Wanda Sykes, Hot Wings and Fear

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This is the story of how Wanda Skyes eating hot wings pushed me to finally launch my blog.

The Fear

I have been sitting on this blog idea for about 7 months now. In July, I purchased the domain name, and then promptly became terrified and did nothing with it for at least two months. It was summer and I was working on my audio books and traveling. Then school started, and that became my excuse: too much planning and grading to make time to write, thank you very much! Don’t you know how busy teachers are? But as the months crept on, I started to feel guilty; I had paid for web hosting that I wasn’t even using. So, I began messing with the technical aspects of the blog: themes, plugins, php, SSH, ftp, http, seo, etc. That bogged me down for awhile, and then it was email lists, a privacy policy, customizing my footer, a logo, to name a few. It took me until last week, when I finally realized what was going on.

I am avoiding launching.

I am avoiding publishing and sharing because I MAY FAIL. What if no one likes it? What if it is bad? What if I can’t stick to the schedule? What if I get discouraged and quit? What if I run out of things to say? What if some pooh head is mean or creepy?

What Does Wanda Sykes Have to Do With This?

All this has been rolling around in the back of my head for quite some time, and then something totally random happened that made me realize it was time to either *poop or get off the pot, in a manner of speaking. I discovered the show Hot Ones by First We Feast. If you know nothing about this show, its entire premise is hosting celebrities who must then eat their way through 10 chicken hot wings, which progressively increase in hotness on the Scoville Scale. I watched Gordon Ramsay, Dax Shepard, Terry Crews Kevin Hart and Wanda Sykes all get reduced to tears by these wings. I highly recommend them all if you have nothing else to do or have a long layover or at an airport (otherwise go outside and get fresh air): Kevin Hart was hilarious, Dax Shepard was insane and added more sauce to the wings, Terry Crews turned out to be a very interesting individual with many talents, and Gordon Ramsay wins for having the most ridiculous assortment of items on hand to cope with the pain. But I want to talk about Wanda Sykes.

I didn’t really know anything about Wanda Sykes; I picked her for that reason, and because I wanted to see how a woman held up in this challenge, and she did not disappoint. Compared to the men we had watched previously, Wanda seemed cool and collected; no screaming, cursing or violently rubbing lime on the seat of her pants (Gordon Ramsay). All was well until she hit Hot Sauce Number 8: “Da Bomb.” I had only seen three other episodes before, but that was enough to know that this sauce was the trouble sauce. Each of the previous celebrities had struggled with this bad boy, and it quickly became apparent that this sauce was breaking her down. She taps out after wing 8, stating  “I’m 53, I can’t eat this crap anymore” and she begins to get psyched out by the remaining 3 hot sauces.

To his credit, the host Sean Evans does a phenomenal job of setting a low threshold for her to join back in. He lays out how the next three will go, stating that if she can get on top of the one she just ate, she will be able to handle the remaining two. “This is not a peer pressure situation. I’m going to take a bite and ask a question. If you want to go swimming, you can go swimming. If you want to tap, you can tap; it’s not the end of the world.” And then, he picks up the wing, looks her straight in the eye, and takes a huge bite. And this is the part I love. You can see it written all over her face that she wants to leave, she wants it to stop. But he locks eyes with her, she looks down at the wings, you can see her internal struggle all over her face, and she picks up the wing as the music crescendoes (not really, but it should have)! She steels herself, takes a deep breath, and with ferocity, stares right back at him as she bites into the wing. This is when you know that Wanda Sykes is a mighty woman.

The Lesson

I love this stuff, even when it manifests as stupid as eating a hot wing that will no doubt mess up your entire digestive system. Wanda was scared and wanted to stop and she kept going anyways. So I guess what I am trying to say is I am Wanda Skyes? And this blog is my hot wing? Or we all have metaphorical hot wings in our life? I’m not going to take it there; it’s not like watching this show was a deep spiritual experience for me. But I want to leave you with three things. First, watch this show; it’s funny. Second, don’t be afraid to buckle down and do that thing you have been avoiding. The scariest things grow us the most, unless they kill you…like bungee jumping or deep sea cave diving. No thanks. I’m not talking about those things. I’m talking about starting a creative project, reaching out to an individual, making a tough decision, or maybe even just having a conversation with someone. Push past the fear and go for it. Finally, don’t be afraid to look for life lessons in the most random and obscure places. You never know what may inspire you…it could be something as simple as a plate of nasty chicken wings.

Share your “hot wing” below if you feel so inclined.

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