Monday, August 9, 2010

New Heights

"You can't go through life wearing a catcher's mitt on both hands; you've got to be ready to throw something back." Dr. Maya Angelou

Fear is a tough thing. Even if you know it's all in your head, it feels real - and, if you let it, can really set you back. I spent a long time living in fear of a lot of things. I held back, always stopping just short of something new, because I was scared. I settled for not trying because it was easier than being afraid.

That's no way to live.

Life is always going to shake you up. You can choose to look at the bumps in the road as an obstacle - or as a sign that things weren't going exactly right, and you need to change things up a bit. When my whole world changed a couple of years ago, at first, I thought the whole thing was an obstacle, and totally unfair. It didn't take too long before I decided to change that attitude because, darn it, if I was going to lose everything and turn my life completely inside out - it wasn't going to happen for nothing. There was a lesson, and I was determined to find it.

My whole world was different - so I thought the place to start was how I saw my world. Love, happiness, respect - even fear - all started to mean something new. I decided that now was the time I was going to try some new things, even if I was scared. Riding a roller coaster became one of those things.

This weekend, I had my chance. I visited an amusement park with plenty of rides to choose from. It turned out to be a beautiful day, so the park was full. Waiting on long lines was not on my list of things to try, so some choices had to be made. I was really apprehensive about the whole upside-down-inside-out thing, so I really wanted to try something that would start me off a little lighter. 

We found a good one. The Alpine Bobsled. Still classifed as a thrill ride (yay!), riders sit in a bobsled shaped car, climb a lift and are released into a twisted slide to shoot up, down and sideways. There are, I has happy to see, safety tracks on the side walls to keep the car from traveling too far up and flipping over. Thank goodness for smarty-pants engineers.

I'd like to say I kicked the ride's butt. That I was calm, cool and collected and ran straight up and jumped in as soon as I had the chance. I'd like to say all that. I might, even, but the one person who could totally out me also happens to read this blog (thanks, by the way!). So...

I basically creeped up to the entrance. I nervously jibber-jabbered my way up the line, which was {thankfully} one of the shorter in the park. When we got to the top, I really thought I was going to be sick from my fear. My Partner-in-Crime danced for me, which makes me smile. Smiles helped a lot. Still, I was more than happy to let another lady ahead of us so she could stay with her party. I did feel a lot better when her friend said to me, "You look scared." I confirmed that I was, in fact, scared to death. Guess what? She was too! I was so happy that I wasn't the only one.

Now it was our turn. Yikes. PIC got in the car ahead of me. Poor guy. These things aren't built for taller people. He told me later that he couldn't scream or laugh or anything because he was basically folded in thirds and could barely breath, much less make noise. I'd have probably known that for myself, if I hadn't handled the whole ride like a pro - you know, eyes closed, screaming for all I was worth, yelling to let me off and my head buried in his shoulder.

But I lived. I got through it, and even almost enjoyed it. I didn't get sick - in fact, I wasn't even queasy when we exited the ride (Dramaine is my friend). I said, even after all my theatrics about wanting off and praying for life, that I'd *gulp* ride again.

That's the thing about fear. It's really, truly powerful - until you face it, and don't let it win. Once you've done that just one time, you start to chip away at the power, and start taking it back for yourself. If you keep doing that - eventually, you have more power than your fear. It just takes a little determination, a little attitude and a little focus.

Having someone to make you laugh and smile your way through the fear never hurts, either.


  1. I love that you took charge and just went for it. Great post

  2. jerzygirl45 - Thanks! Scary but totally worth it.