Bravery by any other name.

Last week I posted a video of me face-planting into the water.  I thought I’d dip my toe in but then I realized how cold it was so I tried to back out but the water was not cooperating because it was all “I’m a not solid, idiot.  You can’t push off of me” and I was like “JESUS LIED TO ME”.   (Turns out I just wasn’t reading that part of the Bible well enough and I guess only Moses and Jesus could keep from falling into pools.)

Hailey recorded my ridiculous plunge and insisted I share the video online, and since she’s always letting me post pictures of her it seemed only fair.

I tried to embed it here but it doesn’t work so you have watch it here.  Or here’s a series of stills if you can’t watch videos of children laughing at their parents:


But what was weird was that someone called me “brave” for posting a video of me in a bathing suit.  First I thought they were just trying to insult me but then I realized that they weren’t.  I asked twitter, “Did we change the word ‘brave’ when I wasn’t looking?  ‘Brave’ is for saving orphans from a burning building made of bees.  Wearing a bathing suit to swim is ‘normal’.

Most of twitter agreed.  My friend Popehat added, “Honestly I think it was questionable judgement to house the orphans in the bee building in the first place.”

Other’s disagreed.  Like Justin Gibbs who countered, “Please use more realistic metaphors.  Everyone knows buildings made with bees are fire resistant.”

And then I went on to talk about diseased popsicles (later renamed Poxiclespatent pending) but later I was dragged back into the conversation by a few women who pointed out that to some, posting a video of themselves in a bathing suit would be much less frightening than running into a burning bee building.  This sounds a bit insane.

But they were absolutely right.

We all have weird fears.  Some of them are universal.  Some of them are odd.  All of them are valid as emotions even if they are irrational.  I don’t have a problem with a video of me in a bathing suit because I’m old enough to not care anymore…but I have an anxiety disorder sometimes makes me terrified to leave the house.  It’s completely irrational, but it’s me.  But sometimes the thing that gets me out of the house is seeing how easily everyone else does it.  They leave their room.  They talk to people.  They come home.  No one laughs at them.  They don’t think what they do is brave, but to me it’s inspiring.

So maybe that’s the way it is for some women in bathing suits.  I could tut-tut at them but being afraid of having your flaws exposed isn’t nearly as crazy as being afraid you might have to make small talk with the mailman, so I think we’re probably even.  We’re all a little crazy.  We’re all irrationally afraid of something.  We all project our own fears onto others sometimes.

So I’ll keep wearing my bathing suit if you keep leaving the house.  And maybe with time you’ll realize that posting an awkward faceplant into the water while your child video-tapes it and laughs hysterically at you is way more embarrassing than being an imperfect woman wearing appropriate swimming attire.  And maybe in time I’ll realize that strangers aren’t going to eat me, and that leaving the house is fun and good for me even when every molecule in my body screams otherwise.

Let’s go outside.  And talk to the mailman.  In our bathing suits.  And set bees on fire so we can rescue orphans from them.  Pick one.

We can work up to the scary ones together.

194 thoughts on “Bravery by any other name.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. Bravery may just be the acknowledging and embracing of our insecurities, and in the sharing of them. I will keep leaving the house if you keep wearing that bathing suit!

  2. If you don’t want strangers to eat you, you shouldn’t post videos of you in a bathing suit. You look delicious.

  3. This is one of my favorite of all your posts. I agree the the idiotic things I’ve done (and blogged about, in Particular a very embarassing sex related event) are way worse than being seen in a bathing suit!!

  4. Surviving in the woods by myself is much more appealing to me than talking to the mailman. I climbed half dome but you’d have to drag me into a mall. Idk what that is but it’s not sanity.

  5. I would wear a swimsuit (even though I am very self-conscious of my lumps and bumps) and attempt to hang out in a pool (even though I am a terrible swimmer) just to avoid having to make small talk at a party. I can’t figure out my rationale, but I can’t deny that those are the choices I would make.

  6. I am constantly reminding myself that “you are only brave if you are afraid of something.” As someone with anxiety and fears, it is easy to look at people who are fearless and think, “wow, they’re brave.” But they aren’t brave – they just aren’t afraid. I am afraid, but I go about my life anyway, and that makes me very brave. Those of us with fears require a lot more strength and bravery to go about our lives than people who are not afraid.

  7. Too many giant, man-eating mosquitoes to go outside but thank you. You’re am inspiration to many who have irrational anxiety and try to live a “normal” life.

  8. I got called brave for putting a full body shot on Match. Now I’m not much over “ideal” weight for my height and age. Grrr.

  9. The bees alone terrify me, never mind the fire and the orphans. I took beekeeping in college in hopes of getting over it, but it only made it worse.

  10. It’s a little brave to wear a bathing suit. But I was a LOT brave a few weeks ago… I went on vacation and DIDN’T wear a bathing suit

  11. I have a blog called The Daily Doom on blogger to specifically make fun of my weird fears. It’s a lot of fun sometimes to bring them out into the open. It sort of takes the power out of them. 🙂

  12. My last bathing suit was purchased quite a few pounds ago. Wearing it now would expose a lot more than just my flaws! 🙂

  13. One of my greatest fears is being somewhere (or more terrifyingly) at someone’s house and using their toilet and then breaking it. If I visit anyone’s house and use the potty, I have to stop and watch it flush properly and wait for the tank to stop filling before I can be done. It takes me awhile to use other potties, they probably guess I’m doing blow or stealing their towels. Or amassing a squirrel army, I feel like you could do that in a restroom?

  14. I am scared of silence with strangers so I fill it with inappropriate idle chit chat. I feel better. They feel worse. Somehow it works. Maybe it is a balance/libra thing.

  15. A POXICLE ON YOU! Followed by a Vaxicle to cure the disease. Speaking of which, when I was very young and reading historical romances, I thought when someone said “a pox on you!” they were wishing chicken pox on a person.
    I don’t have anything else relevant to add to the conversation.
    Except when I was young & reading those historical romance novels and they said “she’s got the pox” I also thought that meant that the [slutty girl] had chicken pox. Also they used to call those slutty girls “doxies”.
    Poxy Doxy. heee.

  16. Have you ever had a nightmare where you are walking along and something like a book is sitting on a table but in the dream it is absolutely terrifying and you just HAVE to wake up and scream a little bit? Brains are funny things.

    I get called a lot of things, but I rarely get called brave, so I’m probably not qualified to reply.

  17. My mother and I came to agreement on this. I take care of the mice and the snakes and she takes care of the spiders and “leggy” things. No questions. We don’t mention it when we do it, we just do it. That way we don’t freak each other out with just hearing that such things were in a 5-mile radius of us.

  18. Wait, are we still in that “the bees are dying and so, too, shall we because DOOM AND APOCALYPSE” warning phase? Because maybe we could set wasps on fire instead. Wasps are assholes, anyway.

  19. I don’t know why, but something in this post brought me to tears. So, I’ll keep leaving the house and going to work, where people tell me to go F myself (happened this morning right after I walked in the door). You wear the bathing suit. Eventually, we will both get there.

  20. I am an ample UK size 14 and will be visiting Nice with my UK size 8 marathon runner friend in a few weeks… The thought of wearing a bathing suit in the same vacuity as her scares the bejesus out of me….
    I’ll take the burning bees!
    Good on you xxxx

  21. You just totally unintentionally I’m sure made me think that maybe someday I won’t be so scared of writing on the Internet again, so thanks for that.

  22. The post seems brave to me as well, but my trigger is that I’m deathly afraid of people seeing me make a mistake or do something embarrassing. Any time you share something that shows that it’s okay to be human and imperfect, you make the world a bit better for a lot of us. Bless you!

  23. I’m afraid of failure.
    So, yes, I’m afraid ALL THE TIME…
    Compared to me these last few months, you’re friggin’ Dr. Freud, Jenny.

  24. I love your take on this, but I think you have a typo in that you say the swimsuit would be less frightening than the bees to some women. I wish we had more body positivity in the world!

  25. I have an insecurity about wearing bathing suits, but it’s particularly about me wearing them. I have a very irrational fear that my bikini line will have done some sort of magic growth spurt in a nanosecond and people will see and think a yeti is getting in the pool. I don’t care that I have cellulite, a rotund tummy where a waist should be – it’s my magical shaggy dog bikini line.
    So you keep wearing your bathing suits, everyone keeps leaving their houses and saving orphans from burning buildings made of bees, and I might just start to get over my fear! 🙂

  26. Let’s go outside. And talk to the mailman. In our bathing suits. And set bees on fire so we can rescue orphans from them. Pick one.

    Pick one? Screw that.

    Let’s set bees on fire so we can rescue orphans from them, in our bathing suits, while the mailman films it and uploads it to social media for us.

    I mean, if we’re gonna do this thing, let’s do it right.

  27. I don’t think I’ve been photographed in a bathing suit in at least 15 years, and I’ve spent some time as an out-of-shape firefighter… but bees are a bit too far. Call someone else to deal with those.

  28. My take on wearing a swimsuit? If I want to go swimming, I’m going. If you don’t like what I look like, whether it’s in a swimsuit, jeans and sweater, or my birthday suit, I’m going to point out that that’s what you have eyelids for. You don’t like what I look like? Not my problem; that’s your hangup, not mine.
    There’s a meme on FB about how to have a swimsuit body — buy a swimsuit, put it on your body.

  29. I’m of the fluffy persuasion, and I just bought a two piece bathing suit for the first time in my entire life. I just decided that if they make them to fit women my size, then clearly it was cool to buy one. And even wear it. Where other people could see me.

    We go to the beach in two months. I’m a little excited.

  30. Bees bees bees! I’m a pretty big home body and I know I should get out a little more. Once I actually take the step to get out, then I’m fine. 🙂

  31. Last year I went to the ocean with some friends and their kids and there’s a great picture of me and one of the little girls going into the ocean for the first time (first time every for the 4 year old). A picture of us was taken and the taker promised not to post online. I told her to post it immediately. The 4 year old’s excitement, wonder, awe needed to be seen and my thighs could give two shits about the attention or lack of attention. (Also, the mailman is terrifying… that’s why dogs bark at them.)

    I also just posted a picture of myself that my BFF (we’re in our late 30s so we can use that term again, right?) said was the worst picture she’d ever seen of me… I posted it because the worst picture of me MUST be seen. By everyone. Because sometimes my face must look like that and other people see it when I’m at work and in yoga and laying around by the ocean, so why not share it in perpetuity.

    I’m sorry you fell in the water because you’re not Jesus. Jesus’ job sounds really hard so I think you got off easy.

  32. Why can’t I “thumbs up” all of these comments? Because they are fantastic. As is your post. I can’t agree enough with Fillyourownglass: “Bravery may just be the acknowledging and embracing of our insecurities…”

  33. I have no qualms about traveling halfway around the world by myself but I shrink in fear whenever I have to make a phone call, even to someone I know (and like). The hell?!?

  34. I heard this on the radio last night and thought of you…keep on being amazing Jenny.

  35. Oy… all three of these options just made my anxiety spike. I’m having quite a day today.

  36. I like to say being afraid is my superpower. I can take ANYTHING goddamn thing and make myself afraid of it. Bees? Shit yeah. Saying something stupid ALL THE TIME. You betcha. Running into someone I know at the grocery store? Holy fuck yeah. Name it. I can worry myself into thinking it’s the best worst thing ever. Stupid brain. Then my worry comes out as night terrors and scares the shit out of my entire family in the middle of the night.

  37. I can believe that some women are more afraid of being photographed in a bathing suit than having to descend on a burning building of bees.. It’s a failing of our society that ‘fat’ (or even ‘not-thin’ is considered so horrific.

    But I agree.. the more I see women my own size and larger sporting bathing suits, cute dresses, leggings etc.. the less self-concious I feel when I do these things myself.

  38. Very fun video and stills. BTW you look lovely in your bathingsuit so I didn’t quite get what the issue was there, I wear one when I go to the pool and I’m 160lbs. You have to wear something to swim in. Your daughter is right though, you show photos and videos of her all the time. Good mom for playing fair 😉

    (It’s all relative. I’m 180 pounds right now. We judge ourselves so much more harshly. – jenny)

  39. Amanda (comment 30), you took the words right out of my mouth, and I’m not even offended, even though you’re a stranger and I’m not usually into that kind of thing. Save the bees y’all!

  40. You are braver than most, not for the bathing suit, but for sharing your stories, your fears, and how you face them. The strength you show and give to others shoul humble even the bravest bee building orphan rescuer.

  41. being afraid of having your flaws exposed

    I think that’s where the problem comes in. We’ve been taught as women to see any part of us that doesn’t look like it does on models and actresses as a flaw, as something wrong. I’m not great at accepting all of me yet but I’m working on it. (Does that mean there will be a picture of me in my bathing suit come summer? Maybe.)

  42. You’re awesome. However, running into a burning bee building isn’t as bad as you might think. The bees really aren’t the problem. The smoke drives them away. Getting to the orphans through the fire – now that’s the key issue. It’s not as straightforward as some people think.

  43. So I started going to rope bondage seminars to face my own panic disorder head on, and I was in a class last night, and the instructor was all, “Move the rope on the hip from diagonal to horizontal for a masculine look,” and the guy tying me up (PS: we’re just friends) was like, “It kinda did that on its own,” and the instructor’s girlfriend said, to me, “Yes! You’re curvalicious, but you’re definitely male.”

    Thing is, in order to participate in the class, you have to strip down “to your comfort level,” which for me would be putting more clothes on. But I usually end up in a T-shirt and boxer briefs, fully aware of how scrawny my arms and legs are, and how poochy my love handles are, and I’m telling myself over and over “nobody cares, dude; you’re all in this together,” but there’s inevitably some hot, muscly dude there, and I start comparing myself, and things go downhill, which is NOT good for the panic disorder, as it turns out.

    When that woman referred to me as “curvalicious,” I immediately wanted to flee, because she just called me ugly in front of a roomful of strangers while I was in my underwear, right? What next? Did I forget my homework? Except what she really meant was, “You’re body is built in a particular way.” The End. But I’m so used to assuming people find me unattractive, that when someone looks at me objectively, or even compliments me on my body, I instinctively take it negatively.

    So… yeah, I’m working on that. And even if it’s taking awhile to accept myself the way I am, love handles and all, it is getting better. And I feel better after banging this comment out. So, y’know. Thank you.

  44. You can all be brave with your bathing suits and leaving the house and orphan saving, but I am still NOT going to watch submarine movies. Or trailers for submarine movies. I am owning and embracing my cowardice.

  45. Brave, inspired, either way you inspire me and sometimes I feel a little braver for it. Baby steps. We are all moving forward in baby steps. Thanks for being who you are and sharing who you are with the rest of us.

  46. I wouldn’t assume strangers won’t eat you. I recommend wearing a shirt made of broccoli or coating yourself in wasabi sauce to at least make it less pleasant. Although that essentially turns you into mobile sushi. Maybe wear a sign saying “GMO” – I hear people don’t want to eat those.

  47. Brave is admitting your fears, putting them into words and sending those flying monkeys out on the internet with superhero capes and fire extinguishers. Or maybe just clean underwear.

  48. Tell Hailey her laughter made my entire day. I had to put my dog to sleep the day before yesterday, so today was looking pretty bleak. Thank you both for making it better.

  49. Right on, as usual. I’m afraid of the lights going out in the bathroom during a thunderstorm. I’m afraid of driving on certain roads or making left turns. I’m afraid of lighting gas stoves. I’m afraid of dealing with certain people in person. I could go on…

  50. Great post – I’m glad I found your blog. If take the building of burning bees over a bathing suit exposure any day. In fact is probably throw the orphans to the bees to avoid this happening. But yes we do all have our own anxieties- I’m reasonably good at going outside – some days I don’t even like my husband seeing me in my swim suit.

  51. I’d rather swim with the bees, wearing whatever, outside of the house, with the mailman… I’d rather do any of that than make a phone call. Oooo I hate making phone calls. Text? Sure. Facebook? Sure. Email? No problem. Call someone? chest tightens Anxiety is a strange mistress.

  52. Totally agree, except setting bees on fire. We need them bees. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go shut the closet door so the closet monster doesn’t get out.

  53. Not the bees! We need the bees to pollinate the food, to make the pizza! Set wasps and hornets on fire. Seriously, fuck those guys.

    Also, been making myself check the mail, and not hide in a bedroom, now that my fiance is too far away to help me go outside.

  54. @Cheesymice (comment 45) I also hate making phone calls. I don’t mind answering the phone as much, but hate hate hate calling. Sometimes my job requires me to call people and I have to work up to it. Then if I get an answering machine, I have to hang up, decide what I’m going to say, and gear up again before I can recall and leave a message. I’m sure with caller ID now these people know I’ve called twice, but I just can’t help it. When I hear that answering machine pick up, I panic!

  55. I understand. I had to do Lamaze breathing to go in and get my first (and only, so far) manicure. And the worst DID happen – she did judge my nails (she did this great thing where she dug hard to clean crap out from under my nails, then held it up like HA! You filthy non-fingernail cleaning pig!) AND my eyebrows, but I left looking a lot better. I haven’t been back, but that one time, I looked better for a couple days.

  56. I love reading your blog and I love the video of you falling in. In my opinion what makes the video the bees knees (or burning bees knees) is your daughters laughter and absolute joy of catching that moment on video. I cant help but laugh as soon as I hear her, so no matter how often you can’t leave your house or your bed – that joy and laughter captured on that video should confirm that you are getting the important things right!!

  57. I’m crying. I’m crying because in a little over a month my husband and I have to take a trip that he is terrified of. No one in his family, who we are going with, understands, and they all think he is crazy. They don’t understand that for him, going to Mexico is as scary as ANYTHING else on Earth. It doesn’t matter how nice the resort is. It doesn’t matter how nice the flight is. It is an anxiety disorder, and it doesn’t have to be rational.

    The problem is, in this, he doesn’t want to be brave this time, and I don’t know how to make him. Or help him. And my anxiety issues are so different, that I can’t comprehend his. I push through. I get sick, and have attacks, and feel like I’m dying, but I push though. And reading about your bravery just broke me today. But in a bit of a good way.

  58. Someone once told me I was brave for wearing reindeer antlers at work. When I asked why he said he would be afraid of what people thought. It never occurred to me that anyone would think anything except how cute of me. Everyone is afraid of something weird, so there is no reason to be judgemental about what bugs you or anyone else.

  59. I think if I tried to make small talk with my mailman while wearing a bathing suit, he’d become afraid to leave his house.

    And I’m with Rachel, let’s go for the wasps first. And Sweeney? “Curvalicious” is definitely a compliment! Own your beauty.

  60. The comment about having to make small talk with strangers terrifies me. My daughter is getting married next month and I am going to a hypnotist before so I can handle it. Let’s not even get into being in the same room for hours with my ex, whom I left because he was emotionally abusive to me.

  61. I’ve been shopping for a bathing suit for years and still haven’t found one that looks good on me. Now I’m thinking fuck it, just go for it. 🙂

  62. I can relate to so many of these comments — yep, afraid of making small talk with the mailman (though, in my defense, he really is odd), making phone calls (I’m avoiding one now by writing this comment), saying something stupid, doing something stupid, wasps, fire, etc. And, as it turns out, bathing suits — true story: my making-me-less-crazy meds are giving me blood pressure issues. So, my therapist has been checking my BP, and she wanted to make me relax to see if it dropped, so we started chit-chatting about my upcoming vacation and all the clothes I have bought (nope, I’m sure not afraid of spending money), which included bathing suits. Of course, the conversation turned to trying on bathing suits and wearing them in public and my blood pressure went through the roof. So, awesome — afraid of bathing suits.

    But you know what? I’m going to wear those damn bathing suits on vacation and have a blast because who really cares if my 40-year-old body is less than perfect. It still works. And if I get a chance to rescue orphans from burning bee-infested post offices while wearing said bathing suits, I shall take that chance. Because you, Jenny, have inspired me.

  63. There really isn’t any way I’m going into a burning bee building… orphans or otherwise. But, if you keep posting your swimsuit things, I’ll keep going outside of the house and we’ll learn from each other.

  64. Well, first off, I thought that was Hailey! The wide open smile, the unself-concious expression, the cute shape. Second: we don not have to wear long woolen bathing attire anymore. Third: we are all beautiful in our own unique way.

    I just moved and still haven’t found everything yet, so I will go outside and greet the mailman in shorts!

  65. My stupid fear is every time I say something someone is going to be highly offended. Like now. 😜

  66. I think that you’re brave to write a blog and lay yourself bare for all to see. I have wanted to do that, but my fear of rejection keeps me from doing so. My fear of abandonment makes me love people so intensely that I often end up driving them away. My fear of so many things leads me to need an ESA dog. Without her, I would most likely never leave my house, and if I can’t bring her somewhere, I have to have a friend with me. Your bravery is, to me, equal to someone who can charm flaming bees into putting themselves out by mass drowning…not that bees need any help dying off thanks to our stupid pesticides and soon we will all be dead because we’ve killed off all the bees and they’re mostly what pollinates our food…what was my point? Bravery…. You are an idol

  67. did i really just read… Rope Bondage Seminars? That’s a thing, now? i’m officially terrified.

  68. As I’m sitting here panicking that i may have to leave the house with tomorrow, and have f#*^ed up the quilt I’m trying to make to donate to a kid, i read this. ..and am now in full out tears. Can’t i just deal the doors and never leave? I’m to that point.
    But I’ll be brave and go when i have to, full on panic or not.

    Thank you Jenny

  69. God, I love you! Yes, let’s work up to the scary ones together! I am among those who think appearing in a bathing suit in public is awful. I’ve even had surgery to appear better in one (and naked for my hubby, who thought I was fine to begin with)…and even though I know my body looks better than it ever has and is better than average, whenever I look in the mirror in my new bikini, I am disgusted and anxiety ridden about going to my brother’s lake house this summer and wearing it.

  70. My anxiety has been worse this year, coupled with the stress of having to move due to a job relocation, now when I least want to be out with other strange humans HAVE to leave the house because they are doing showings for people who want to BUY my safe sanctuary away from humanity right out from under me. You may be able to infer I have mixed emotions about this whole thing.
    But I have been blessed with an insane, energetic toddler who thinks everything is hilarious. Especially the faces Mommy makes when he flings himself off of high objects. His laughter makes it harder to feel anxious… Though his ability to destroy non-childproof spaces helps cause a different kind of anxiety… Well just call it even.
    So, basically, if you can leave the house, and write a book, and meet people in large groups who want to tell you how much they loved your book… Then I guess I can survive moving. We’ll keep doing things that scare us for our own good, together.

  71. Great. So now I have to prove my bravery by wearing a mankini when I go swimming. When people start mysteriously going blind at hallowed swim spots you’ll only have yourself to blame…

  72. Ok, but we are having a bee crisis, even the President told little children about it on Easter, so, you’ll have to set something else scary on fire to be brave. How about all those giant snakes in Florida that are ruining the ecosystem?

  73. If I make it out of the house, it generally doesn’t matter to me at that point if i’m wearing a swimsuit. At least I got out of the house, and that was the hard part. People can just take me as I am, because that was a LOT of effort!

  74. What about women who wear inappropriate bathing suits? Like me, for instance. I’m like 225 soaking wet (hot, right?) and I like bikinis. To be fair, my ass takes up about 212 of that weight, so the rest of me isn’t quite as gnarly. You should see the size of the bottoms I have to buy. Woah.

    (For me, if it’s something you wear to swim in and you’re swimming then it’s appropriate. Naked is appropriate if you’re at a nude beach. It just depends on the situation. For me, I like to keep my bits covered so bikinis are out for me, but you go if it works for you. ~ Jenny)

  75. I like bees – especially the big fuzzy bumbles that fly lazily around the flowers. Crickets, on the other hand, are little nightmares. Once called my husband in hysterics to come home and rescue me from a cricket that had made it into our apartment. He was active duty Navy at the time, his chief was not amused! I passed on many experiences over the years because I was waiting to be the “right size” to fit into swimsuits. Phooey on that! I’m a big girl and always will be 🙂

  76. Hi. Here is why I think you are brave and why I admire you so freaking much. 🙂 You are open and free. You don’t have trouble reaching out and asking for help. You aren’t ashamed to tell people you’ve been going through a rough patch. I’ve dealt with my depression for over 10 years and I very rarely let anyone know what is going on. I am very good with the fake smile and fake laugh and no one knows. I’m very lucky that I don’t suffer from severe depression and I can get out of bed on the hard days and fake it. Even my family rarely knows when I’m having a hard time. I go hide if I need a good cry. Or watch a sad movie so I can pretend THAT’S the reason for the tears. And other little tricks I know to try and hide it.

    I wish I was as brave as you. I wish I was able to reach out to friends and family. I wish I was able to share how I truly feel. But I’m afraid. I’m afraid of their judgement. I’m afraid they won’t like the real me. I’m afraid that I will be too much work and they won’t want to be friends anymore. So I look up to, and admire, you. And how brave you are even if you don’t know it. 🙂

    So, please keep being brave. Maybe some day you’ll wear off on my and I can be brave. 🙂 That’s my hope anyway. Though…having done this for over 10 years I’m not sure it’s possible. So I will just sit back and admire you. You are so beautiful and strong and brave. Thank you for that. 🙂

  77. I so wish I could comment on the comments! They are awesome! And Tracee25? I don’t think they can legally do that.
    Thanks again, Jenny, for providing a safe place for all of us weirdos to play.

  78. All of those things sound like really bad ideas. I’m just going to aim for taking a shower and maybe wearing real clothes today.

  79. I feel so sorry for Hailey who only has a tape as medium to record video camera instead of a digital one or one on her phone like all her classmates. You need to up her game by getting her more modern video gear. Oops, time to go back in my burrow.

    (Do not encourage her. She’s convinced she’s the only 10-year-old in America who isn’t allowed to have her own phone. ~ Jenny)

  80. Sometimes I’m scared of going to the office kitchen to throw away food-related garbage because there might be other people in there and they would… see me holding garbage, I guess? I don’t know. And then my garbage builds up in my cubicle and I’m embarrassed by it but I still try to sneak to the kitchen at times when I think no one will see me.

  81. I’m sure that it’s already been said, but you are totally rocking that swimsuit. Thought you should know.

  82. Hey, at least you face planted into WATER, not cement. You tend to not lose teeth or end up having to go to urgent care when you fall in water.
    That reminds me. I REALLY need to make an effort to get to the local grade school swimming pool. They have water aerobics twice a week for a whopping $3.00 per session. My doc says to just get in the pool & do stretches & crap to help me stay limber. I’m down from 235 to about 192. It’s the mother passed away in December, Lost my job of 32 years & I have no damn appetite diet.
    To reference Dory from Finding Nemo, I just keep swimming.

  83. Having my picture taken at all is beyond me. Let alone posting it online.

    P.s. Tell Hailey that my 11 year old doesn’t have a phone either. Or that in OUR day, the only phones we had were attached to the kitchen wall with long twisty cords.

  84. You ARE brave. For so many reasons that do not involve or include your bathing suit. You inspire me every. single. day.

  85. Hailey’s giggles are the best! Being able to laugh at oneself is healthy! What a great pair you two make. Thanks again Jenny.

  86. Hey man, bees are people too. Or at least our fates are inextricably entwined. Spiders? Wasps? Mosquitoes? KILL THEM WITH FIRE AND RUN….in and save all the orphans.

  87. My husband bought a boat and when I rode in it, I had a panic attack. I sat on the floor of the boat and folded up into myself like a crappy little piece of used tissue. I will ride in it again, and again, and again, over and over, until I am no longer a crappy piece of tissue. I’d much rather talk to the mailman.

  88. I can’t deal with cockroaches. Not even a single cockroach. Not even a small piece of a cockroach’s corpse. It’s not an “ugh”, it’s an “aaaaaaaaaa please help”. I lose my shit loudly. And I live in a fucking tropical island. So most of the time I feel I need to check my shoes before putting them on, and I’m afraid of walking in the dark, and when I see someone carelessly tramping on one of these things I panic. It sounds stupid, it is stupid and it makes me look stupid.
    So give me that burning bees swimsuit all the time, and be patient with me, people.

  89. I’m sorry but I can’t stop watching the loop and cackling like a fool at Hailey laughing. I mean come on. The look on your face right before you hit the water? Priceless.
    Makes me feel less bad about yelling about my sagging underwear making my vagina feel like a wet windsock at Target. I truly didn’t know I was talking that loud.

  90. It’s great getting older and not caring so much about the bathing suit thing (as evidenced in this totally flattering picture of me playing in the sea with my brother:, but I feel you on the anxiety disorder. Go into a big store like Target? Not even if it was a bee-fire Target. Walk around on a beach with a bathing suit not really covering my non-svelte body? I honestly don’t care.

  91. Your video is exactly what I needed to see to make it through the rest of my work day. As I sit here laughing in the empty teacher’s lounge going back to my room full of toddlers doesn’t seem so bad after all. thanks 🙂

  92. You know the other day when you were asking for examples of happiness and joy? I suggest you keep this video bookmarked, and when you’re feeling down, go back and listen to your daughter’s delighted and delightful giggles! The fall wasn’t that bad/funny, but her laugh made me laugh with her. Awesome!

  93. You’re a little magical like Jesus in how you heal people’s souls. You’re magic is pretty great in that you don’t even have to leave the house to do it.

  94. As someone who just got a spray tan so she could be seen in a bathing suit, I have NO room to comment. Or judge:). There went my Midwestern sensibilities . . .

  95. Jenny, I’m one of those people who has zero problem leaving the house and being social with strangers in any situation … but I’m ashamed enough of my figure that I’ve never let my boyfriend SEE me naked (and we live together). This includes in intimate moments … I always have to have a shirt or a nightgown on, or I’m so self-conscious that I’m in tears.

    He has gone to great lengths to reassure me that this is all in my head, and not at all indicative of how HE sees me or feels about me … yet he also respects how hard this is for me and doesn’t insist that I break my comfort zone on this. He’s been very gentle with me about it, and very reassuring, but I still can’t bring myself to let him see me like that.

    The truly sad part is that I’ve NEVER had this problem with any other man I’ve been with … even when I was MUCH heavier than I am now. It’s just that HE is everything I’ve ever wanted and I’m so terrified of doing anything to fuck this up.

    So … yeah … for me, talking to a crowd of strangers, or having to give a completely impromptu speech in front of 500 people would be far less intimidating than being naked in front of the man I love.

    How weird is THAT?

  96. I personally love leaving the house. And swimsuits? Well, I’m almost 40 and I birthed three children so I don’t care 1/100th of the amount I used to. I’m in the phone call anxiety camp. I’m currently putting off a call that will probably take all of five minutes but in putting it off I’m subjecting myself to DAYS of dread. So logical.

    I’m also extremely afraid of being burned, so I donate plasma to help burn victims. All of you who go running into that burning bee building are welcome to my blood by-products!

  97. No sharks. I just can’t go there. I am finally the age where I give no fucks what people think generally, but I can still manage a good panic attack over stuff. But no sharks. I will never notice fear them.

  98. I am not especially frightened of snakes, spiders, bees, or being seen in bathers. But inviting people to stuff gives me cold sweats. I have to work up to inviting friends over for dinner, and I avoid organising meetings wherever possible. I fully accept and embrace my issues, and encourage my friends to invite themselves over because I actually do like having guests.

  99. I think that I am going to pass on the lighting on bees on fire! We need those buzzy little suckers to save the planet! No bees + No pollination = Buh Bye!!! Now, back to the swimsuit. At 40-something (cough cough), I have put in enough time that I really don’t care what people think of how I am dressed! If you don’t want to see my cellulite and muffintop, then look away! That’s not me being brave, that’s just me! takes a bow

  100. I love this. Not just the part where you fell in the water. The part where you pointed out that not everyone has the same brave. I see brave people in my life all the time, and it’s hard to describe to someone who doesn’t see it as brave. My boyfriend tells me he thinks it’s cool how brave I am to wear the ridiculous clothing (read: tie-dye yoga pants) in public. And by cool, I think he’s sometimes embarrassed by me…but I usually ignore that part.

  101. It would be tragic if you hadn’t shared and we had missed out on hearing Hailey’s gleeful laugh and seeing your beautiful smile! This is definitely one to re-watch on down days. Not because the fall is all that funny (surprisingly graceful considering the circumstances), but because I can’t help smiling when I hear Hailey’s laugh!

  102. I love you, and I love this post, and I love all the comments. And Janet – I think you are very brave to write your comment and post it. Speaking up about what terrifies you – to me that is very brave.

  103. I would opt out of burning bees because we need bees. But hornets or wasps? Yeah, bring on the flames!

    I went to Las Vegas with my mom a few years ago and we went to the pool one day and as much as I WANTED to get in the pool, I looked at all of the flat tummies and toned arms and perky boobs of the impossibly young women already in the pool and just could not talk myself into taking my coverup off and getting into the pool. I think I may have thrown away my swimsuit after that because I haven’t seen it in years.

    Baby steps.Today, the sizzling hornets, Tomorrow, leaving the house and talking to strangers… Someday, maybe… a swimsuit… in an actual pool….

  104. MMMM Honey Roasted Bees…I haven’t worn a bathing suit since I was 11. Draws too much attention and my anxiety can’t figure out if its positive or negative attention so I just don’t do it. I do however begrudgingly leave my house everyday, and I think that classifies as brave after all Kingston could be called the Mental Illness and Prison Capital of Canada. Bravery is highly under-rated.

  105. Yeah, I have zero issues with bathing suits. I figure I’m over 40 & society tends to treat women over 40 as invisible so who the fuck cares what I wear. And if they do care then Yay Me! I’m not invisible! But just try and get me to go to a party, small gathering, picnic where I don’t know at least 75% of the people. And I have to be really comfortable with that 75% if we are talking more than about 6 people. Otherwise I tend to sit in the corner & look repeatedly at my phone to see if I have been there ‘long enough’ to leave yet. I can’t introduce myself to people & get terrified of making getting to know you type conversation. I am way too shy to be around people I am not comfortable with & know that shyness often translates as stuck up or snobby & that just ups the pressure. But yeah, put me in a bathing suit & let me sit by the pool quietly while everyone else goes about their business.

  106. After spending a complete soul sucking day at working learning about my “personality style” and being beaten down all day because of it, I am reminded again that ya’ll are my people and funny as hell! So, now I’m crying In agood way.

  107. You want to hear irrational, I live in one of the hottest countries in the world yet am afraid of icebergs. Never seen a real one, didn’t even see snow until I was in my thirties but show me a picture of one of those huge suckers that you just know are hiding even more berg under water and I want to throw up all over you.

  108. I hate answering the phone and calling people. I’m getting better at not being anxious when I do, but still hate it. I don’t enjoy wearing a swimsuit, mostly because I don’t enjoy swimming. And I regularly avoid family gatherings because people. But I’m phobic about walking outside barefoot. That gives me the heebie-jeebies. I’m basically a recluse who doesn’t leave the house unless I have to. IE – work or groceries or sometimes dinner with family.

  109. I wonder how cold the water from the fire hose would be if it hit you when you were still in the burning bee building? Colder than the pool water? I really hate cold water.

  110. The other week my MIL called me on my biggest fear. I’m 46 years old (well, I will be tomorrow) and I can’t drive. She offered to pay for driving lessons and I felt like throwing up.
    But I have accepted her generous offer (whilst slightly hating her for making it) because I hate being limited by fear and I don’t want my kids to think in such a self-defeating way.
    A few months ago a bunch of people congratulated me for being brave because I said I was lonely and I was all WTF?

    So YAY YOU for leaving the house, yay other people for wearing swimsuits in public or saying they are lonely and yay me for booking driving lessons. We all goddamn rock

  111. THANK YOU.

    I’m also agoraphobic and sometimes I’m just amazed that other people leave their homes as if it’s nothing. I often remind myself that bravery isn’t being unafraid; it’s doing the thing you’re afraid of anyway. I also remind myself that nobody is required to be brave every day, if ever. I get to choose to be brave on the days I have enough spoons for bravery. (Well, sometimes the choice is influenced by things like family members in the hospital or having to go to work… but it’s still a choice.)

  112. “We’re all irrationally afraid of something.” It’s awesome sometimes just to see that in writing. Not the “we’re all” part, the “irationally” part. I have to say over and over to myself “it’s irrational” more days than I’d like. I love that video. You are blessed.

  113. I am over 300 lbs, and wear a swimsuit to go swimming…. I also teach yoga, and wear a fully skin-tight outfit to teach. I need students to see my body clearly, so that is what I wear. I do have students that started out in very baggy clothes who now wear tighter clothes because they have seen my do it and are more comfortable now… Being nonchalant doing things helps other people do those things too!!

  114. Wow. I’m terrified of going out in public without my “safe person,” and wearing any swimming attire. And, I will unbravely admit, irrationally fearful of a whole truckload of other things. Huh. But not bees or fire. Huh.. Who knew? Go, Team Crazy Brave!

  115. I love you Jenny and everybody in this crazy tribe. I looked at you in your bathing suit and I thought you looked very nice!

    The thing I figured out about my crazy head is: there’s always going to be running commentary in my head about how I probably look dumb, how nobody really likes me, blah de blah de blah. I figured out in retropspect,(after doing something a litlle bit scary—being in a group of people I didnt’ know very well, feeling sellf-concious), that ‘Holy Shit, I just went and did that ANYWAY! It made me realize that I don’t always have to listen to the voices that tell me how screwed up I am. Pretty freeing!!

    P.S. I weigh about 225 lbs and love being in the water. SO, while I wouldn’t be comfortable in a 2-piece bikini, I won’t let it keep me out of the water…..But probably no nudist camps for me LOL.

  116. I feel brave because I made it to work five days a week for two weeks in a row now. (I co-own the company with my husband). Anxiety and depression has been plaguing me on a daily basis since around September (probably the second worst it’s ever been for me), and with the help of my husband, family and doctor, I’m starting to feel like I can handle little things again … like grocery shopping and, well, going to work…everybody’s brave is relative. I love that people on this page get that. Love to y’all.

  117. I had a bad experience with ants as a child. YES ANTS. At the Dr.s today the male nurse was talking with me about phobias for idle chit chat and I told him about the ants. He then waits a few minutes and he tells me they had a big issue with ants around the chair I was sitting in just the other day. As my eyes got teary and my arms crossed protectively in front of me and only then did he realized how bad he had just messed up and was really sorry. I calmed down and I think he learned a lesson. Our fears don’t have to be rational to others to make them real to us. Brave for me would be letting them walk across my hand. I don’t feel brave tonight

  118. Seriously though I am petrified of bees.

    Also zombies. Zombees would be my actual worst nightmare.

  119. Loved this little post. Irrational fear is sometimes the shittiest thing ever, but to know that there are other people out there experiencing the same thing is kind of a strange (???) comfort. But, yes, let’s do that. Let’s set bees on fire in our swimsuits and save orphans.

  120. Fear is going to yoga Saturday mornings, and hoping the instructor does not notice me. I couldn’t make a specific pose one morning, so she walked up to me and asked, “What are you doing here?” I just said, “Bad leg.” and she left me alone. One day I won’t have to say “Bad leg.”

  121. I also wondered about our use of “brave” after I cut my long hair very short and was told by no less than 3 people that they were not so “brave” as to cut their own hair.

  122. Yesterday, I wondered briefly “Am I brave enough to buy that silver mesh sweater and pair it with white jeans?” And then I realized I wasn’t stupid enough to spend $400 for the ensemble, including a white tank to hide my wiggly bits, properly fitting under garments, and a pair of strappy sandals that would probably never be worn with anything else. But at least I got out of the house for a while. And yes, that is bravery – especially when it’s so much more comfortable to just sit on my ass for days at a time in front of my computer. Of course, I don’t have a house of bees, so that explains it.

  123. Wish the brave bathing suit thing wasn’t true, but these days the reality is that I find myself avoiding looking towards mirrors when not fully clothed.

  124. I always thought that being brave was feeling the fear, and doing it anyways. So, as far as I’m concerned, wearing a bikini where the rest of the world can see me: not brave. Going in a butterfly house, where the hideous flappy bastards can touch me, just so the kids don’t miss out on going in: brave!

  125. We really shouldn’t be setting bees on fire since they are the backbone of our agriculture. However wasps can eat fire and die. And having been recently diagnosed with social anxiety and generalized anxiety I totally understand the difficutly of house leaving. But I do it, beacuse someone will buy me lunch if I do.

  126. I often times intentionally don’t make eye contact with my own friends when they are coming my way or cross to the other side of the street if I see an acquaintance. For some reason, I have an irrational fear that I am mistaking them for someone else, or that we’re not good enough friends for me to publicly greet on the fly.

    Weird, irrational fear…but true.

  127. I’m all for you wearing your bathing suit (you look great, btw) but I also have a leaving-the-house fear which is sometimes tied in with my fear of bees and/or wasps. So I can’t make any promises. I actually just fell down my stairs the other night so even if I wanted to go outside, there’s sort of that whole obstacle in the way.

  128. You look good in a bathing, Hun, but even if the dominant paradigm said you didn’t, wear it. Jump in water and play. That defeats the haters.

  129. The obvious solution is to kick the orphans out of the bee house and move into it yourself. One of two things is going to happen. You will be scared out of your mind and run out of the house running over the mailman in the process solving the problem. Or even better the bees could go all mutant on you and you could become their queen and you would never have to be scared of anything ever again!

  130. This post made me cry. It took 6 hours for me to work up the courage for the 5-minute dog-walk this morning. I guess I should start trying to work up for her next walk now if I want to get to bed at a decent hour. Some days are harder than others. But, we are all making it. Together.

  131. I think you are one of the bravest people I know, however, I don’t actually know you, but I read your blogs and have just started reading your book, which is the reason for this comment. I have been on a waiting list for your book from the library for what seems like months now. I finally got it yesterday, so I brought it to work today, I was going to do a little sneak reading…OMG I am laughing so hard I am actually snorting, customers are looking… I cannot read this at work.
    This is the funniest thing I have read in ages, thank you so much! It is wonderful to know such a gifted person such as yourself walks among us. Regards to you and your family and that adorable Dorothy Barker 🙂

  132. I read that a lot of people with anxiety end up agoraphobic because they avoid their fears by staying home. I seem to be the one in a million who gets more panic attacks at home than anywhere else. Going outside relaxes me, even if I have to wear a bathing suit.

    So if you guys keep trying to venture out and take pics, I’ll sit here and cheer you on, deal?

  133. I’m afraid of heights, to combat this I am trying to join the Airborne ranks in the army.

  134. I will keep going outside… So long as there are no clowns. I am only so brave and clowns are frakking scary! (My kids have never been to a rodeo or circus because of this little fact.) I couldn’t handle outside + clowns! Burning bee building to save orphans sounds waaaaayyyyyy less likely to trigger my anxiety.
    P.S. I think you are most awesome for posting the pics!

  135. My three-year-old granddaughter Faith watched the video several times. She was very concerned for you and said she didn’t like it when she fell in the water either. She didn’t think Hailey should have laughed at you. I told her you were ok. She nodded, started sucking her thumb again and watching a video.

  136. I have not owned a bathing suit in many years. I live in FL and people seem to think that is weird. I always wore a tank top and shorts IF I went to the beach. I stopped doing that a long time ago too. NOW I live even closer to the beach with a new boyfriend and I actually bought the top half of a bathing suit. Not because I am brave, but because its hot out there.

  137. Jenny, you’re just flat out awesome. Myself, I think being open about your anxiety is incredibly brave, and makes folks like myself, who share it, feel less ashamed.

  138. girl, you look just fine in a bathin’ suit, love the girls laugh, watched it several times just to listen to the laughter

  139. Perhaps they meant you were brave for wearing a swim suit in April? Because not all of us live in Texas. I still have snow in my front yard. Though, you know, I can walk on it a lot better than water. 🙂

  140. I’m only posting to say your daughter’s laugh made my day. Why is it our kids never laugh harder than when we do something stupid?

  141. I am so afraid of snakes that I have been having nightmares about them since I was four years old. It seems to be getting worse as I get older, which I thought was odd until I found a co-worker with the same fear. And hers is getting worse with age too. Some days it is so scary that I don’t want to go out and play with my dog or take her for a walk. And I love my dog. A lot. I would carry a big stick on our walks, but she’s afraid of big sticks. So see…even crazy amazing dogs have weird fears. And we’re all OK.

  142. I have not owned a bathing suit or shorts since, well, 40 years ago. I would NEVER be seen in shorts or a bathing suit, even by family members. But, I have no problems picking up snakes, even poisonous varieties and have absolutely no fear of public speaking. Had to have a radical mastectomy a couple of years ago and that didn’t phase me at all, (except for having to wear falsies every day). But if it comes to shorts or a bathing suit or a firing squad, I’ll opt for the firing squad. Everyone is weird in their own individual way. It’s amazing that we ever find anyone that can deal with our own particular brand of crazy.

  143. I’m gigantic (180 pounds seems like a distant dream, even though that would still be overweight for my 5’4 body), so I’ll take the bees. Except I could never outrun them and I’d get stung to death like the Macauly Culkin character the movie “My Girl.” Though he was just stung by one bee and he wasn’t grotesquely fat. That was so sad, though. Anyway, yeah, no swimsuits for me.

  144. Hey Hailey, my son is the only other 10 year old in the country who doesn’t have a phone — at least to hear him tell it.

    I am terrified of snakes, and I dread the end of winter since there is a snake that lives in the bush right next to my front steps. Somehow I am able to ignore the snake-filled bush on the way out of the house, but in nice weather, I dread going back inside since I might see Mr. Slithers on the way in. I am now scared of going into my house in the springtime.

  145. If the bathing suit is like some of my gym leggings that ride up chaffing my gusset & giving camel toe, then I would rather take my chances with the burning bee house.

  146. its taken me a year and a half to leave the house in the daytime…it is horrible..took 10 months to go out at night and get a was if i am not going out to drink and flirt at a way in hell im gonna go out in the terrifying sober daylight..gonna try to go out today for an hour..(feels like a huge plunge!!)

  147. I really liked this post. It is so true that we all inspire each other daily without even knowing it.

  148. Okay, if you won’t leave your house, can I come over and swim? Oh, wait, you live in Texas and I live in California and we are complete strangers. That would truly be weird. Still. Looked like fun. At your expense, of course. Still, fun.

  149. I have Ben lurking and giggling on your site for ages… years, even…and this one has to be one of my favorites ones of all. I have a slight social anxiety issue…could be due to being narcoleptic and not wanting people to stare at me if I fall asleep in a randomly odd place, could be because I was picked on in school like most kids, could be because I was born on a Tuesday. Who knows? The point is, I really like cupcakes, and cats, and drinking tea while watching Downton Abbey as a date night, and this post. I love all those things.

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