Face your fears

See the happy grin on my husband’s face? See my tentative smile and the way I’m clutching my gear in a death grip even though we are still on terra firma? Well, the terra isn’t too firma. We are about 600 feet above sea level and what you can’t feel are my sweaty palms or know the feverish thoughts running back and forth in my head as I try to recall why I agreed to do this.

We are about to zip-line. I know you’re probably thinking, what’s her problem, NBD. But to me it is and was.

There are two different kinds of people in the world—the ‘that sounds fun let’s do it’ people (my husband) and the ‘hold on-let’s think this through’ folks…and you can guess which one I am.

This kind of yin yang relationship has served us well over the years (see my post about Klondike bars) but in this case, I’m already on the platform and the only way to get from A to B is to zip across. Five different times. A B C D E F.

Well of course I could’ve completely chickened out. Or I could, you know, grow a pair and FACE MY FEARS. So the thoughts continue to swirl in my head. As I struggle to find the guts to do this, my husband is so freakin excited he’s dancing in place. He can’t wait to go. And yes I’ve survived cancer and surgery and four kids and law school but still no. I live on the 26th floor of my building but I just can’t.

While the rest of our group zips across the deep foggy canyon with varying degrees of confidence, I mutter, “I can’t do this.” Finally my husband says “Yes, you can but you don’t have to.”

Oh, he knows me so well. If he had said I had to do it, I would’ve balked out of sheer stubbornness. But saying I didn’t have to, settled it. I did it because I wanted to.

The awesomely calm, confident guide cajoles me to the gate. This portion of the zip line takes only (!) 10-12 seconds at 40 miles per hour. What could happen? I can do anything for 10 seconds I tell myself.

I wait at the gate looking out into the yawning chasm for a nano second. Enough time to wish I was Superwoman, Thelma, Louise or just an angry bull about to go into the ring.

And then I am through the gate and in the air, zipping along. The sound of the line is really like a giant zipper pulling and I am wide eyed, struck dumb with fear.

And then I am done. I am at the platform at the other side. And it is not like childbirth where you forget the pain and you have a lovely baby at the end of it all. And wow what if childbirth only took 10 seconds. But I digress. I realize  I was too scared to pay any attention to the scenery. I didn’t scream with fear or exuberance. I was simply counting the beats of my heart.

So for me it was one and done. I didn’t finish. I was still afraid. I was good.

Strangely enough on the following zip portion there was a mishap involving my husband. He ‘came in hot’ he joked, broke through two safety brakes and finally came to a screeching halt on the third built in redundancy brake put there to stop a person from crashing off the platform.

And yes, thank God he was fine. And of course he wanted to finish the course.

Ironic? Weird?

What fears do you have?

9 thoughts on “Face your fears”

  1. I have a fear of dark places. I particularly don’t like small dark places. I also have a fear of bugs that I had to overcome by taking an Entomology class in college.

  2. Nice post! I’ve never been ziplining, and don’t have a problem with heights, per se, but it just seems to me like too many things could go wrong – like they almost did for your husband. My problem is being able to vividly imagine all the worst case scenarios possible and latch onto the bloodiest ones… downside of being a writer perhaps?

  3. Wow! If I didn’t have physical problems, I probably would have tried that. I know I felt that way before my first water slide, but I loved it.

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