There are a lot of things one can detail when discussing fears. These can range from the absurd to the realistic… Some seem petty and irrational, and others well-founded. For example, I remember a few specific childhood fears: cockroaches (helloooo people, this is not new!), hurricanes (thank you, Hurricane Andrew, for introducing the idea that one’s house could be destroyed by wind and flood), and cancer (after the very unfair passing of my dear Nana).
Philosophically speaking, there are so many things one can fear — loss of life, etc — but on the risk of this post becoming too morbid, I am going to avoid those topics like the plague (<– see what I did there? I inserted another irrational fear from medieval times!).
Being an adult, I had assumed my fears had mostly been identified. And that, my friends, is where I was wrong… It's funny how standing on a 12 in by 36 inchish platform, 30 feet in the sky changes your perspective.
Meet my arch nemesis, the trapeze platform.
Yes, that would be a trapeze. That I paid to swing on. For realz yo… What was I thinking?
Let’s take this back a few steps:
Having felt adventurous while sitting at my computer one day, I found a groupon for a trapeze class. I bought it with a group of friends, figuring it would be a fun, healthy, good exercise-like thing to do. The class was scheduled for St Patrick’s Day… It has taken me two months to even write about this ordeal, it was that traumatizing! I should have known I would be better off celebrating my [small amount of] Irish heritage than attempting to trapeze. Alas, that was not that case.
We arrived at the circus, which was a sad, run-down old piece of land. In it’s glory days, it was probably a very nice place, but age and lack of maintenance had obviously taken its toll. Regardless, after each person in our group had taken our short lesson on the mini trapeze about four feet off the ground – a very safe and reasonable height – it was time to saddle up, i.e. strap in to the safety harness. Once hooked up, one had to climb a 30 foot painting ladder to reach the platform in order to get in position for swinging.
Seriously, you could get that ladder from any home improvement store! There isn’t some special set up for trapezing? Ummm, no. You can see how my confidence in the safety harness would be somewhat shaky as well…
So what does one do when a three friends and a handful of trapeze artists are waiting on you? You climb the damn ladder.
That would be my look of doubt.
My fears were not fully realized until I climbed about 2/3 up the Ladder. At that point, I was close enough to the instructor for her to persuade me to complete the climb. Once on the very shaky platform, there’s really only three ways down, and the first two suck — back down said ladder, falling, or flying.
Fine. Have it that way then.
What you can’t tell in that picture is that my eyes are tightly closed.
All in all, it was a fun experience. I’m proud of myself for even flying at all! But let me tell you – when your heart is racing and mind is completely blank – there is nothing worse than just stepping off the ledge. I can’t think of another time when my brain just stopped. It helps to bring to light a whole new perspective when considering other people’s fears, whether they may seem unfounded to me or not.
Conclusion: Lesson learned, I’m afraid of heights.