs right now (yes, even this thought factored in, I'm afraid).

Then I had the deciding thought-it would be empowering! Despite all of that, or even because of all that. It's so unlike me that it needed to be done. I could get support for a good cause, and feel like I've accomplished something personally, too. Although it's not that crazy in actuality, it's a leap (haha) for me. I ran down the stairs, logged into the website, and sent out and email before I could back out again. I didn't sleep well that night.

The next day, I dutifully brought an envelope and pledge sheet, and sent out a email to everyone at work. I printed a few forms, spruced up my webpage, and plastered it all over Facebook. A few ten dollar bills came in, then $100, then more. I was amazed-not just at everyone's support for something worthy, but their support of me. There were donations from people I have never met. My boss told me she was going to come out to the lake, camcorder in hand. Then a coworker decided she was, too. A doctor I worked with made up the difference for my goal of $250. By day of the plunge, $440 had been raised. A split second decision turned into something amazing.

I prepared the way any girl in winter would-applying tanning lotion in layers every night and trying to subside on a liquid diet. That lasted for one meal. It then became a semi-liquid diet, and was forgotten altogether when that was broken by a footlong Subway sandwich. I tried on multiple swimsuits, looking for one not as beachy as the ones I owned already.

The night before the plunge was spent in a less noble way. I woke up at my friend's house wondering why I hadn't taken it easy considering what I had to do. After a quick shower, I threw on my bikini and shorts, pulled my hair up, and gathered the money and a beach towel. My dad drove out to the Lake of the Woods, having to stop when the night before caught up with me. He pulled over in time for me to open the door and lean over. This was not a picture of Mother Teresa, I thought to myself.

At the site by the lake, I saw the doctor there taking pictures with a fancy lens. People stood in groups with matching costumes, such as the Blagovich guys wearing masks, orange jumpsuits, and soap on a rope around their necks. I registered in a tent, and was told to head to the next table for a hoodie. When I got there, it was the wrong table- a lady asked, "Are you on a team? You can be on ours! Here's a t-shirt!" When I realized that their team would be jumping first, I slipped the shirt over my head and joined the group picture.

I saw my dad and coworkers standing together, watching as groups of ten ran down the bank and into the water. Sooner than I had expected, I was up. A couple little girls in viking hats stood next to me, a few guys to my left. A man using the radio station's microphone gave the count, and we sprinted towards the lake.

The water was surprisingly mild-not much worse than a swimming pool, other than the sand and the lake smell. It was so shallow where I was, I plunked down and reclined to get my hair wet-if I was going to do it, I wanted the full effect. We all ran back up to the crowd, t-shirts sticking to skin. There were laughs, and there was an interesting time trying to change into dry clothes again.

So thank you- Aunt and Uncle M. (who donated before I had a chance to blink!), Dad, and Jeff. Thanks to Steve at CMI, and to Sue, Bart, Lorrie, Kate, Kathy, Dr. Harms, and Glenett at Carle. Every one of you just got raised up on a pedestal for doing what you did. I was blown away by how awesome you all were!

And last but not least, thanks to James. Even if it was unknowingly, you pushed me from my comfort zone and into a cold lake in front of hundreds of people. I couldn't have done it without that nudge. But I did it, and I'm so very glad I did!

0 kind comments from you:

Post a Comment