Would you believe that I forgot I did two "Before 40" things in June! That fact is even more shocking when I tell you what I did. Maybe I blocked it from my memory since it was so traumatic.
For as long as I can remember, I have been completely terrified of snakes. I remember going to a friend's house in junior high and there was a tiny little garter snake on her walkway. I screamed so loud her mom almost called 911. I remember taking a class of preschool kids on a field trip to the zoo, and all of them asking why I was standing so far away from the snakes. I remember taking Dylan to a zoo class, and when the zoo lady pulled out a snake, sitting there shaking, trying not to let Dylan and the other kids see my fear.
I wanted to conquer my fear. So, one day when we were on our way home from a birthday party, we drove past a pet store. This wasn't a normal pet store, with sweet little puppies and kittens. It is an "exotic" pet store, and I knew what that meant. On a complete whim, I told Jim to pull in.
I explained to the worker that I was trying to conquer my fear of snakes, and she brought out "something small" - a corn snake. She let me take it slow... first she held it and I stood MUCH closer than I am comfortable standing to a snake. Then, I touched the back half, avoiding the head. Eventually, she let me hold it. At this point, every fiber of my being was screaming "RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY!", but there I stood, watching a snake slither up my arm. When its head starting going up pretty far, and it started sticking its tongue out, I finally had to bow out.
I will say that when you see the pictures, I look very calm. Apparently my body goes into shock and outwardly I appear calm and still, but inside I am FREAKING OUT. Oh, and I didn't breathe the entire time. It's a miracle I didn't pass out. I also realized afterwards, that while holding the snake I had absolutely no idea what Jim and Dylan were doing. Dylan could have been climbing into the king cobra's cage and Jim could have been making out with the owner. I wouldn't have known. I was completely focused on that darn snake. I conquered my fear. But, if I go past a garter snake and scream like a little girl... don't hold it against me.