If you ask me, there’s nothing worse than jumping off a high dive. Unless you are pushed. And that’s exactly what cancer is like.
I wasn’t ready to dive into the chilling waters of breast cancer. Swim through weeks of radiation. Or tread through years of meds. I found myself looking out over the deep end of worry and fear, then suddenly, I was plunging in.
Growing up, I was the kid at Tanglewood Swim Club who would climb to the top of the high dive, walk to the end, and then stand there for what seemed like hours, staring at the water and contemplating my fate. Which, of course, was always death.
If you jump from something this high, I reasoned, you’ll die. It was that simple.
Day after day I would face My Giant. Today’s the day, I’d tell myself.
But no matter how stalwart my resolve, I always came to the same conclusion. And I’d climb down and make everyone waiting on the ladder behind me, climb down, too.
I knew they resented me, the girl in the pink polka-dot two piece. I was a wimp. A nerd. A scaredy cat. (It did help that my handsome older brother was a lifeguard and surely saved me from some terrible fate.)
But this post is not about cancer or dying. It’s about living. Here’s what I’ve learned.
It was my unexpected dive into cancer that taught me to have faith. To trust. When you’re on your way down, the best place to look is up.
Secondly, it taught me that there really is a fate worse than death. And that is to never really live at all.
So I began living. Wide-eyed-in-your-face-out-loud-living. And that is when some of my great adventures began.
First, there was Paris (my post-radiation trip—thank you, Stephen).
Then Rwanda, the Land of a Thousand Hills.
In a few weeks I’m heading to London for my five-year survivor trip (I fancy being the cheeky blonde, below, second from the right).
But my newest and most fearful adventure is Defying Small, the online community I recently founded for visionaries who are daring to live bigger, more passionate lives. People like Torre DeRoche (you go, girl!) the #fearfuladventurer herself.
This summer I will be writing a book called Defying Small: How Defining Life Moments Can Help You Live A Bigger, More Passionate Life. I’m terrified. I also can’t wait to get out of bed every morning.
I’ve come a long way since those climbs up the ladder of the high dive back in my hometown.
Now, whenever I look over the terrifying precipice of my latest adventure and contemplate my fate, I simply shout “Let’s go, baby!” and dive right in.
This post is part of the My Fearful Adventure series, which is celebrating the launch of Torre DeRoche’s debut book Love with a Chance of Drowning, a true adventure story about one girl’s leap into the deep end of her fears.
“Wow, what a book. Exciting. Dramatic. Honest. Torre DeRoche is an author to follow.” Australian Associated Press
“… a story about conquering the fears that keep you from living your dreams.” Nomadicmatt.com
“In her debut, DeRoche has penned such a beautiful, thrilling story you’ll have to remind yourself it’s not fiction.” Courier Mail