Archive for self confidence

Be Remembered, Not Forgotten

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I so admire people who can walk up to a complete stranger and get that person talking about their life or thoughts. I myself am fairly good at this from time to time, yet nothing like the lady I ran into at a recent 4th of July BBQ. There were about 40 of us out there on this 4,500 acre ranch next to Tom Ford’s massive property outside Santa Fe, New Mexico. Many of us didn’t know each other, yet most were happy to have you introduce yourself and engage in a few minutes of small talk. And then, there was this pretty lady, probably in her late 40’s. She marched up to me and told me she wanted to know more about my Olympic win. She had such a light in her face and keen interest in her tone of voice. She made me feel interesting and important. And though I tried to turn the conversation back to her, she successfully navigated me in another direction. Throughout the remainder of that day, I observed her chatting earnestly with quite a few others, and I was amazed at how easily she could engage just about anyone. Driving home from the ranch that evening, I thought of the people I had met and realized that although there had been a lot of nice, ‘well to do’ people there; the conversations they initiated were always about ‘them’ and how important they were. The one exception was that wonderful lady and how she made me feel special. As I turned off the dirt road to enter the highway, I thought of a quote from the late, great Angelou Maya, “People do not remember what we do or say. They remember how we make them feel.”

 

cc:  danahee 2014

 

 

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Destiny Is A Choice!

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We live, We Love, We Win, We Loose

Our destiny given, yet our fate to choose.

Who are we that can choose, you may say

Our path is given, we dare not stray!

Yet it is there within our heart, we know the truth

Our life is ours that only WE can prove.

Do not doubt, our destiny is clear

Only also know this, no matter what may seem

So much MORE is ours to redeem.

So rise, I say and claim your bounty.  

Choose your fate, over your seeming destiny.

The power you see, is up to you.

Do know that destiny can deceive.

And choose your life with the simplicity

That it truly is up to me.

We live, we love, we win, we lose

Our destiny given, our fate to choose.

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cc: dhee July 2014

 

 

 

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“IS THE THRILL OF VICTORY WORTH THE AGONY OF DEFEAT?”

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Is the thrill of victory worth the possible agony of defeat?

 

To me it is, because…

 

Too many times I said ‘no’ to conflict…and I felt like a coward

 

Too many times I said ‘no’ to challenge…and I felt like a looser

 

Too many times I said ‘no’ to risk…and I felt like I had lost out on something important

 

Too many times I said ‘no’ to my dreams…and I began to lose faith in them

 

Too many times I said ‘no’ to an opportunity in life…and I had regrets

 

Too many times I said ‘no’ to life…and I almost ended mine

 

What I discovered…is that it’s the chance, challenge and dreams in my life that gives me that sense of ‘meaning’ and purpose’ that keeps the light of ‘hope’ shining at the end of the tunnel.

 And whether I succeed or fail with my goal, I have found that the sense of pride and satisfaction I gain, from having the courage to step forward in pursuit of ‘happiness’…..well, ‘that’ gives me lifetime of pride and satisfaction.

 Too many times I said ‘no.’ So now, I say….YES!

cc:  danahee   May 2014

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Face You Fears – Unlimited Power!

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“I can’t believe I’m about to do this!” This thought flashes through my brain as I lean forward to place tension on the thin cable attached to the jerk vest hidden beneath my baggy clothing.

I slow my breathing down. The tension mounts around me, and the acrid stench of the torches burns into my throat. I can almost feel the simulated, nighttime darkness envelope me in its shroud.

You see, I am a stunt double for an actress on a film called, ‘Soldiers;’ and we are on set.  I’m about to be shot with a flamethrower device and knocked backwards through the air, and down into a gully, as several bombs explode.

I see everyone scurrying around me, and I feel like the calm in the center of a storm. The special effects guy double checks the fire squib he has placed on my stomach. My ratchet man is talking with me about my starting mark and my arm placement. The hair lady makes a final adjustment to my hair, as the bomb ‘squad,’ adjusts the propane bombs and debris cones that are on both sides to the front of me.

My boss asks if I’m ready. I give a nod and thumbs up sign. All of a sudden everybody scatters and disappears into the darkness. All is quiet. I keep the tension on the line and close my eyes as I hear the effects team say, “The bombs are going hot!”

From my cocoon of darkness I hear the shout on the megaphone, “Cameras Rolling!” “Speed!” “And on three. One….two….THREE!”

Simultaneously I feel the blast of heat, and I am jerked backwards and up. My eyes open and I see smoke, then darkness. I feel like I am swimming in the air. I fly backwards, 10ft…. 20ft… Hmmm, I seem to be traveling further than I did in the rehearsals. I should be free falling backward to the pads by now! Then I drop. And just as the thought dawns on me that I’m going to miss the pads, I feel a mighty “THWACK” to my head, and all goes black.

Ahhh….the life of a Hollywood stuntwoman! Ok, call me crazy, but I have been perfectly happy to be flying through the air, jumping through burning windows and slamming myself into walls. Well…maybe I’ve been a little happier when there has been no pain or headache involved, but I was definitely hooked on this wild roller coaster of a career!

Of course, you may be asking yourself, “Why in the world would anyone choose such a hazardous career?”

Well, have you ever wanted something so badly that you didn’t even try to accomplish it, because you were afraid you would find you couldn’t do it? I call it a fear of failure. That was the story of my life; that is, until I learned to defeat my fears by facing up to the challenges of my mind.

I come from a background of sexual abuse, abandonment, and the ravages created by suicidal, and alcoholic parents and relatives. I had no self-confidence or self-esteem. What I did have, was a bad habit of thinking, “I can’t,” along with a petrifying fear of disappointment, anger, hurt, and humiliation. As a result, I would typically run from any challenge of the mind, body, or soul.

I was my own worst enemy when it came to succeeding with something, and I was sick of it!

So when that first call came for me to double the villainess on the film ‘Under Cover Blues’ down in Lafayette, Louisiana. I jumped at the chance. When the fear of those first few stunts started to get in the way, I pushed them ruthlessly aside and did what I had to do. Afterwards, when I realized that I had completed the stunt successfully – even though my brain had almost been paralyzed with fear – I was enveloped in a euphoric, “walking on clouds” feeling of accomplishment.

At last, I had discovered a good battleground where I could focus on conquering my fears, and I was determined to win! So off I went to Hollywood.

Leaving behind my nine to five job in accounting, the Friday night parties, and Monday night football on the couch with my man, life, I jumped into my new career, and learned to face my fears on a daily basis.

As my experience and skills expanded, the jobs kept coming….’Batman Forever,’ ‘Batman & Robin,’ ‘Demolition Man,’ ‘Lethal Weapon 4,’ ‘Charlie’s Angels,’ ‘Swordfish,’ ‘The Long Kiss Goodnight,’ ‘Independence Day,’ plus an ongoing list of television shows like ‘Star Trek Voyager,’ ‘The Pretender,’ ‘VIP,’ and the ‘X-Files.’

Never would I have dreamed of being able to do the stunts I did with helicopters, jeep chases, jet ski-boat transfers, stair falls, saddle falls, jumps from buildings-through glass-over fences, hydraulic ratchets into walls – the ground – into other people. I would have never dared to be hit by a car wearing nothing but a sundress and sandals (‘Bella Mafia’)!

As one film led to another, I was swept up into a whirlwind of movie stars, travel, money, and extraordinary adventure.

I spent weeks working with actors like Nicole Kidman, Uma Thurman, and Mel Gibson. I hung out on the set with George Clooney, Sylvester Stallone, Charlie Sheen and Gwynneth Paltrow.

The productions flew me first class around the world to exotic locations to film. I galloped a horse in the sunset along the ancient cliffs and temples of Petra, Jordan (same local as ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’). I fought in a hurricane in Wales, and then floated in a rickety boat down a mystical river in the ancient capital of Ayutthaya, Thailand (‘Mortal Kombat Annihilation’).

There were side trips for shopping in London, museums in Paris, lounging on exotic beaches. And then there was the highlight of, after a brief sojourn in Rome working with Cameron Diaz on ‘Gangs of New York,’ I landed one of the best contracts in the business with the TV series, ‘Alias.’

Although the glamour of this business has been fun, it was at times overwhelming. To keep my sanity, I have always worked to balance my perspective of what is important, and what is real. (Imagine yourself walking on a very high tight-wire with your packed suitcase in one hand, and a martini in the other, and you’ll get an idea of how difficult this can be.)

Beneath the glitz and the glamour, I have found the real counter-balance in this rocky career is the underlying magnet of satisfaction and self-accomplishment.

 After a lifetime of dealing with issues from an extremely difficult childhood, I welcomed the challenges of this career. They have helped me balance and conquer those old feelings of low self-esteem, lack of confidence, and my fear of failure. (Not that I would recommend all people suffering from childhood trauma jump from buildings or launch themselves 20 feet through the air by stepping on a seriously dangerous mechanical device called an air ram)!

And now, after over 20 years, thousands of stunts, hundreds of movies, over 2,520 days of pain (excluding the eight hospital trips and numerous doctor visits for burns, stitches, pulls, breaks, and concussions), I can honestly say that I still enjoy the challenges of my work when I get one of those calls.  I just try to pass up the car hits, and stick to ‘prat falls’ and fighting!

Sure there were times when I would long for that nine to five, football night, bruise-free life. But when I was sixty feet up on a huge 360 degree rotating shipping crane, about to start a big fight on a contraption consisting of a forklift, a motorcycle, and a car sandwiched together (Barbwire), I knew that, once again, I was conquering that debilitating fear I felt growing up.

You see I now know that the only thing worse than failing is to let fear keep you from succeeding at what you want to do. Hey, call me crazy if you want, but now, instead of running from a challenge, when I’m asked to jump, I say, “how high?”

cc:   danahee  02/2014

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The Winds Of Change

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As I walk along the mountain path a wind begins to blow

 Past me, over me, around me, through me

 I say ‘hello.’  For I know this wind.  He is my friend.  He is the ‘Wind of Change.’

 I feel blessed with His friendship, and His gift of embracing me during this time

 And I know that He is helping me

 To blow the darkness away from my spirit…this sadness, this pain

 He brings instead joy, love and happiness to a broken soul

 He restores my health and passion

 With promises of the future

 And hope in the present

 I love my friend, the ‘Wind of Change.’

 Without Him nothing lives

 With Him everything blossoms

 I am grateful

cc:  danahee  February 2014

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A Bridge To Cross – A Future To Build

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There comes a point in everyone’s life that we need to cross a bridge.  For me, that time is now.

The past is over and done.  The future is yet to be seen.  All I have is right now…and I, for one want to make the most of each and every moment.

Therefore, I will close this heavy book I have been holding in my hand, and I will begin writing a new one with every step I take.  I will put one foot in front of the other leaving the old and familiar, as I cross that bridge into the future.

I do not know what is on the other side of this bridge.  Yet whatever it is, I will embrace it with all of my heart and soul.

Yes.  I do not know where I am going.  Yet I do know I will get there.  With God’s grace, it will be a wonderful place.

Today is the first day of the rest of my life.

cc:  danahee  February 19 2014

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Olympic Day. A Gift To Give!

An Olympian With an ‘Olympic Day’ Perspective

Just yesterday, a very shy six-year-old girl approached me with downcast eyes and caved in shoulders. 

“Can I have your autograph please?” She spoke in such a whisper of a voice that I could barely make out her words. 

I was suddenly blind-sided by the familiar pain of childhood, and the memory of my mother’s voice in my ears of, “You are not good enough and never will be!” 

You see, this little girl reminded me of what I was like when I was six years old…abandoned, abused, and raised in an orphanage in remote Louisiana.

Now as a mature woman who has conquered extreme odds and risen from the ashes to hover in the clouds with accomplishments in Olympics, Hollywood Film and Life…this little girl reminded me that I have been given a great gift in life; that of self-confidence, self-esteem and courage. 

Greeting her with a smile I said, “My what pretty blond hair you have!” “What’s your name?”

“Sylvia” She replied quietly…still not meeting my gaze.

“Why do you want my autograph Sylvia?”

Looking at me for the first time with blazing blue eyes and a very slight smile, she replied, “One day, I want to be strong like you!” And she quickly lowered her eyes once again.

“Well, Sylvia, do you know what I think?” I asked her as I took the crumpled up paper from her hands and straightened it out. She shook her head to answer ‘No.’ 

“I think you already are strong Sylvia.” “You just don’t know it here (and I touched her head), and here” (and I gently pressed my fingers above her heart).

“You see?” I continued. And she looked up at me with a puzzled look in her eyes. “It took a LOT of courage to come up here and ask me for this autograph.”  “So this tells me that you ARE brave and very strong!”

“Really” she spoke in a much firmer tone?

“Really!” I replied and I signed the autograph, gave her a big hug and then handed the paper to her. 

She giggled as she took the autograph and clutched it tightly to her heart. Then with her head held high and a beautiful smile on her face, she turned and skipped her way back through the heavy mass of kids, teens and adults crowding around.

With a radiant smile on my face and a warm feeling in my heart, I turned and greeted the next person in line.

Later, as I walked back to my car to leave, I realized that the most wonderful gift that I had been given in life…was to have the privilege to share a little bit of courage, self-confidence and self-esteem with those who needed it most.

To me, THIS was what ‘Olympic Day’ was truly about!

Dana Lynn Hee

(Posted on Facebook June 23rd 2010)

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