At my best, I am a strong-willed confident individual who has been trained to fight wildfires, hike through streams, crawl alone through culverts and pipes as I machete through vines and branches, and keep my cool working in some of the most crowded, hot, and rude places one can imagine.
At my worst, I am someone who can be paralyzed by the fear that simply comes with answering the telephone at work. Sometimes the things that stop me in my tracks are as small of tasks as one can imagine, in other, often more rare times, the things that do scare are things that rightly should. As Iditarod begins to rear its head around the corner, I often feel myself feeling small and disconnected in a job that is, more than anything, about being heard and in tune with thousands of listeners. In order to deal with what I face in the present, and wrap my head around what is left to encounter, I look behind me. Not unlike my academic pursuits and the service opportunities with AmeriCorps that I tackled before arriving in Nome, my time here is all about the free fall. I believe in my heart that, if you have the opportunity, you should spend as much of your time free falling in your young life. Dive in even if you can’t see the bottom. Travel to places unseen, attempt tasks far above your skill set, and most importantly, challenge yourself to become uncomfortable.
In this moment, the last part of that goal is certainly being accomplished. While I acknowledge that Iditarod is a time of excitement and communities coming together, the fear of the time frame ahead of me closely reflects my fear of picking up the telephone and knowing a stranger is at the other end. How will my actions steer events? How will I be perceived? Will people like me? It may seem silly to fret so over a race, but when I’m in the moment, Iditarod can feel like the biggest thing in my life. In my stress, I lose the sense of whimsy I hold dear, and I hold back in my interactions with others.
When I’m at my worst, people push me to my best here at KNOM. I’m not the type to exaggerate other people’s kind actions, if anything, I tend to be too dismissive of the kind actions I see people perform. I can’t ignore the uplifting feeling I get when I am around everyone at the station recently. For that reason, I’d like to take my blog time today to thank everyone who has helped me realize at the end of the day, that they are here for me.
Should you ever find yourself on 3rd Street in Nome, stop by the station. You don’t have to be particularly in tune with your sensitive side to feel the love that comes from inside. I find it difficult to describe this love, and in my less proud moments I choose to dismiss the notion of it completely, but what I do know about it is that it doesn’t judge, it doesn’t discriminate, and it offers itself at no cost. People can attach religious labels, descriptors of our programming, or any array of adjectives to it – but I believe in the end, the love I feel when I am among those here at the station transcends all of it. I’m not the most sentimental guy in the world, but I trust myself when I say that I feel it every day when I walk through the doors, when I turn on my radio, and when I speak with Western Alaska. It’s very real. Everyday it is something that I carry in my heart.
If I made a list of everyone who at some point, often daily, lifted me up, carried me through, or simply showed interest in my well being, I could name everyone I work with and so many very special people beyond the walls of KNOM. I’m afraid that saying thank you to all is what I have to give in this format. You make all of the good, the bad, the exciting, and the mundane worth it. You make me feel the love.
At worst, I am in the good hands.