As most of you are aware, my plight into the dark abyss of fear is not foreign to me. Unfortunately, it’s been like a weight on my back for several years, shortly following the demon ride of all time, Soarin’. Disney has a foul sense of humour. They installed a ride intended for families and small children to enjoy epic vistas, a flying naturalistic view of land and water…and golf.
At the same time, they subjected the masses to ‘hang gliding’. WHAT?! This ride, apparently, is to “Experience the Golden State like never before while “hang-gliding” over landscapes as varied as they are beautiful. Feel like you’re flying—and even smell what you’re seeing as you skim rolling waves, powdery ski slopes, majestic redwood forests, fragrant orange groves and familiar landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge.” Ahh, it sounds so innocent and lovely. THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE?! I don’t remember FLYING OVER THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE! AHHH. I probably had my eyes shut in a frightened panic thinking I would surely crash into one of the steel components. Because, when you’re me, that isn’t a movie in front of me…it’s fucking real. As for the orange groves, they spray orangey stuff at you intending for you to ‘have the full experience’ when really all it did to me, was make me sneeze and jolt me almost to my death. From 6 feet in the air. What? It could happen…Could have hurt my ankle or bruised my ego or something….
Really, it simply subjected me to a dangling terror-filled journey into scenic vistas of golf courses and orange groves at perceived heights of 30,000 feet, whilst suspending me randomly in mid-air with a wanton frail looking belt and my own warped sense of minimal security. *sigh* DAMN YOU DISNEY. I think I cried through the entire thing. It was at that moment, I realized I was having a major panic attack ON A KIDDIE DISNEY RIDE. So, simply put…I decided riding on anything that left my feet dangling in mid-air with no security belts, major shoulder straps or helmets made of steel, was beyond my realm of possible feats. The end.
Until, Epic Ladies’ Trip 2012 and Jamaica ski lift ride from the other side of hell….the Jamaican jungle. I can still hear one of the ride operators in an attempt to fill the ladies with epic joy while we were dangling haphazardly several hundred feet above any kind of terra firma, yelling “HEY LADIES! HOW’S THE RIDE?!” All the while, me swearing profusely under my breath and sobbing in quiet hysterics with white knuckles gripping the steel bar fearing my ultimate descent into the jungle with nothing to soften my landing but the large fern leaves of all those very tall trees…ugh. In defense of the ladies and the tour operators, I did not even THINK to research the ride to Magic Mountain to see HOW THE HELL WE WERE SUPPOSED TO GET UP A MOUNTAIN. DUH…IT’S A MOUNTAIN. So, totally my fault and I managed to live through the ride up…tear stained and partially broken, but alive…and the ride down. Pretty much the same thing, only we were headed downwards, so logically, we were falling anyways. That’s how my brain works, people.
It was this latest vacation with Hubby that I decided enough was enough. Two trips with panic attacks were two trips too many. I needed to conquer this fear of flight. At least, attempt to conquer it. So when the opportunity arose to book a trip on the Oasis of the Seas, we took it. And when Hubby declared he was going to ride the zip line on the boat… I volunteered to take pictures. That was going to be it. Then he suggested I try it. I laughed at him and MAY have said something like “you are fucking crazy. HELLO. SOARIN’. DANGLING IN MID AIR” Then I thought about it. I looked at videos. LITTLE KIDS WERE GOING ON THE ZIPLINE. Surely, parents weren’t subjecting their children to death defying antics like a Zipline without precautions? Right? RIGHT?! AND, they were wearing helmets, and most importantly SAFETY BELTS! Hmmm…
After a bit of soul searching and arguing, mostly with myself, I convinced the weak and terribly frightened Kayjai that conquering a fear born from an innocent Disney ride, surely cannot be that bad. AND, If I happened to plummet to my death, what better way to go than in the Caribbean on a huge cruise ship above a burger shop that sold burgers and deadly milkshakes? Really, I would probably die more from the milkshake, than from the zip line…maybe.
We both stood in line and I managed to cross the zipline in epic Kayjai fashion. No, I won’t show you the video, because, well, my reaction at the end of the ride was…special. The smile was plastered to my face, I was stunned into silence and I was wearing a helmet…it wasn’t a fashion forward moment. I’ll let you imagine it…
Here’s the shot before I got to the top.
The greatest trepidation I felt, was putting my feet at stage 3 on the steel bar with the operator telling me repeatedly to ‘let go.’ I’m sure he was about to pull me from the whole thing when I did just that. I let go. I let go, forced my eyes to stay open and slid down the ride. I didn’t fall. I didn’t panic. I let go. The fear was replaced with joy. I extended my legs laughed at myself and made it to the other side with a huge relief and accomplishment. And possible whiplash at missing the landing mat and hitting the spring…it wasn’t pretty, but it was done.
No tears were shed in the making of this moment. Well, maybe a few at the sheer joy of accomplishment.
Fear is a powerful emotion and if you let it, it can take over. Don’t let it. Conquer your fear and see how strong you really are.
I dare you….let go.