Just Say Yes to Everything, Except Roller Coasters.

I’ve been telling people I was going to write this post for weeks now.

As you can imagine, I never made it onto the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride at Disney World. I read over and over about how it was family-friendly and smooth and easy, but I took one look at the people hurtling through the air and screaming, and I knew I wanted out. This doesn’t make me proud, or does it? There is stepping outside your comfort zone, and then there is putting your body in unnecessary stress to do.. what? Prove a point? My family doesn’t bug me about it. I’m the only one who bugs me about it. I can do heights and planes and boats and trains. I can do mountain tops and hot air balloons and helicopters. I CAN do speed. I can’t do spinning and I can’t do loss of control. I can do this dinosaur ride, although I was shaking before it:

I guess it remains to be seen what it will take to get me on even a kiddie roller coaster. I know there’s something out there, to jumpstart the bravery and tear down the wall. I know it. It doesn’t seem to be love or doughnuts, because I’ve tried both of those things. It doesn’t seem to be alcohol, because it remains to be seen, mostly, what it will take to get me to drink!

Although last week after a morning Pure Barre class, I took a mimosa from the staff! Me! What did it take to just say yes?

An hour of scary exercising, of course. You tend to feel brave after that.

It’s like how after the biggest full-body workout of my life – giving birth – I was brave and unafraid of pretty much everything, for awhile. Planes and trains and vomits and pains. “Pain don’t hurt,” I said, channeling Patrick Swayze in Road House.

And for awhile? That actually worked.

All of my life there has been a wall and a divide, in between doing things fluidly, and doing things only passably, if even so. It all started with our Drama Club Banquets, every spring of high school. I was “only” in stage crew, and running crew at that, but I got invited to the banquets. I’m sure I was more of a dancer as a child, the way I am now when no one’s watching at home – save for Cassidy, Scarlet, Des, Athena and Penny – but somehow, that stuff changes in adolescence. I lost my mojo. I was always stiff and awkward, at BEST! That’s if I got out of my chair! Stiff, awkward, and all too aware of my own movements. It was at that banquet, freshman year, when the veil lifted and the wall evaporated. I could not stop dancing.

I had no idea where it was coming from. All I knew was motion and melody. Even when the lights went up and people started gathering their belongings, I danced all the way to the parking lot, where my mom picked me up. What had changed? Was I changed? Was it for keeps? Well, yes and no. I was changed in that I knew what I was capable of, but would the veil fall back down and would the wall clamp back down? Of course, many times over. Even now, it still happens. I haven’t found the magical formula. Sometimes I can’t reach it. I can’t lift it. I can’t.. do anything. I can’t. It seeps into nearly everything I do.

And that means nearly everything.

Math blocks and writer’s block. Writing until it stops. Photos until it stops. Love & affection and restaurant choices and movie theaters and more and more dance floors and work and emails and simple RSVPs and gift giving and exercise and meditation.

I get stuck in my own head. The veil comes down and the wall comes up.

I have a lifelong learning disability; a block. And I’m only recently learning how to heal it. Heal from it.

It must be a heart thing. Sometimes it’s wide open and sometimes it’s clamped shut. Mostly it’s somewhere in-between, toggling back and forth through the elements, experiences and moods. How do I lift the veil and evaporate the wall?

How do I open the heart, little by little, letter by letter, better by better?

It’s also a head thing. How do I do things without fear, or with at least less fear and nausea?

What stops the fluidity? What stops the raw and natural instincts?

Why isn’t there an in-between?

Why does it mostly seem to be either completely unstoppable, or nearly completely stopped?

How can I break through?

Can you help me?

How do YOU prevent or treat the shutdown?

In the meantime, I will just say yes to…


Date nights.

New experiences. New friends. New jobs. New life.

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  1. I completely get it. Sometimes, there really is no in-between! Just one extreme or another. Perhaps, I should just say, yes to somethings. I’m already saying, “Sure, whatever”, LOL!

    1. I have trouble with it. Also, saying “no” is important too. I think that’s where my roller coasters fall in. We all have our own versions of “roller coasters.” The stuff that doesn’t feel good, so why put ourselves through it??

  2. I’ve already suggested “Das Energi” to you. I was reading it this morning myself.

    Confession: I wanted to be an astronaut, and as both a pilot and a doctor, I have decent credentials, that is until I rode the “Tilt-a-Whirl!” lol!

    1. haha, we all have that one ride that will knock us flat. That’s probably mine too, actually.
      I have Das Energi on my wishlist on Amazon! Time to move it into the cart.

  3. Beautiful photos!

    I just posted on Facebook and Instagram about my struggles today. I have major anxiety about a lot of things and it causes me to miss out on a lot – but sometimes I know that i have to say no because I couldn’t handle it.

    1. I have an anxiety disorder myself! I started being more open about it last year and it amazes me how many there are of us. I totally get saying “no.” I go through periods of time where I have to do that a lot more.

  4. I said it once before today, but still we are so twins. Do you know I never ended up going on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train either last year at Disney. Lily wanted no part and secretly I was just as happy not to go on. Kevin took Emma and she loved it, but still I was so much more of a chicken than my 6 year old – sad but true. With going back this year, I am going to play it by ear and see though, because still got to try to experience it if nothing else. So couldn’t agree more with you – not that I would that would shock you! 😉

    1. Well that dinosaur ride above is at Universal and I only went the once. Last year, the line was too long. This year, the line was too long.
      (and I wasn’t upset about it)
      Next year might not be my chance because with the price we paid on the trip, I’m thinking we’ll skip a year and wait until the kids are 5 and 8. So maybe we’ll go to the Caribbean or something! And surely, I’ll face new fears there.

  5. One thing I can add to this is that after loving roller coasters, intent on Coney Island’s “Cyclone” and that ended it. However, I did take Scarlet on the Land of Make Believe baby coaster and it was awesome!!!!

  6. I can’t do roller coasters…or ferris wheels…or anything spinny or fast. I’m not even scared of them (well maybe a little on things that go upside down) but they make me so sick. I’m done for the day after one of those things. Not to mention it’s too risky with my neck anyway. That said, I have anxiety about plenty of things…

    1. That’s interesting! Can you do cars, planes and trains ok? My old co-worker once told me that if he got motion sick from a ride, it wouldn’t fade for EIGHT hours. I thought that was so surprising. I’m not sure I’ve ever really got motion sick from a ride, but there’s definitely a period of time after getting out of a car sometimes. Not eight hours, though! Maybe eight minutes.

  7. I cannot do roller coasters anymore. Loved them, but now as an adult my inner ear gets all messed up and makes me naseous and sick. Ick! I think we all have a veil that comes and goes. Sometimes at the oddest times. I am pretty shy and uber self conscious and once in the middle of one of my toddlers epic meltdowns at a store I looked around and realized I did not care one bit what anyone thought of me. Then other times that veil falls again. Its a constant.

    1. I get that!
      Sometimes I care what others think and other times I’m all like, “I’m going to dance through the streets in purple pants and wave to everyone I see!!”
      I don’t even get motion sick so the roller coaster thing is just pure fear. Like a phobia! Irrational.

  8. First, I think taking a pure barre class takes more courage than riding a roller coaster:) Second, I have things that make me anxious as well. Often I find that rather than forcing myself to move forward, if I wait, I would have bursts of courage when I am willing to take the scary step. Knowing that these bursts of courage will come gives me peace.

    1. Why, thank you! It was scary the first time, and even scarier the third time. Who knows why? Probably because I was not resting enough between classes and I was feeling the burn!
      I do know that the bursts of courage will come. They always do!

  9. Ugh, as I said before, I can’t really do roller coasters. I was seriously screaming like a crazy person on the Mine Train ride. The photo is hilarious. I’m like screaming like it’s a huge drop or something.

    I love date nights!

    1. The whole thing looks like a big drop to me! Except when they go into the mines. I’m really weird. Logically, I can see that it’s not that scary but I hate that feeling in my stomach for long periods of time. Makes me feel out of control.

  10. Control. Who knew that word would be my block. Control has held me back from so many things, because I need that firm grasp, I do not like things up in the air, without my seal of approval. Unfortunately, we cannot control it all, but we can help ourselves with coping with not being 100% in control all the time.
    I think you’re doing wonderfully with that, you’re doing new things and new can be scary and out of your control, but it’s good! You’re in a Barre class that’s pretty darn HUGE!
    Today, I was proud of myself for staying after my art docent lesson and chatting with another mom for almost an hour freezing outside in the cold. 🙂

  11. Beautiful pictures! I can do roller coasters, but not watching a video with a constantly moving camera…the prime reason I cannot watch vlogs on YouTube…Crazy!

  12. Life is a roller coaster when you add up all the days and months and years and look back and wonder how you managed to get through all of it. You’re saying “Yes” to all the right things Tamara, and as far as I’m concerned, your head and heart are always in the right place. Here are two more things to say “Yes” to: cookies with rainbow sprinkles, and moose sighting expeditions. I love all your family photos, and what a beautiful sunset over the ocean!

    1. I was just thinking about rainbow sprinkles! I haven’t had them in awhile, believe it or not.
      And yes to sunsets! This one was a sunrise, but we see sunsets over the bay in Cape Cod in the summer. And perhaps, after five years, I’ll finally get back to San Francisco and Ocean Beach.

  13. I don’t do roller coasters. I’m afraid of heights and they feel so unsafe to me. It works out, though, because my hubby likes roller coaster, but hates all the things that go round and round. So, I do the “spinny” rides & he does the coasters. Although, we haven’t been to an amusement park of any kind in ages. I totally need to get out of my head. Not for fear, but just other stuff that I keep getting myself down about. Love the snow pics!

    1. That works out great! With both kids being young, it’s worked out that Des isn’t tall enough for many things, so he’s my “excuse” while the other two go on scarier rides.
      We shall see how that develops as he gets older. He may not be a daredevil like Scarlet.

  14. I think finding the things you can say yes to help fight the desire to shutdown. Sometimes it’s hard to find those things, but then carousels happen and homemade cookies and movie nights, and suddenly the world seems more yes than no. Right now I’m searching for those things to say yet to 🙂

  15. You’re not alone; I avoid roller coasters when possible. I don’t like that strange stomach feeling when you drop down. Even carousels weird me out with the spinning round and round lol.

    1. What’s weird is that I can do carousels just fine. And the Dumbo ride, and all rides like it. Not even a second of dizziness. Yet when I was a child and you spun me around in the air? I’d instantly feel it.

  16. I’m often in that same strange place. I’m not sure, for me, that there is an answer. I just take it day by day, and try to take one small step forward. Maybe someday I’ll finally get there. I do love roller coasters though!

    1. I think if I finally get in the right headspace while I’m also standing near a roller coaster, it will be a big deal. Almost symbolic. I guess it’s indicative of a larger fear. I hope I conquer it!

  17. I think that roller coasters are highly overrated. As long as you say yes to the thing that matters. But I get it. In 2014 I rode flight of the griffyndor which was small and no bigs–even my 3yo had so much fun on it. In 2015 I got on again and never again. The boys however rode it several more times. There is a time to say yes and a time to say no, but I think it all depends on how much you can handle.

    1. Wow, I didn’t even think Des was big enough for that one! Scarlet and Cassidy always do that once twice in a row. Apparently, it’s easy to find a way to sneak on! Shh…

  18. I can’t say yes to any rides. |(I even get nauseous on the carousels.) But I say yes to holding keys and wallets and tickets so that others can ride. And I get to take lots of pictures, so it works out.
    I can’t get over Athena’s eyes in those snowy photos – so big and dark and expressive.

    1. I LOVE holding cotton candy for people, and taking ride photos. That said, I don’t get motion sick so everyone knows it’s just my fears. Sometimes they drag me on. Carousels don’t make me dizzy, luckily, but faster spinning things do.

  19. Oh my goodness, I thought it was just me. I’d say YES to anything but roller coasters. I can do the kiddie ones with Madison and even those are sometimes scary. My kids are so the total opposite. They went on EVERY roller coaster at Disney and at Universal, and there are plans to ride them all again this year at Six Flags. As for me I’ll stay with my feet planted firmly on the ground. 🙂

    1. That’s like Scarlet. She will go on ANYTHING. I’m not yet sure about Des. He seems pretty mellow about it all, but I don’t know if he is truly old enough to know what’s going on.
      Heck, I’m not sure I even do.

  20. i can’t do roller coasters or spinny things either. the thought of it already makes me want to puke. i thought whale watching would be perfectly fine, but even that was horrible. i spent the whole time wishing it would end.

    1. Oh no! I went whale watching about ten years ago, which feels like yesterday. It was a pretty smooth boat so everyone was ok but there was a guy there who had to constantly snack in order to be ok. It was fine in the end!
      And my father-in-law just gets a prescription for a patch to wear so he won’t get sick.

  21. How do you do it? How do you take me on a journey of giggles, to oh’s and ahh’s, to tears in my eyes.

    I get it though… that in between – where is it? I feel pulled to varying extremes and I just kind of want to stay on flat, even ground. Speaking of which, I can’t do rides either – no rides – all of them make me sick. Oh, and I have my friend’s wedding in March that I’m flying to… all by myself… and my nerves have been on edge since I purchased the ticket three weeks ago. Anxiety is brutal.

    Thanks for sharing. I love your writing… combined with the pictures, it’s a gorgeous emotional journey.

    1. I appreciate your feedback. When I write the most raw like this.. it’s nice to know my readers are on a journey. Same way I get on your blog!
      I don’t get motion sick but I get scared. I have gotten better with flying but I have a long way to go. I have flown once a year for several years now and let’s just say that people can’t tell I’m scared.
      Even when I am.

    1. haha! Bring it on. I’ve never done pilates. I always imagine people laugh at me at Pure Barre, but so far, no one has. I’m going tonight for a basics class. It’s like slow motion Pure Barre. I might die.

          1. I talk really loud. And I was kinda making fun of the whole situation with my friend (under my breath?) and laughing… And well, the teacher didn’t really appreciate that, LMFAO!!! Everyone else was laughing though. he he he he! Reminds me of back in the day in college, I used to do that all the time – I cannot control my verbal vomit! LOL! It just comes out – wooooops!

  22. “Stiff, awkward, and all too aware of my own movements.” <– Oh, how I could relate to this, and the veil being lifted. (In my case, it was at a club in Israel the summer before I turned 15.) That veil lifted and how I could move and felt the URGE to dance. When I first moved to Boston with my best friend we'd often be the first one on the dance floor. And yet…since hitting my 30s I feel like that veil has lowered again and I have become stiff, awkward, and too deep in my thoughts about how I think I look versus just going with it. That's why I like going to Zumba, though, because we're all just flailing about and enjoying the music and not caring about how we look.

    1. Zumba, huh? I just found out we have cheap classes right here in Northampton. That’s on my list as well as yoga and Pure Barre. I just feel like I couldn’t keep up, or I’d look dreadful.
      Maybe all the more reason!
      Also, Zumba pants are my favorite.

  23. I’m so proud of you for going to barre! I have never tried it, want to teach me? It’s fun to say Yes to certain things, and it’s also calming to be able to say no to others. There’s no reason to do anything that you think will be awful, chances are it probably is! HAHAHA I remember hating every ride, now I like “most”…..

    1. I’m doing a basics Pure Barre class tonight! I probably should have started with that. It’s 20 minutes longer than a regular class because it’s like Pure Barre in slow motion – going over each move.
      And yet, that means 75 minutes of exercise!
      If I survive it, I’ll teach you. And take photos and stuff. Because.. survival should happen!

  24. Fear gets to me too. But it’s good to say yes to new opportunities. Often times that things we fear actually turns out to be kind of fun. I’m glad you are saying yes 🙂

    1. You are so right! And my mom always says that the things you dread the most are often the things you enjoy the most in the long run. I love when that happens.

  25. I’ve been in shut down mode for days now…. this hits me hard in the heart. I get it. You painted this picture so beautifully-what happens to me as well. I freeze. Paralyzed. Unable to do, to write, to process the world around me and one day the veil lifts and opens every pour of my being and I can once again LIVE and be liberated to do, to write, to process the world around me. Anxiety is my culprit. But there are other times when I wake up frozen for no apparent reason..

    Wait it out. Trust the freedom will come once again. Oh, it feels suffocating at times, doesn’t it? I can barely breathe when I’m deep in those locked cells.

    I love you.

    1. And, I, love you.
      Trusting the freedom is the ticket. It all cycles back around – the good and the bad. I’ve noticed that the good cycles back stronger after the bad. And the bad doesn’t really gain the momentum the good gains.
      Sheesh, I think I just wrote a psychobabble children’s book!

  26. Oh, Tamara, how I relate to this post. I also have that mental block when facing my fears. Rollercoasters top my list. I cannot bring myself to sign up for that kind of lack of control. I like the feel of my feet on the ground. 🙂

    1. It’s strange because so many people talk of motion sickness being the reason they don’t go on roller coasters. For me, it’s the loss of control. And it’s so quick – too quick to even lose control or get motion sick! The mine train ride is two minutes long.
      I hope.. maybe next year.

  27. Oh thank goodness for date nights, beaches and air!!! I think sometimes we are in transition just to prepare for the next phase. Whether that be a job change, personal change or emotional change. So say yes to the things that matter most in the meantime (except rollercoasters for me – they terrify me).

  28. I understand this. Completely. But I also think that you say yes to a lot more than you might realize. And sure, in life there might not be a rhyme or reason as to why one day you have dancing feet and the next you’re turned off by the dance floor. And maybe you might never be completely 100% okay with getting on an roller coaster or any machine that causes you to lose control for a few… but you know what? THAT’S OKAY. It’s perfectly okay to admit that we can’t do and be all things at all times and I so WISH there were an in-between that I could comfortably nestle into with you but you’re amazing just the way you are 🙂

    PS: your kids? In super hero capes?! The cutest.

    1. Oh my god, yes. It might NEVER be ok to me to go on a roller coaster. It’s been this big obstacle in my life. I think I look at it like a symbol – I need to break through. Maybe I will. There’s a cute, kiddie one near my parent’s house. I can hyperventilate into a paper bag before it.
      Thanks about the super heroes!!

  29. I can’t wait to go on the Mine Train…but I have my own version of roller coasters, and I feel like I’m old enough to know what I can’t do and be okay with that.

    I can’t seem to find that in-between either. Why is that? It’s like my brain doesn’t know 2 through 9 – it only knows 1 and 10.

  30. I love this post. I know I asked you a long time ago – but asking again because I forgot – do you write the post and then find the pictures or do you see the pictures and write the post in your hear. The pictures of Athena were perfect for your ending.

    I’m not much of a dancer in public. I went through a fearless phase and somewhere along the line that switch turned off. I had no dancing at my wedding. Not even father and daughter. It was a mingling kind of wedding reception.

    1. It’s funny because I was thinking about how I do that with posts/photos just the other day and I was remembering that you said you liked how I did it and I was worried I had lost that magic touch.
      So thank you. You have no idea what that means.
      It’s all serendipity. Sometimes the posts come first and then I fill in with photos I happen to be editing. Sometimes I just use photos I’ve already edited, but it’s a mish mash. Often the photos and words all come at once and I’m just like.. “oh. right.”

  31. I tried pure Barre a few years ago. Hardest exercise I ever did…and I hurt!!!!! As for shutting down, I do it too. And I don’t have a quick fix…but mimosas are a step in the right direction.

    1. Maybe a second mimosa is a quick fix. I shall try that!
      Pure Barre is tough. I need to go back because I paid for a month and it’s unlimited, so really, I should be there right now! (but I’m so not)

  32. I think that push and pull is universal. We all have something that makes us go Full Stop. We all have moments when we don’t know how to stop, and couldn’t if we tried. I think it’s because no one is ever just one person. That’s what makes us interesting, and life challenging. Pain and fear wake us up. And I don’t think we have to be ashamed of whatever those things are. I think we should have the right to feel them, absorb them, and in our time overcome them. Gah… there’s a quote by Jim Morrison that says it so much better. I gotta go find it.

    1. Did you find it?? I was actually just thinking today about the roller coaster thing and how part of me just thinks it’s ok if I never do it. The bigger part of me wants to tackle it because I don’t get motion sickness. If that were the case, I wouldn’t bother. It’s the fact that it’s fear.
      I’ll try the baby roller coaster near my parent’s house this summer. I will!

      1. I did find it!! And a host of others. Have you ever read his poetry? It’s a trip man. LOL Anyway:

        “People are afraid of themselves, of their own reality; their feelings most of all. People talk about how great love is, but that’s bullshit. Love hurts. Feelings are disturbing. People are taught that pain is evil and dangerous. How can they deal with love if they’re afraid to feel? Pain is meant to wake us up. People try to hide their pain. But they’re wrong. Pain is something to carry, like a radio. You feel your strength in the experience of pain. It’s all in how you carry it. That’s what matters. Pain is a feeling. Your feelings are a part of you. Your own reality. If you feel ashamed of them, and hide them, you’re letting society destroy your reality. You should stand up for your right to feel your pain.”

  33. I’m pretty sure I can do rollercoasters as I’ve done it quite a few times but I’m not sure how it would be if I get to gigantic rollercoasters. In highschool, my best friend and I did 4 rounds of ferris wheel non-stop and our school nurse was so concerned that we’d throw up or something, we didn’t. My word of the year is explore so I told myself I’d say yes to opportunities but I also think that it’s perfectly okay to say no and not bug myself too much about it.

    1. That’s funny! I could do the ferris wheel over and over. It doesn’t really induce any kind of sickness. A big roller coaster over and over.. not sure about that!
      Oddly I can do carousels repeatedly.

  34. Oh how I get this. Sometimes life has no in-between. And sometimes, you just have to say no to things like roller coasters…until it’s finally time to say ‘yes.’

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