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SOME NERVE by Patty Chang Anker


Lessons Learned While Becoming Brave

By Patty Chang Anker

Pub Date: Oct. 10th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-59448-605-0
Publisher: Riverhead

A blogger’s humorous account of how she transcended her “nervous nature…bookish upbringing and midlife responsibilities” to discover her courage. 

Anker grew up “eating fear of failure like the breakfast of champions.” But as she neared her 40th birthday, she became aware that her timidity was not only limiting her, but also her two small daughters. So Anker dedicated herself to finding her “nerve.” She began her project by jumping into the murky waters of her anxieties by using the diving board at a community swimming pool. Mortally afraid of moving water, she learned how to boogie board in the Atlantic and surf the ice-cold waters of a half-frozen Lake Michigan. On land, she learned how to ride the bicycles that had secretly terrified her and speak in front of an audience without crumpling. As she let go of her anxieties, she uncluttered her own personal space, since “holding on to…belongings was tantamount to fear.” Anker also came into contact with others who were dealing with phobias similar to her own—such as fear of driving or heights—or who were helping others move beyond their own psychologically imposed limitations. Not only did Anker realize that she was not alone in her suffering, she also learned that, as both a person and a parent, the most important thing she could do was to “keep [her] eye on where [she] want[ed] to go” rather than listen to her inner “Greek Chorus” of self-doubt. By changing herself, she could also transform everyone with whom she came into contact: “we start to shimmer, and the world is never the same.”

Lightweight but honest and inspiring.