Our new challenge involves stepping outside our comfort zones and taking on projects that stretch the boundary between “No problem” and “No way.” We asked you, our friends and readers, to name this challenge, because nobody liked “The Aww Hell No Girl You Crazy Challenge.” You certainly came up with some! Well! You called us middle-aged women, belligerently defied the rules by submitting multiple entries, and restated the obvious in eighty-seven ways. But some we really liked. I liked the Monty Python suggestion: “The No Ordinary Rabbit Challenge.” However, Jujube entered more than one idea, so if we pick that one, some officious beezlenut baker will likely point out that her entry was outside the rules. Same thing with Dawn and “Cut the Rut” which I really like because it rhymes and would fit into our category list on just one line. I also really like Jeanie’s ”Discomfort Zone” and I think that one really best summarizes the idea. But… too many entries, Jujube and Dawn and Jeanie. Joshilyn said the rules were “official” and also “very strict” so that reads to my unsubtle mind as serious. Mysterious, but serious. Which would not be a good challenge name, even though it does rhyme.
The winner is “The I Dare You Challenge” by Becky. Becky didn’t link to anything so I don’t even know if she left an email, but if she did, she wins. If she didn’t, and she doesn’t respond to this, and we never find her, even if we crawl on bleeding stumps to the ends of the earth to find the one true Becky who named one of several brief challenges of questionable significance which we will complete this year, then the ARC goes to Jessica Tudor, who really wants it, and liked “Mandatory Discomfort” (which was my idea), plans to participate in the challenge, and also promised to come back and enter but then scampered off and *never did come back* which is so like us she might as well be the sixth plate. So. Challenge done. Category added. I Dare You. And I’m up first.
I am thirty-seven. I have two kids. Do you dare me to start a rock band? Done.
And right now, I’m feeling pretty ill. Standing behind a microphone with a guitar in my hand used to be very comfortable for me. I played in bands for years when I was in my teens and twenties. Folk duo, rock four-piece, trippy ensemble, even a Depeche Mode cover band for a few brief weeks. Here’s something you maybe didn’t know about me: I played rhythm guitar in a thrash metal band that practiced in a goat barn and was called Uncle Earwig. True story. But that was a long time and two kids ago. Now I play acoustic guitar along to nine-year-olds conjugating Latin verbs or reciting Kipling or chirping truths about simple machines. A few weeks ago, all that changed, as my friend Kim and I started “jamming,” working up a few covers, toying with the idea of playing in public. It is new, we are not ready, but I’m putting us out there anyway, because if I wait until we’re ready, we’ll never be ready. What you hear on that MySpace page is one of our practices, which we recorded with an ambient recording thinger, and there it is. Proof that I am doing it.
In some ways, getting that guitar back in my hand feels really great. But in some ways, it’s like I’ve gone insane, and I’m waiting for someone to approach me gently and tell me to put some pants on before I leave the house. As I push the “Publish” button on this post, I’m wildly uncomfortable. I haven’t done this in a very long time. But you know what? Here we go.
My assignment for next week: Band photos. I can feel my stomach churning already. Comfort zone is gone — I think I’ve burned it to the ground. So what’s your assignment? How are you going to push yourself backward off a cliff?