Girl Swimming
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Getting It Wrong
I am terrified to mess up my facts; as a commentator, I need to be persuasive and accurate. When I give a speech—or go head-to-head with my conservative friend George Will—I'm more relaxed if I've done my homework.

I tell myself that a no is just a prelude to a yes. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, I reevaluate what I've done with an eye toward making it better.

When I feel humiliated—like the time I spat out my gum in a car full of people, not realizing the window was up—I try to keep in mind that humans are self-absorbed. They may laugh at you, but they move on.

When I was young, a hurricane flooded our house, and the water had reached my neck before my dad rescued me. I was 38 when I finally eased into the ocean, armed with floaties and a Boogie board. Some fears just require time—and the right accoutrements.

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