Thelma and Louise was started because of one reason and one reason only- to learn from others how they overcome their fears with the hopes to overcome my own. Fear is debilitating for many and it has been especially debilitating for me. Have you ever ignored your vulnerabilities completely with the hopes they would vanish? Have you ever been so afraid to jump- you stay close to home hoping no one ever notices what you are really trying to face everyday- which is yourself and all the self that comes along with the fears that live in your head? That has been me for a long time. Yes, many people believe that I am this fearless chick who can put myself out there with out any fear at all, but really I am only putting myself “out there” with the attempt to overcome my deep-rooted fear. Every time I sing in public or write a heart-wrenching essay or create a moving film that has my heart and soul in the story exposing my truth, I am attempting to stare down my fear. I wish I wasn’t so afraid of what lies beneath. I wish I could stare at it and slap it and say “Hey fear, get the F outta here!” But the truth is I lie awake at night truly afraid of living my truth and then force myself to do it anyway every morning, just so one day I might wake up unafraid- so far that hasn’t happened yet. I still wake up afraid like a sissy girl on a handball court playing opposite a 4th grade bully named Skeeter. In this case the bully is my fear.
About five years ago I started writing a book that exposed my fears and myself in ways I never imagined existed. I guess I wanted to really look at my narrative and get over my fear- really get over all of it. But after writing the whole damn thing, I didn’t become more courageous- nope. I became more afraid. Afraid of what would happen if anyone read it, afraid of how I would be judged, afraid of how certain people would take it, afraid of my own story and how I would live in this world knowing other people learned my full narrative- learned the full me- learned my full fears. Oh Dear G-d that fear is paralyzing! S#*!!
I have re-written my book several times over. I’ve written the clean version that my mother would be proud of, the uglier version that was full of my “wounded” self, and then I finally wrote the honest version. With all the F-bombs I use in my everyday life. Yes I have a potty mouth. There I said it. (I’m already feeling a little less afraid-.)
Every time I finish a rewrite I am left so empty and so afraid to part with my story, even though I know it will one day benefit so many people that I close the book and slip into a state of unrest filled with fear and unusual turmoil.
The book’s main theme is how to face fear and how to get over fear to meet my spirit, and yet here I am still remaining fearful of the very story I am hoping will make others fearless.
As a result of this fear, I had decided to take a break from the book and from my own narrative for a while to truly study how other people have stared down their own fears by allowing them to expose their personal fears with Thelma & Louise. For many of our interviewees this is the first time they say their truth out loud and I have found inspiration in watching how exposing their fears on a format as public as this one has literally changed their lives moving forward. The hope was that by learning from others how they become fearless, I would finally get the nerve to release my own book, my own narrative- no matter how many effing fears I have to kick down in order to get it done.
With that said, please meet the fearless Bea Youngs.
I am truly moved and amazed by women who follow their heart. I am even more fascinated by women who follow their heart after being wounded. That is what I call a warrior. And by all virtues of warrior truth, Bea Youngs fits into the category of heroic women.
A wife and the mother of two children, Bea is not your typical housewife. Bea is the owner, coach and a key player of an all women’s paintball team known as “Destiny Paintball.”
Destiny Paintball is the only all-female tournament paintball team that has won a national championship in a male-dominated sport. Let’s just say: they’re known to kick male team’s butts.As you might expect from a group of women in such an intense
sport, none of the players are wallflowers. But you might be surprised to learn they are a group of magnificently gorgeous women, all with varying backgrounds. Mothers, lawyers, nurses, body building champions – the team is made up of female stereotypes who are anything but stereotypical.
To meet or spend time with the owner of Destiny Paintball is to be in the presence of female power. But Bea didn’t truly discover her own power until a few years ago when her father was diagnosed with a very rare form of Parkinson’s Disease that left him completely paralyzed. Bea became his primary caregiver and after he died, he became a source of inspiration, which lead Bea to make the move to live out her dream as a professional competitive paintball player.
When Bea met her husband, Mike Paxson, he was her paintball coach and seven years younger, but that didn’t stop him from wooing her into his life.
Together they literally “live for paintball.” Between her husband’s travels as a player in his 6th season with one of the world’s best Division I professional paintball teams, the Los Angeles Ironmen, the ’07 & ’08 World Cup Champions, and the ’07 and ’08 NXL Series Champions and Bea’s commitment to her team, they lead a very full life as pre-tournament paintball players and as the parents of two beautiful little girls, ages 5 and 2.
That’s right. Bea is not just the leader of a group of women warriors, but captain of her team at home. And she finds herself playing this “Mama-bear” role in all aspects of her life, for her little girls at home as well as her “girls” on the field. In one instance she may be encouraging her teammates to push themselves harder, physically, to improve their paintball performance and, later, she may be encouraging those same teammates to go back to school or find their personal path.
Ironically, in spite of the mother role she’s adopted for Destiny’s players, one of Bea’s biggest fears was about becoming a mother, herself.
“I waited a long time to have kids and I was afraid I wouldn’t be a good mom, but one day, literally while changing my own father’s diaper, while he was suffering with Parkinson’s, he teased me by saying- “See, look how good you are at this, you’ll be a great mom!”
And a GREAT mom she became. After getting to know Bea, I realized her skills on the paintball field paled in comparison to her skills at motherhood. After probing Bea a little bit more about the fears she faces today, It became evident that although at one time in her life her biggest fear was becoming a mom, now that she is a mom, her biggest fear is sharing the story of her youngest daughter, Diane.
But Bea knows the drill at Thelma & Louise- if you’re going to get on this blog to kick fear in the face- you’re going to go all the way with us. You’re going to Get real or go home.
After really connecting with Bea, her warrior side came through and she did decide to kick her “fear in the face” and come out with her latest story.
When Bea’s second daughter, Diane, was born two years ago, Bea never imagined she would face the most difficult battle of her life. Diane had been born with a hole in her heart and a rare condition known as Trisomy 14 Mosaic. Bea has been reluctant to share this news with certain family members out of fear of how they might react. By the time Diane was a year old, she had undergone five surgeries, including PDA Stent Surgery, Feeding Tube Surgery, Open Heart Surgery, Cleft Palate Surgery and Ear Tube Surgery.
When I probed Bea to share her fears surrounding her daughter’s condition, she admitted that her fear was more in her own ability to perform as the mother her daughter needs her to be. Bea’s patience with her daughter and her determination to give Diane a good life has not just saved this little girl’s life, but has helped her become a little warrior, herself. Bea is not only Diane’s full time caregiver, handling her feedings through Diane’s feeding tube, and holding her hand in and out of her many surgeries, but she is her greatest fan and her strength as well. It’s not an easy task, Bea admits.
“I feel as though when I’m away from my family and with my paintball team, my paintball family, it helps to give me strength as a mom. I am a team player and mom to them and we have to play like a team to win. The same can apply to a family – I think I am super mom and can do it alone, but truth be told I have to depend on my husband and even my daughter and mother to help make our family win, which doesn’t come easy to me.”
The objective of a paintball game is to earn two points on the board in a certain period of time by grabbing the opposing team’s flag before the time is up. In order to meet that objective all the players must be strategizing like a perfect symmetrical dance. In other words, they need to come together like a team in order to win it. Ironically, Bea has been afraid to embrace this concept of teamwork in her life as a mother.
Her real fear was in her ability to create the “team” she needs in her own home so things run smoothly in the face of their new challenges. As Bea puts it so eloquently,
“Courage comes from having faith and staying on target daily, which I struggle with! Paintball doesn’t come easy for me. Mothering isn’t easy for me either, but I’m getting better at it. There are moments I do feel like giving up and running away! But… I keep reminding myself that we all have purpose. Having friends helps me — my girlfriends on my team, especially, and knowing that people depend on me (like my children). If I want them to be successful some day, I have to stay strong and true to doing that myself. Letting others in and trusting others to help me reach the goal is all part of staying on target. You can’t get courageous alone.”
Bea attributes much of her courage to her husband Mike, who seeks to alleviate Bea’s fears about their daughter.
“The only things it affected were her heart and palate. She’s going to be just fine,” Mike assures Bea.
They have each other to lean on and Mike plays a crucial part in Bea’s “home team,” that provides Bea with the support and encouragement she is so accustomed to giving to others.
That was exactly what I needed to hear. You really can’t get courageous alone. You really do need a team around you, helping you through the pitfalls and rooting you on when the chips are down.
To hear Bea’s story and see her courage on and off the field really helped me to realize that sometimes finding courage comes in the shape of a paintball warrior princess halfway across the globe, willing to hold your hand in the most frightening times of your own life. But I still wasn’t sure if meeting Bea was really the dose of courage I needed this week until she shared her purpose in life-
“I guess you could say my purpose is to inspire others struggling to overcome situations that seem unbearably challenging to get over. We only have this one life to live, and I want to help others. In doing so, it helps me to stay on course and fight my own battles.”
Suddenly it all made sense that I connected with this warrior woman online for nothing is by chance. I’ve met a woman across the country who seems to be holding the universe up with the same purpose I’ve always adhered to- it must be fate we met- maybe we were meant to meet- to become each other’s balance – to know when one is faltering there is another strong warrior on the other side of the country holding on tight so the other one won’t topple over.
After my Skype interview with Bea, she promised me a date on the paintball field and a karaoke night- because, of course, this woman is not just a wife, mother, paintball team owner, warrior player, but Oh- she’s a killer vocalist and DJ too!
Of course she is. Bea Youngs- I’ll play paintball with you and celebrate Karaoke style any time- Thanks for giving me the courage to open my manuscript today and get my ass out of my own head-