What Will You Do to Prove You’re No Coward?

Dares haven’t moved me since I was seven or so.  I don’t care if anyone else thinks I’m a coward. Most people who care about dares are idiots. For evidence: the Darwin Awards.

But apparently I care a lot if I think I’m a coward.

I chickened out of something last week, and now I’m sorry.

I had an assignment from my business class to interview ten business owners. I talked to a few, but I didn’t talk to ten… mostly because calling strangers and asking them personal questions is outside my comfort zone.

Leaving the assignment incomplete bothered me, but not nearly as much as feeling like a coward.

So I started the new week looking for a way to prove my non-cowardice to myself.

And then someone announced a blood drive this Saturday.

Now, I have a thing about needles.

Not a fear of needles.

I assure you, when I walk across an empty parking lot after dark, I don’t look over my shoulder for any needles sneaking up on me. I don’t turn pale when I see a pack of needles in the craft section. When I was learning how to quilt and the sewing machine needle ran over my finger, it didn’t give me nightmares.

So not a fear.

But when the healthcare professionals in my life draw my blood to determine What’s Wrong With Her (‘There must be something to explain it,’ they say), I begin experiencing the following symptoms before the needle even touches my skin: shortness of breath, chills, dizziness, nausea, faintness, weakness, clamminess, blurred vision, buzzing in the ears….

It’s just a thing. Definitely not a phobia. Who needs one of those?

And I’m always very proud of the bandage they give me. Look! I want to say. I bled for this! And I didn’t even punch anybody for sticking a needle in me!

So, because it’s not comfortable to live with the ‘COWARD??’ label hanging around in my head, me and my thing are going to a blood drive this morning.

For the first time.

They’re going to take a whole pint.

(I am going to die.)

And maybe next time I need to do something uncomfortable, I’ll remember that it’ll be much less painful to do the uncomfortable thing now than to do the terrifying thing I come up with later to reassure myself of my non-cowardice.

I’m sure this says something about my character. Or my mental health.

Or both.

Wish me luck.

[Update: I live! And now I have this t-shirt. I won’t call it free, since I had to bleed for the darn thing, but it is a nice t-shirt. And with the COWARD label banished once more, all is well in the world. For now….. (ominous music)]

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