We were already on our way so it was too late to turn back now. The deposit was nonrefundable. That’s how they get ya. Probably because of all the people who try back out last minute. I was pretty close.
“How about that phone pole? Is that one about 60 feet?” I said.
“Nah, too short. Maybe like three of those.” My husband answered nonchalantly.
“I dunno. That seems kinda high up.” I felt dizzy already. I don’t know how or why I get myself into these situations.
Having a fear of heights is pretty common. It’s one of the fears we are born with. It keeps us safe. Humans weren’t made to fly, birds were made for that and birds are creepy as hell.
See, when my husband booked the Aerial Trekking Treetop Adventure I was pumped. It sounded so cute at first. Let’s do it, I said. It will be fun, I said. I don’t know why I had felt so brave at the time. Maybe it was because I was nearing another birthday, another reminder I was getting older, or maybe it was the wine I was drinking when he asked me.
I flipped through the brochure for the first time and saw things like: strenuous activity, high in the treetops, secured by ropes 60ft high. I began to doubt every decision I ever made.
After the brief instructions, off you go high into the trees, hanging by a single thread… ok rope. I’m not going to lie, it was the most anxiety filled, shaky experience ever. I couldn’t breathe and at times I thought I was going to projectile vomit from 60ft in the air. My movements were excruciatingly slow and careful. I got stuck. A lot. But somehow I did it.
The only way to get through it wasn’t by avoiding my fear, or pretending like it didn’t exist. The only way to get through it was to accept I was afraid, to allow it, but to never let it take control.
Getting through that 60 foot, in the trees, rope obstacle course was one of the most empowering things I’ve ever done. I felt like no height could stop me. Like maybe I could one day go skydiving. Am I still scared of heights? Absolutely.
I recently went to a water park with a friend and the climb up those stairs to the water slide was too much. I white knuckle gripped the railing. It was terrifying. All I could picture was the side of the rails coming loose and me tumbling over the side. A freak accident. The park would be shut down and somebody would complain about how the disaster ruined their perfect water park day.
The fear, probably, will never go away. But, I can control it and so can you. You can get through it. We all fear something. Whether it’s taking a new job, moving to a new city, public speaking. It’s all the same thing and elicits the same physiological responses. Your body has no idea if you are base jumping or going on a first date. All it knows is fight or flight. Choose to fight.
Because the alternative, doing nothing, is way more scary.
I'm Jackie, an artist, illustrator, and friend to ghosts, monsters, and aliens. This blog is full of DIY projects, stories, and things I think are cool. Stay weird.