#14 ~ Nickel, dime, penny for your thoughts…

Ever since the “Life is like a bowl of bananas” analogy hit me like a ton of bricks, I’ve been thinking. (I know, scary.) I’ve been thinking about other reasons we raise the white flag to our bucket lists…

I look at my precious daughter and I see how sweet and innocent life is to her.

When I tell her that she can do something, she trusts me. Then, she does it.

When I reach out to her and tell her how proud I am of her accomplishments, she believes me. It gives her encouragement for her next challenge.

When I snuggle with her on the couch and tell her that I’ll always be her cheerleader, she smiles and says, “OK, Mommy. Tanks.” (Translation: Thanks … she’s two.) She knows I will always be at her side cheering her on.

She’s a clean slate. She trusts, believes and goes about her day without a doubt in her heart.  She tries new things. She’s adventurous. She doesn’t let anything get in her way.

So, at what point in our lives did we learn we can’t reach our dreams? Who taught us that? Did we teach it to ourselves?

I’m sure the answers to these questions will vary drastically between each of us. To be honest, I’ve had a hard time answering them myself. I have very encouraging parents who believed in my dreams…and they still do. Sure, I was picked on as a kid like anyone else. In many ways, that fueled me to strive harder at my goals, be kinder to others and even try to understand the instigators.

I’ve been wracking my brain trying to find answers.

And then it hit me…

I’ve shared this story with maybe a handful of people. It’s really not a dramatic event. It’s nothing most people would think twice about, but it’s something that I have carried in my mind for years and years.

I’m pretty sure I was around five or six years old. It was after school and blistering hot. In our Texas neighborhood, that meant there were children running amuck outside. Building clubhouses out of scrap wood. Riding bikes up and down long driveways. Playing Dukes of Hazzard with friends. (I always played Daisy.)

On this particular late muggy afternoon, the ice cream man’s chime could be heard lofting from a street behind our house. Everyone stopped what they were doing, ran quickly in their houses, gathered pocket change and then darted at warp speed towards the truck’s melody. I ran inside, begged Mom permission to buy a piece of frozen heaven, received her approval then ran to my room for my little coin purse. It was filled with gobs of nickels, dimes and pennies.

I wasn’t much of a sprinter, so I was the last one to make it to the truck. I tried not to pant like a tired old dog, but I was out of breath. I had no clue what I was going to get. The choices seemed overwhelming. I didn’t want to spend my life savings on something I didn’t like. I went over the list… over and over and over…all the while panic rushed over me. I had to make a decision now.

He asked, “What would you like today?”

I was so excited to get something on my own, but I instantly felt beyond embarrassed. I wanted to cry. I held back tears.


He asked a few times if I was sure. He was confused. What kid rushes to the ice cream man with money in hand and doesn’t buy anything?

I realized I didn’t know how to count my money. I was embarrassed. So embarrassed. I didn’t even want to ask for his help. He would think I was dumb. I, for sure, wasn’t about to ask any of the other kids. They would laugh. They’d think I was stupid.

I was just a little kid.

Right then and there, I “learned” to be embarrassed.  I learned to be ashamed that I didn’t know how to do something that, at the time, meant so much to me. Ever since then, I’ve often felt the same rush of emotion when embarking on a new adventure…a new dream.

I can honestly say that the fear of embarrassment has always far outweighed my fear of failure. Everyone fails from time to time. Nobody can win at everything. My embarrassment comes from the possibility that others would think I was crazy to dream so big or the lack of ability to reach the finish line in a race that never should have been run.

As if there would be crowds of people pointing and laughing at me? Well, you never know.

Perhaps prior to this event someone laughed at me when I tried my best at another challenge. Probably. I was a kid. It’s what kids do to each other. Maybe that’s where I learned to be embarrassed, but sad is the day when I can’t brush that off as an adult.

I’ll tell you what…I’m not too ashamed to ask for help this time around. I’m running to the finish line (in heels, of course) with my little bag of coins in hand and I’ll gladly ask the ice cream man anyone for the answers I’ll need along the way.

©2010 Melody G. Fritchley


  1. Kim said

    I can’t remember the first time I felt embarrassed but I have and still do often embarrass myself. I pretty good at it. 🙂

  2. Kerry said

    Awww Melody, I can absolutely picture you as that little girl on a summer day! You paint perfect pictures through words.

  3. Lara said

    Wow, this really makes me think of what holds me back and where I learned not to follow my dreams. It’s very interesting the little things we remember from our childhood. Little did you know that you’d be holding on to that memory for so long. Your story is touching and innocent. It makes me want to reach out and hug that little girl in line for ice cream and tell her that she has more than enough change in her purse for 5 cones!

    • Melody said


      Awwww well, the little girl inside thanks you for the encouragement…and 5 ice cream cones. 🙂


  4. If it makes you feel any better, I laugh at myself all of the time now…Is that the same? 🙂 HA!

    I’m happy that you have realized that we just all can’t do this game alone.

    It has been a pleasure connecting with you, Melody. I was happy to grant you with the Sunshine Award…:)

    Now allow me to be your mother for a moment…GO TO BED EARLIER!!!!
    (I’m laughing because I was just told this same thing earlier in the week!)

    • Melody said


      LOL You have no idea how many times I’ve been told to go to bed earlier! hahaha Love it. Trust me, after staying up so late last night, I’ll be hitting the hay nice and early tonight!

      Thanks again for the blog award…the little things in life just make my day. 🙂


  5. Chrystal said

    Hey Mel,
    When this project of yours is revealed we will have a big ice cream party to celebrate and you can have whatever you want and leave your coin purse at home 🙂

  6. Andrea said

    Yes, I think embarassment certainly plays a role in not trying things for me. You hit the nail on the head! I guess I have never gotten over that, maybe?

    BTW, look at your rockin’ supermodel picture! Wow!

  7. Date Girl said

    I definitely fear embarrassment! That’s a good point, I think we learn embarrassment early on in life. I can still remember specific moments as a child when I was mortified. Maybe that’s what holds me back from my dreams. I think the other part for me is fear of the unknown, the what if? I worry that I won’t be able to support myself and my fiance if I try to achieve a different career goal. I admire you and your drive. You motivate me every time I read your blog!

    As to your comment on my blog, I wonder what your nickname would be too. Since you’re a foot taller than me, it might be something as cliche as something about your height, or I could call you shorty. 😉

  8. Kelly Jo said

    Melody, you have such an amazing way of seeing the importance of the seemingly small moments. I just love reading your blog.
    It’s unbelievable how moments like that not only begin to shape us, but stick with us so vividly!

  9. Mari said

    You do such a great job of putting this into words. I can see and feel the whole thing. Embarrassment has held me back too, but I’ve really gotten pretty good at laughing at myself. And you know what? Usually people laugh with me! (and not at me)

  10. Jordan said

    I think part of what prevents us from continuing to dream big is that the older we get, the more failures we have to face. I mean, you may think you can get the lead in your high school musical, but when you don’t it seems only natural to doubt that you deserved it in the first place. Or, if you interview for a job you think you’re perfect for, but then don’t get it, well, maybe you weren’t as qualified as you thought? I think as those things start to happen to us–large and small–it starts to make us timid about continuing to dream big.

  11. I think that we have personality traits that hold us back and that if we’re to succeed we need to conquer that part of ourselves. Personally, I tend to quit when I get frustrated. If the going gets tough, I’m a big old quitter, my brain just shuts down. I have to push myself to work through it. Also, it helps having the ability to know these things about yourself. If you know your adverse to being embarrassed at least it’s something you can work on!

  12. Tricia said

    Ahhh, I would’ve helped you count your money! So true though. How the events that happen in our childhood, whether we remember them or not, but will eventually when an experience arises, effect how we carry ourselves today and in future instances! That is something I try to be very conscious of in my classroom!

  13. "Mom" Kathy said

    I know how you felt about not being able to count change. I can remember my first job and absolutely feared the time when I had to ring up a sale, and heaven forbid I wasn’t given the EXACT amount of the sale,and would have to count back the change. I eventually figured out how,but the fear that grips your gut is one that you’ll always remember. Now when you make a purchase and use cash, the change you get back (coins, paper PLUS the receipt) is dumped in the palm of your hand ALL AT ONCE!!! That just irritates the beegeebers out of me……c’mon, count it back to me, please 🙂

    I love that you’re blogging and look forward to reading each entry……

    Hugs ((( ))))

  14. Crystal said

    I never thought of where those insecure feelings begin. I see my daughter getting more and more insecure as she gets older. If she does something funny, and I laugh, she gets mad at me. She use to not even notice when I laughed at her cute things she said or did. Anyway, what a great post. I struggle with those feelings as well, and just hope to build my confidence little by little 🙂

  15. This was such an awesome post! You couldn’t be more right…fear of embarrassment stops us from doing so many things!!

  16. Hello again Melody! I have a little award for you to brighten up your day. Come on by when you have a chance!

  17. Eden said

    I’m pretty sure that was me at the Starbucks the other day. I don’t drink coffee and thus, I don’t go to Starbucks. I was meeting someone there and the people were staring me down like, “order already, woman!” and I got scared and wanted to cry a little. Well, maybe I just grabbed a bottle of water because I have no idea what a super tall grande, triple soy mocha chocolate frappuccino is. Geez.

  18. Crystal said

    I forgot to mention, that I love your new picture! So beautiful!

  19. KellieS said

    Hi Mel,

    I was once mistaken for a boy in the ladies room of a cafeteria. I was so friggin embarrassed!

    Anyway, I have something for you…an award of sort called a LOVE LINK>

    Your site link and the following was posted on my blog today:

    Six Feet Over – Melody always brings a smile to my face when I read her articles.

    Please read on:

    I bestow this LOVE LINK honor on you this 12th day of February 2010. Now, you have received this LOVE LINK because you are special to the sender. So it’s up to you to share it with five of your favorite blogs and so on. It’s important that you post their links within a short article on your site as well as one reason why you love them. It is also important that you go to Womenslifelink.com (where it started) and share your blog’s name, location, and the name of the blogger who sent you the link. This is really an experiment, and we’d love to see it touch many bloggers around the world. Remember, it’s up to you to continue this LOVE LINK! Simply copy and paste this paragraph and what you’ve said about them into their blog comment section or an email. Good Luck and happy blogging!

  20. This is a very insightful and touching post. I think when we let go of the fear and regain trust, that is a wonderful way to stay young at heart.

  21. Michele said

    Im reading this from my office at work. i think i have tears in my eyes. Its sad when we let our fears bury inside and take away a part of our innocence. beautiful though.

  22. Roz said

    Talk about pennies for your thoughts! It so true, I love how you look at Hope for the clarity and innocence’s – if we could all keep that it would be amazing. However, learning what changes you and recoginizing that almost seems so much more satifiyig! Keep striving girl, I am here to cheer you on!

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