JR’s Not-So-Literal Blog

A Lesson on Stepping Outside Of Your Comfort Zone

Posted in Uncategorized by notsoliteral on June 24, 2009

A tale of two adventures:

1. I always wanted my motorcycle license and to buy a motor bike. Speed and death defying stunts never inspired me to do this. The fact that all of the male figures in my life growing up had motorcycles made me want one. The idea of getting the hell out of the city for the day and going somewhere remote was also an attractive idea. Not that I can’t do any of that with a car, but I figured it’d be all the more reason to get outside and experience nature and the open road.

However, as a young, injury prone child, I was always warned of the danger of motorcycles. The women and men in my life told me to never get one and I defied them repeatedly with my efforts to get a Class M permit and give it a go.

Well, the past two days I finally took a motorcycle course and drive a motorized bike for the first time ever in my life. I learned how to drive a motorcycle by myself. Was it fun? Yes it was fun. But, I made the bike fall twice due to my mis-coordination of the accelerator and brake and had trouble making the precision turn course. The instructor was concerned and I was pretty much shaken up both days on the road course. Basically, after my first shake up, I tried pushing through the fear and nervousness, but in the end I was asked to forfeit the right to take the last two hours of the lesson. The instructor suggested I come back and do the entire class over again.

So, I tried soemthing I always wanted to try. I kinda sorta failed at it. I was nervous and under pressure to keep moving by all the people on the course. Could I have done better by myself in a parking lot teaching myself how to do simple drills? Probably. But, will I invest in a motorcycle like I planned to do before the class and press on despite my clear fear and lack of skill? No, I will not. Maybe I’ll try picking this up again later in life, but right now I value the prospect of my future and don’t trust myself enough to put myself out there anymore such as I did.

2. On a far less physically dangerous assignment, I took the opportunity to pose for Scott Erb’s Red Room project where he photographs as many people as possible over the course of a year to see how much personality and characater he can pull out of each person he photographs. He put a lot of technical and conceptual constraints on himself, some of which are limited equipment for the shoots and only natural sunlight can be used.

Scott wanted me to come as something goofy; I wasn’t sure if I wanted to come at all. I never felt photogenic taking pictures all my life and to have someo0ne on the other side of a camera trying to get something picturesque out of me and my persona was intimidating. Even though he suggested I come dressed as Abraham Lincoln, I just opted to come dressed up business casual with a few different shirts and a jacket.

After getting started I lost my awkward “I’m being photographed” smile and simply engaged Scott in whatever he wanted to talk about. I did my best to take direction as well as offer something more. The whole process was flattering, but introspective overall. We reviewed some of the pictures after and he told me he’d edit them and pick four for the portfolio by weeks end. I was so anxious to see what he was going to pick, but I waited patiently.

The pictures just came out the other night on his facebook site: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/album.php?aid=65873&id=678802762&ref=mf .

I was so shocked to see nice pictures of myself up on Scott’s page. I never expected to see pictures of myself that look so distinguished and grown-up. I’m so grateful to him for asking me to be part of the project. I’m hoping that lots more people who may not have experience being photographed give it a try as breaking that barrier is a unique experience that I can’t quite compare anything else to.

These are just two profound things that I’ve decided to write about that have happened in the past few days. Somehow, I think there will be quite a few more exciting things happening in the near future. Taking chances and making the best of these opportunities is what I’m really excited about too.


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