Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Ground Is Where It's At

I have a fear of heights.  I don't fly in planes, helicopters, or anything that leaves the ground.  I would never bungee jump and people who jump out of planes confuse me.  That type of fun seems absolutely crazy to me.

When I say I have a fear of heights, I mean that if I even walk up the stairs, to the big slide, at the Minnesota State Fair, the world starts to spin, my heart starts to pound, and I freak out. I feel like I am falling.

It is most likely about control. I don't even like to be a passenger in a car.  I would rather drive.  In fact, I always drive.  Bob has been my passenger since we met.  He likes to be the passenger, I like to drive.  Sick-o's.

One of the things I did on the trip to Project Sanctuary last week was climb a telephone pole, which I'm guessing was fifty feet in the air, wearing a climbing harness, and then I zip-lined down.  For me, this was something EXTREMELY out of the normal.  When I read the schedule for the retreat, I saw "ropes course and zip-lining."  I immediately thought, "Oh SHIT!"  I was NOT going to panic.  I made a deal with my self that I was going to do the activities, and I was not going to let anyone know I was terrified of heights.  I was going to NOT talk about it and draw attention to it.  Which, by the way, was asking myself to behave totally out of character.  I talk constantly. Especially when stressed.

Well...I got half of it right.  I have a big mouth and usually tell everyone every single thing that I am thinking, at every given moment.  Ego or just plain loud, probably both.  I probably whined a little before, and squealed out that I was nervous quite a bit. But it wasn't until I was about 1/8 (yes, almost immediately) of the way up the pole that I started to panic.  Immediately I decided, "I made a mistake and I CAN'T do this."  And of course, I voiced the concern REALLY loudly.  Everyone there, told me "You are doing great!! Keep going!"

Now, this is where my codependency might have worked in my favor, or maybe theirs, I don't know.  I honestly didn't want to face them if I came down.  I decided that I needed to do it, for them. Maybe they would yell at me and call me a wimpy pair of balls?  Which, I am sure, is exactly what they would have done., they would have been polite. But I was sure they would have thought it. I didn't want to make that big of a scene, and then wimp out.

Anyway, after I got about 2/3 the way up, my fear was overtaken by my completely out-of-shape ass.  Lets not forget that I was at like 8000'-9000' elevation.  But even at sea level, that was some HARD SHIT to do.  So, my muscles were shaking from fear, lack of oxygen, and fricken exhaustion.  And to shake, on a pole, that high up, when you are TERRIFIED, is scary.  I can say that it was the most scared I have ever been in my life.  Not even kidding.  Hands down.  I'm talking birth, death of parent, etc.  I have never been so scared, and I am not being dramatic.  It sounds dumb, but I was terrified.

When I got to the platform where the woman was waiting for me to take off the belay line, and put on the zip-line, I couldn't lift my body up onto it.  And I couldn't breathe.  I honestly thought I was going to puke.  And I thought, how lovely that will look, with vomit dropping from fifty feet in the air.  The poor girl who was up there helping me. She was gently telling me what to do with my hands and I thought I was stuck.  Because there wasn't enough slack in the line for me to move.  She was sweetly talking to me and I looked that girl straight into the eye and screamed like a psycho, "YOU DON'T FUCKING UNDERSTAND!!"  I was not nice to her at all.  My head might have spun around a few times.  I am still thinking of sending a card.  I am sure she has moved on.

Well, after what seemed like an hour, I caught my breath a little.  I did NOT want to do the zip-line, and I did NOT want to climb down the pole, or use the belay to get down.  (Or however you say that climbing talk.  I am not interested in learning it.)  I decided that the zip-line was the fastest way.  I counted to three like twelve times, and just sorta scooted off the edge.  Apparently I got going really fast.  It was slightly fun, although I kept my eyes shut the whole time.    Mostly I was glad it was over.

I will NEVER do it again.  Bucket list...check!

I don't know what this has to do with codependency, other than I was worried what everyone would think, so I did something that was super hard.  I guess I faced a fear.  And proved to myself that the fear is legitimate.  Up high is fucking terrifying, yo!!


  1. Good for you for facing your fear! I love heights, and I actually worked at a summer camp where I operated a zip-line for little kids. For me, the height didn't bother me, but the knowledge that I was the one who was hooking the kids up and if they fell it'd be my fault was scary!

    I'm totally with you on the car thing, though. I HAVE to drive. Being a passenger freaks me out.

    1. I'm glad Bob hates to drive. I would hate it if he made me be the passenger.

      I could never help anyone up that high. I don't know how you did that! I bet it was fun. I would be crying the whole time.