It’s okay to have a low sketch tolerance


Discomfort jolted the hairs on the nape of my neck awake. While he grew comfortable for the evening, I grew agitated. Settling in my stomach, discomfort and I trudged along an empty street in Austin, Texas.  With each obedient stride, we followed five friends into the dark. Away from city lights, the shadows of strangers dwindled as we strayed from the path.

The six of us took a detour before returning to the traffic of night-life and the promise of setting alarm clocks. Down some vacant streets we sauntered, in search of the infamous graffiti wall. With each turn, around each corner, I saw no more than three people. After following the GPS into the greater depths of darkness, we needed to make one more turn.

Behind a building, next to a dimly lit street, sat the graffiti wall. Just as I grew more anxious someone jokingly said, “Is this where we die?”

But despite the tighter grip that discomfort held on my stomach, I followed.

Pause. At this moment, I am sure others would have been teeming with excitement. A dark street, past 10 at night, in a new city, might be enough to get the blood flowing.

However, I felt unsure of my inhibitions. The feeling in my stomach told me to be cautious.

For some this is exciting. But the phrase, “this is not my scene,” was invented by someone who felt the exact way I felt: insecure. For me there was no exhilaration, no adrenaline. There were none of those traits that people feel when they balance on the edge. Because for me, balancing on the edge of security and uncertainty, felt more like I was preventing myself from drowning rather than flying.

Play. We approached this graffiti wall, shrouded in uncertainty. I swiveled my head from side to side staying alert for any other sign of human activity. A distant group of people climbed into their truck and drove away. After a picture, we remedied the grasp that discomfort held, and we left.

We all have different vehicles that make our blood boil with the perfect concoction of danger and excitement. I have yet to find the perfect recipe for such a mixture. But I am not looking for that thrill right now. We all have different tolerances of what we will do and what we won’t. And while mine may be different than others, I am perfectly happy with that. It is okay to have caution. While you may not always need it, you never want to be caught without it.