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Finding Timeless Wisdom When I Ate Dead Insects In China

I ate a handful of fried bees in China once. Right after that I ate that I swallowed down an enormous fried worm the size of my ring finger. And following that I of course took a gigantic swig of water and wished my stomach the best of luck.

Moments before the crunch in my mouth I sat across from my boss at the time, contemplating the two options I had as I stared at the platter of bees and worms before me that he had so graciously gifted me. I could either…

1.) Woman the F*ck Up: (Pardon my French but I feel nothing else goes better here when it comes to eating fried worms!) and open myself up to see if this new slice of life will somehow inspire a turning point, an idea, a passion, a lesson, a possibly new favorite food!

2.) Give him the good ole’ excuse as to why I can’t try the delicacy he wanted to share with me: “I’m sorry… that’s just disgusting.” “Thank you, but I am too full and you and I both know that once you eat one bee you can’t help but have another. They’re like Lays Potato Chips!”.

What’s a girl to do? To eat or not to eat the once slimy fried worm and once happily buzzing bee?!

Well, you and I know that a real lady always goes for eating the fried worms of life. Real ladies take chances, embrace adventure, and have no time to bother with silly little rules and limits. Real men as well, of course!

And while metaphorically speaking it isn’t the most elegant of comparisons, I’d have to say that some of the risks that we have the opportunity to take can look as disgusting from above as a plate of fried worms and bees can look like below you.

And so I ate the worm, and I ate the bees. What ensued was…well…

I chewed with a smile on my face, giving my boss the look of approval that hopefully read, “Your country’s customs, traditions, and more than anything, food, pleases me to the point of envy… for all we have in America is pizza, burgers, and cotton candy, all of which I of course loathe!” In my mind, to your surprise I’m sure, I was thinking, “OMFG there is half a worm in my freaking mouth right now and how the hell am I going to eat the second half!?!?!?!?”.

FINDING TIMELESS WISDOM IN CONSUMING DEAD BEES AND WORMS

The results of this meal were: This particular “chance” I took was one of the most disgusting and ugly chances with a 99.9% likelihood of a terrible outcome I’ve ever taken in my life. And I knew it would be that way. I knew I would hate the worm and the bee as both a desert and a snack food.

But I also knew that at future moments in my life I’d look back on this and I’d laugh with a smile on my face. I knew I’d have a story to tell should I want to convince someone else to eat something disgusting or possibly just gross someone out a bit. (Sorry!) I knew that taking that bite without thinking too hard about it would help me to stretch and workout my “do wild, crazy, and memorable things – don’t be a little b*tch” muscle.

And so looking back on this experience I learned three very good lessons that I’d like to share with you today:

1.) When taking chances in life that are likely to have disgusting outcomes, it’s quite likely they will. But they’re not going to kill you. The worst possible outcome usually doesn’t happen! Metaphorically speaking, you probably won’t end up in the hospital after 10 days of food poisoning and then medevac’d back to your home country, but rather, you’ll simply end up with a strange taste in your mouth, a great story to share, and a few lessons you’ve learned.

2.) When someone you trust gives you an opportunity to try something scary you normally wouldn’t do without a little push, let them give you that opportunity by embracing it and going for it. They aren’t trying to force you to change, inflict pain on you, or put you through anything that would harm you. It’s actually the total opposite, and they simply want the best for you. They’re not trying to force dead bees down your throat, but rather, they’re simply trying to open your eyes to something you’d once turned your head to or hadn’t considered before.

3.) Note to Self: Never, ever, ever shall I eat fried bees or worms again. Ever.

THE CALL TO ACTION: THE ZEN OF GROSS FOOD

So there you have it, my friends. I would have never thought that I’d find such solace and wisdom when reminiscing over the flavors of bee in my mouth, but I guess that’s how taking risks that are bound to go wrong work.

Of course, you know I’m incapable of concluding a post without a little bit of a call to action, double-dog-dare for you.

This week, real-life speaking or metaphorically speaking, eat something that is bound to be a little gross. If you’re abroad right now try one of the country’s most off-putting delicacies, and if you’re in your home country head over to the local Asian market and grab some chicken feet or find something insane in the ethnic food section of the grocery store.

And remember, come up with 2 ways to do this: Metaphorically speaking and Actually speaking. …Yes…eating dead bees and worms equate to an optimistic metaphor of taking risks in life …who would have thought!

Oh, and as I type this I just had a quick idea: Film the moment of eating it and your reaction and send me the YouTube link because I have to see this!!! Also, so I don’t feel so alone and unladylike for eating something so grotesque. And finally, because doesn’t a Part II list post of nothing but videos of us eating the world’s craziest things sound… delicious?! 😛

For The Comments: Do you have any gross similar stories you’d like to share? Videos of you conquering a similar feat? What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done that represents a similar metaphor? And lastly, an acceptance of my apology for grossing you out by writing about eating dead insects! Bon Appetit!

About Lauren Rains

Hi my name is Lauren Rains. I write about the human experience. Through thick and thin, I’m dedicated to growth, adventure, integrity, and love. The Mad To Live is based on my pursuits, experiments, research, and lessons of challenge and triumph in all areas of life, including being entrepreneur, a writer, a philosopher, a traveler, a teacher, a student, a creative, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a significant other, a stranger and the list goes on. At the end of the day, I believe human beings are here for two reasons: 1.) to love one another with total acceptance, and 2.) to see what we’re made of as we create the possibilities for an abundant life for ourselves and for others. No more bullshit, let's just enjoy our lives.

Share with me what you're getting into that matters to you. It could be stepping into entrepreneurial pursuits, embarking on a journey of the self, making a crazy life change, or even if you're totally stuck. I want to connect with, support, collaborate with, and learn from as many people as possible through this blog (that means you!) Click the *Share* link in the main menu and let's connect by filling out the form.

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  • I think that the fact that you are considering doing something “different” means that your mind knows it’s fine. You wouldn’t consider jumping off a cliff without a bungee rope because your mind knows that that will be the end of You.
    So if your mind knows it’s okay, then it’s your feelings that are holding you back, that are telling you that bad things will happen. You should not listen to your feelings (unless you feel you have to go to the bathroom).
    I’m not sure if this theory is water proof, but at least it works for me…

    Oh yeah, I once ate fried grasshoppers. They were good, tasted a bit like peanuts. I would eat them again if I had the chance. Only when the legs get stuck between your teeth it’s a bit annoying

    • Hey Nicolas!!
      haha i like your waterproof idea!!!! Nice way of looking at it 🙂
      And grasshoppers… I haven’t had those… YET… I’ll try anything ONCE! Well, almost anything 😛

  • Nothing like gleaning wisdom from crunching bugs in your mouth. That said, if you can get gems like this from grubs, then you may really be on to something.

    • Hey David!!!
      haha I guess I’ll just have to eat more critters if I really want to find the meaning of life 😛

  • Meg

    I ate a scorpion once…. it tasted kinda like a crunch bar. I can’t say that I gained the same wisdom as you did. Maybe being in China and in the culture helped with that. I was just at a beach in Nor Cal. Anytime anything crazy crosses my plate I try and take the leap. i don’t ever want to look back and say…ahh man, I should have just did it or at least tried it. I’m glad you made the plunge! 🙂

    • Hey Meg!!
      You ate a scorpion once?!… BADASS!!! I know exactly what you mean about not wanting to ahve that “damn i wish I had” feeling! b/c actually when I was in china I had ample opportunity to try scorpion and I never crossed that border! When I go back I’ll have two instead! lol 😛

  • I will try a lot of different food when traveling, but I have to say anything that looks like an insect will probably never make it into my mouth. Brave girl 🙂

    • haha I honestly do not blame you!!! 😛 There’s a really great TED talk out there about eating insects (I wish I could remember by who) but his argument is that we are crazy not to be joining countries that have Grasshopper with their cereal 😛 …not sure if that 15 minutes will convince you or me, but still intersting to think about! 😛

  • I just love your posts! This kind of reminds me of the time that my friends just happened to sign me up for the world’s third highest bungy jump… just so I would join them in that cable car to the ledge.

    And I’ll admit, it was so worth it!

    • Hey Annie!!!
      haha that is crazy!!! I have gone sky diving, gone hot air ballooning, and jumped off some high rocks… but I’ve never ever gone bungee jumping & the thought of doing it scares the crap out of me!!!! But, I guess that’s all the more reason to do it! And hey, its go big or go home, so hell yea and cheers to you for doing the 3rd highest in the world!!!!!!!!
      – Laur 🙂

  • This was a great read! Bees freak me out I dunno if I could ever do that. Eating a worm sounds interesting though. Still not gonna go out and find any fried worms though 😉
    I once ate a head of a shrimp. Well the head and the little leg thingies. It was very very very crunchy like chewing thin pieces of glass. I did not enjoy it not because it was nasty but because… you really aren’t supposed to eat the head of a shrimp lol. But the people at the sushi joint dared me too and I figured why not. I think I chewed on it for a good hour.

    • Hey Dyamond!!!
      hahah yea I was scared the stinger would still be stuck in the bee and I’d get an even more not so pleasant surprise upon eating it!
      And as for a head of shrimp haha wow I have never ever done that!!!!! But I can never resist a good dare myself lol. 😛
      Bon Appetit! lol
      – Laur 🙂

  • Thank you for sharing your timeless wisdom procured via eating bugs – so that now I don’t HAVE to eat the bugs to find out!

    You are a brave woman! I am not at ALL adventurous when it comes to food choices, and I am quite okay with that decision. I just learn all about it from everyone else… 🙂

    • Hey Dalene!!!
      Hahah I’m so glad I was able to be a helping hand in enabling you to avoid eating bugs lol.
      I kind of feel that way about bungee jumping… it scares the crap out of me!!!! … but I have a feeling I’ll get around to doing it eventually… I’d rather eat dead worms again though lol 😛

  • The worst that can happen with something is that you have a beautiful story to tell to a lot of other people. If you backed down and made the excuse, there’s no story.

    • Hey Matt!
      I couldn’t agree more!! Our life story would be pretty darn boring if we backed away from every ridiculous piece of crazy we walked into! 🙂 Who know I could find a beautiful story out of eating such not so beautiful insects 😛

  • Nice one!

    For future reference… intestines are kind of like macaroni, scorpion is kind of gross, and any chance for snake wine, do it! The venom does something weird with the whisky/wine…

    Kind of wondering whether the Chinese tell their children off, “Don’t talk with your mouth full!… of bugs”

  • HA! That’s pretty awesome. I was grossed out the moment my eyes focused in on that picture, but touche. When life hands you bees…eat em!

    I love the wisdom you pull out of everyday experiences. But there is a lot to be said about taking a leap and trying something you think you might not enjoy. That lesson can be generalized to all areas of life. Read a book you don’t think you’ll like. Listen to a genre of music you don’t normally listen to. Watch TV in a different language.

    There are so many ways to mix it up and encounter new ideas and experiences. What it comes down to is just doing it!

  • ohmigosh! you’re so brave. I don’t think I would ever be able to eat those things! I tried Filipino balut and that was enough for me..