Every year, nerimon (aka Alex Day) posts a video on his channel with a few random questions- kind of like those old-school "20 random facts" posts you used to see on Xanga and LiveJournal and MySpace- along with his answers, and then he mentions who he'd like to see answer those questions next (though anybody can make a video with their responses without being "tagged"). These videos spread around YouTube rather rapidly every year and I don't think many people know where they originate, just that their favorite YouTubers always answer the survey.
This year, I've decided to participate in the survey here on the blog. I had even considered recording a video with my responses, vlog-style, but I've been battling a cold the past few days and my voice sounds all wonky (and sometimes non-existent), plus the congestion is not very camera-friendly. So you'll just have to settle for written answers!
What's your biggest fear?
I think I'll answer this the same way Alex did- in two parts.
Superficially, I'm afraid of burning myself. I don't like fire, and it wasn't until a Girl Scout camping trip and a lesson on campfire safety when I was actually forced to strike a match and use it to light something that I ever even touched matches. (That was middle school, if you'd like to mock me properly.) Even now, if I'm going to light a candle- and I don't have many candles around the house because I'm paranoid about setting the house on fire- I prefer to use a large lighter. (And I've never, ever used a cigarette lighter. I always forced my chemistry lab partner to light the Bunsen burner.) But it's not just fire that I'm afraid of- when I'm baking, I wear an oven mitt on each hand to pull pans out of the oven- and to put cold ones in. I like to avoid hot ovens entirely if I can- if Mr. Geek is baking with me, I'd rather his job be to deal with the oven, and I'll do all the rest. I don't even like particularly hot showers, for fear of being scalded.
On a more philosophical level, I'm afraid of failure. Not in the sense that I'll prevent myself from taking risks, just that, when starting a new chapter of my life, I often experience intense anxiety over whether or not I'll be able to do it right. This pregnancy has been magnifying those fears ten fold- I've been afraid that I'm not doing the whole pregnant thing correctly sometimes (especially when it comes to my diet). I'm afraid I won't be a good parent. I'm afraid I won't be able to nurse Chief for the whole first year of her life (or more) like I want to. I'm afraid my career will suffer too much as I try to make the demands of my job work with the demands of being a mom, and that I won't be able to provide our family with all of the opportunities that I'd previously hoped. (Heck, even before Chief came into our lives, I was starting to fear that I just plain wouldn't be good at my job as I move up in the organization.) I'm constantly receiving validation and encouragement from Mr. Geek, from my family and friends, from my co-workers, but no amount of "you'll be fine"s and "you can do it"s will ever be able to quiet that tiny voice that unceasingly questions whether I know what I'm doing.
How did you find out Santa wasn't real?
The year we moved into our house in Botetourt County, I was eager to help my mom with the Christmas decorations. (Well, okay, what I really wanted was to climb the rickety ladder into the mysterious attic where the decorations were stored, because attics are a great setting for adventures and magical discoveries.) Mom was insistent that I not join her in the attic for various reasons- she didn't want me to fall off the ladder, the boxes were too heavy for me to carry back down anyway, and I could be more help to her if I would just take things that she brought down and carried them into the living room. This process was going well until she was taking a particularly long time with one box at what seemed to be the very back of the attic, so I started to climb the ladder to follow her in. And then, I saw it- the thing that had been the top of my list for Santa that year- Mall Madness, a board game which gives each player a credit card and the object of the game is to shop. My initial reaction was excitement- "When did you get that? Bring it down, I want to play it now!" My mom tried to brush it off quickly- "Oh, um, that must have been left behind by the people that lived here before us..."- but she refused to let me have it right then. "It's supposed to be a present," she finally told me. But I knew about her stash of Christmas presents- they were in her closet, under a pile of old ugly sweaters and handbags, and they were all already wrapped. Santa never delivered wrapped presents in our house, they were artfully arranged in front of the fireplace on Christmas morning so that we could immediately see what we'd been given. She saw the light bulb go off in my head and quickly tried the "It was left here by the former occupants" story once again, but to no avail. Later, she explained that traditions like Santa Claus were her and Dad's way of giving my sisters and I special treats without spoiling us, and that it was important that I not ruin the magic for my sisters. She told me not to think of it as them lying to us, but rather that they were playing make-believe. It worked- I didn't tell my sisters. I'm not sure how they found out, actually...
What's the best idea you've ever had?
I think the best idea I've ever had was that Mr. Geek and I should get married. I know most people would refer to this as "making a decision" rather than "having an idea," but it was an idea, and it was very much my idea. Very early along in the "official" part of our relationship, when we decided we were a long-distance couple and not just long-distance friends, I realized that he would be someone worth fighting for- that this relationship would be something worth working for. I'm not sure when I said it, but the first time marriage was brought up, I turned to him and said, "We should get married." So yeah, it was my idea- and it was a damn good one at that.
What's the most embarrassing thing your parents have ever done?
I can't believe I'm about to put this story on the internet, but here it goes. When I was in high school, my mom refused to allow me to own a thong. I don't know why I was so enamored with the things, but the cool girls at school wore them (and let everybody know about it). I tried every tactic, even arguing that they were the best form of underwear to be worn under dance costumes because they meant no lines- but she countered that with "well then don't wear underwear at all under your costumes." Touche, Mom, touche. I bought one myself one time without her knowing, wore it to school (and took it off before dance class because yeah...it was uncomfortable), and I even volunteered to do the laundry the next day "in an effort to chip in more around here," but apparently laundry couldn't wait until I got home from my after school job, and the offending garment was discovered and thrown away without any further discussion.
That's not the embarrassing bit. This next part is.
We were visiting extended family and playing a rousing game of Taboo with various aunts, uncles, and cousins (and second cousins, and cousins once-removed, and great aunts and great uncles...you get the picture. Everyone.). It was Mom's turn. She drew a card, saw all the words she wasn't allowed to say, and used the first clue that popped into her head- she pointed at me and said, "I won't let you have one of these." Without hesitation, I guessed, "A thong?" and she screamed "Yes!" before drawing another card, and then we both looked at each other dead in the eye, realizing what we had admitted in front of EVERYONE. I ran upstairs and refused to talk to anyone for the rest of the night. She finished the game (and won, I do believe). At first my sister pointed out that it was equally my fault for admitting it by making the guess, but the damage was done- she would have used another clue and somebody else would have guessed it, or she would have had to announce what the right answer was, and the statement would still have been made- "Miss Geek wants a thong and her mom won't let her buy one."
If you were only allowed to pick one career for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Imagineering. It's the reason I decided to get a mechanical engineering degree- I wanted to design roller coasters and other attractions for the Disney theme parks. As with all dream jobs, things happened, other opportunities arose, and I never managed to line myself up properly for that career, but if it were possible to drop everything and do so now, I would in a heart beat. (Especially if it meant free park tickets.)
What two people would you like to see complete this survey next?
Not that I'm saying they have to now, but I'd be interested to read answers to these questions from Shayla of Northern Exposure and Karisa of Karisa Tells All.
And of course you, lovely readers! What are your answers to any or all of these questions from this year's survey?