I’m not sure if I have a fear of heights or a fear of losing control. Maybe a little bit of both. I’ve never had a desire to learn, say, rock climbing. Which is a little contradictory to my love of roller coasters. In a roller coaster, however, you so are completely strapped in that you can hardly move, except to put your hands over your head and scream your lungs out. I love the thrill of the drops and the curves and the loops.
It was this thrill of roller coasters that made me think I could ski. When my new boyfriend took me out on the ski hill, (in the Midwest, for heaven’s sake) I knew I could learn how to ski.
I was wrong.
I froze in the middle of the ski hill. I burst into tears. I told Ed, “I can’t do this!”
He said, “Well, you can’t walk back up the hill!”
I looked up. It would have been pretty hard. With Ed’s coaching, I eventually made it down the hill. And believe it or not, I went skiing again, but have mostly stuck to the bunny hills.
When I’m watching TV, my fear of heights disappears. I’ve seen various participants in reality shows go on zip lines, to build trust and build character or some such reason. Every time someone would freeze in terror at the top of the zip line pole and refuse to just jump off, I would think that it looked like so much fun…how hard could to be to just jump off that tiny platform? You’re all harnessed in and hooked up to a rope…just jump already!!
I had a chance to test my bravado just a couple of weeks ago, when Ed and I signed up to do a zip line on our vacation. As I was signing the waiver form that morning…you know, the form that says if I sustain serious injury or death that no one is liable…I began to feel a bit nervous.
As we climbed up the hill to the zip line, the excitement in our group was tangible. We couldn’t wait to see the valley we were about to be dangling above. When we saw the pole we had to climb, I sidled over to Ed and said, “I don’t think I can do this!”
As always, my calm, fearless husband replied, “Sure you can!”
We strapped on our harnesses, listened to our instructor, and my fear built. I didn’t want to go first, but I didn’t want to go last. Everyone felt the same way, and one brave soul volunteered to go first. Ed was second.
As I watched everyone zoom down the zip line, I was so excited to go…except I was afraid of the end. This was a running zip line, so even though there were people to help us at the other side, I had to run up the hill at the end of the zip line. No one was going to catch me. I was terrified I was going to drag in the dirt! Ed climbed up the hill, and reassured me that I could do it. My cousin went next, and told me that she would wait at the other side for me.
My cousin was waiting for me at the other side, and we were both trembling with all that adrenaline flowing through our bodies. We climbed back up that hill…..
and went down that zip line two more times! It was the most terrifying, most exhilarating experience I’ve ever had!
What’s the most terrifying — but also awesome — thing you’ve ever done?