GISHWHES 2013 and Me

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GISHWHES (Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen) was the beginning of my Misha-time! Misha Collins is an actor on the CW’s Supernatural. He’s a creative, friendly, funny, generous, kind and more positive adjectives than I can come up with. After GISHWHES finished on the 18th, it was time for Misha’s birthday which Tumblr decided would be a good day to do random acts of kindness and donate to his charity in his name. Coming in November is Random Acts’ Endurance4Kindness, which I wasn’t participating in, but of course, I’ve changed my mind after reading all of the details and now I am.

One of the things that Misha and Random Acts do really well is how inclusive they are. Anyone can do anything and it works; it helps. No matter how small an amount of money, no matter how small a gesture, to the person on the receiving end, it is one of the biggest things they’ve ever gotten, and for me as the giver, there is really no better feeling.

So, I’m following Misha off this cliff, trusting that kindness and compassion will hold me up. It’s worked so far.

I’ve had a lot of trouble explaining GISHWHES to my family who’ve never heard of it or Misha. Scavenger hunt doesn’t quite cover it. Not to mention that for me, I’ve been anxious about GISHWHES ever since I’d heard about it late last fall. It is not my kind of thing; or so I thought. I had anticipated my friend forgetting about it, and when he hadn’t and instead of forming his own team (with me on it), he joined a team. When they had no room for one more, I thought I had dodged a bullet.

About twenty seconds later, I was registered, had started my own team, waiting anxiously for the list to be released, though multiple website crashes (both at the beginning and the end of the Hunt).

GISHWHES was not what I thought it would be. Even working my own items by myself (because my team was spread out across the country) wasn’t a bad thing. It wasn’t lonely at all. We had a Facebook group to coordinate with each other, and get opinions, although I still had to be independent; I had to be on time; I had to coordinate my items, make sure that our submitter submitted mine (this wasn’t a problem; she was great!), compromise on which items I took and keep track of updates and messages.

After a short while, I was reminded of my time working a memorial hike for my friend. For that hike, I felt obligated to help because of circumstances. I did want to, but again, I didn’t feel that it was my forte, and it was well out of my comfort zone, much like GISHWHES. I found, however, that the more work I did and completed for the hike, the more I wanted to do. I quickly went from list maker to supplier to whatever else I was asked to do; and then asked for more.

The same thing happened during GISHWHES. As I completed each item assigned to me, I would look through the more than 150 items to see what else I could do. I wanted to do more and more, and each next choice took me more and more out of my comfort zone.

This was a good thing.

By Tuesday, I was completely spent just from pure adrenaline. I called my friend, and left her a message, and when I told her to have a nice weekend, I knew GISHWHES was taking it out of me.

But in a good way.

I also had a great week thinking of my friend, Brittany. The memorial hike I mentioned earlier was for her. She was murdered in 2011, and I speak of her often. I’ve said in the past that I feel somewhat closer to her since her death, and I know that her spirit is often near. She’s brought me comfort these last couple of years as I’ve struggled with my own issues, but I hadn’t felt her presence so strongly, so reassuring and uplifting, encouraging me spiritually throughout GISHWHES as well as in addition to the Random Actapolypse and a couple of other things that happened during the same time. I will write more about those in later postings.

During GISHWHES week, I completed 8 tasks on my own, participated in a team task wearing my uniform shirt and took six Hug pictures for the Guinness Book of World Records!

The tasks themselves kept me within my comfort zones, but I did travel outside of them to display myself in public. Asking people to hug, wearing a sock monkey, ask people on Twitter to follow me (Osric Chau is a good sport, that’s all I have to say). I got my kids involved, and I had a great time.

I’m especially proud of my shrine to John Barrowman, my handmade Sock Monkey jewelry, and Winnie-the-Pooh going on a honey rampage with hostages and a death-defying rescue by Wonder Woman.

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My tasks amounted to 335 points and I spent $28.12 of my own money, not bad I think.

One of the other things that I got out of this is how little it takes to help, to be creative and to stretch yourself in ways that not only you didn’t think you could do, but in ways you hadn’t even thought of.

Instead of sapping me, it energized me. It encouraged me to push and think and stomp on the box until there was none. It didn’t completely change me or my attitudes or permanently relieve my anxiety, but it did show me different ways of doing things, and reminded me that the world won’t fall apart if it isn’t just-so.

Their motto is make friends, make art, do good in the world. There’s no reason to limit that to one Scavenger Hunt week; that’s something that can be done the other fifty-one weeks of the year.

As cliché as it might sound, I think I was good for GISHWHES, and GISHWHES was definitely very good for me.