Monday, June 19, 2006

Deep Breaths

I use to have an extreme fear of heights. Wait, who am I kidding, heights still make me a bit uneasy. My palms get sweaty and I start to shake a bit, in fact I often get a bit dizzy when I am standing on some sort of precipice. Growing up this fear kept me from doing things that I would have otherwise jumped at. Roller coasters were a no-go, the sight of a ropes course or climbing wall made me sick to my stomach. Oh I found ways around facing the fear. Official bag holder while at an amusement park, group cheerleader at a youth retreat when everyone strapped in for the ropes course, picture taker at the climbing wall or cliff face. I was content to stand on the sidelines and let all the other crazies cheat death. Me, my feat were fully planted on the ground and I had reasoned my way into thinking that was the way I liked it.

That worked well for me until two opposing forces met head on. Oh both of these heavy weight champions were primed for a fight. In one corner was my hard-headedness that bloomed in full force as soon as I could walk and talk and never stopped developing. In the other corner sat my fear, deep seeded, dark, and fed lots of protein over the years it had grown strong and solid, a force to be reckoned with. When these two met in a battle it was a sight to see.

I think my fear got a healthy whoopin by my hardheadedness in the ropes course incident. See I was FAMOUS for being a wimp when it came to these. I had ducked and swerved so many times from being strapped into that whole diaper-harness-carbineer contraption that it was an art form. That all came to a head one summer in high school while at camp. I wanted to appear brave, well actually I just didn’t want to be the only girl in my teepee not doing the ropes course (again peer pressure can do so much) that I sucked it up and suited up ready to attack the course like a crying baby. I’m sure I shook the entire way. That is until a funny thing happened.

See my partner had neglected to tell me she was a freaked out as I was. So we got to this one part of the course where pipes veered away from and then back toward each other and all we had to hold on to were each other. I will admit I was scared to death, about to puke and die all at the same time. And then she just sat down on the platform and refused to go further. I almost started laughing. I was the one who was supposed to freak out, I was the one who was supposed to cry and stop and refuse to go any further. So there I was with my own fears ready to overwhlem me, my partner refusing to go forward, and here comes ol hardheadedness rearing to go.

I took a deep breath, looked at her in the eyes and from somewhere came “spider woman ropes course extraordinaire”. I pulled her to her feet and practically dragged her through the rest of the course. The best part was when our youth pastor/camp director came by after hearing about some girls getting stuck on the course (it happened more often than not). He actually laughed and told me that he thought it had to be me freaking out up there and not my partner.

The best part of this story is that the next summer there I was in the same predicament scared out of my self and going up again with a partner who seemed so confident on the ground and LOST IT up in the trees. I was back in the same position, pushing my fears aside and taking the lead.

That absolute fear of heights was soon conquered, oh I still get the stomach rumbling and sweaty palms on the first look down from a perch up high, but the jitters make it all the more fun.

Why am I taking you down this trip of memory lane?

I feel like I’m back in that same place once again, sweaty palms, nervous butterflies in my stomach, looking at this new and exciting thing that scares me half to death.

Am I willing to take a risk and step out into something new?

Am I ready to leave the comfort of the firm ground and start walking in the treetops?

Sometimes the only way to see the path ahead of us, is to leave the ground and head for the treetops where we get a better view.

Deep breaths.

13 Comments:

Blogger Amstaff Mom said...

Ha! I just typed "deep breaths" on your previous post and then realized that was the title of this one. Maybe I'm clairvoyant?

I would have loved for you to have gone on the ropes course we did in Belize. We got to completely let go and fly down the zipline upside down, no hands. It was AMAZING. But maybe you wouldn't have enjoyed it like I did. Maybe.

He was with Peter when he took a leap of faith onto the water. He's with you too, K-T.

6/19/2006 2:43 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

YES! You ARE! And when you come to Minnesota... we can go to Valley Fair and ride the "Wild Thing and the Power Tower." And we will kick your fear of hights into full gear. I can't believe you wuss out on Roller Coasters. You MUST conquer this fear.

6/19/2006 2:55 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

OH Ben, let me ammend my post.

I NO LONGER FEAR ROLLER COASTERS.

In fact, I am a junkie. Nothing is too high, too tall, too fast, too loop-d-loop for me. Bring it on is what I say in the face of a roller coaster.

6/19/2006 3:00 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

How about the Power Tower?? (Tower of Terror)

6/19/2006 3:02 PM  
Blogger Katie said...

Two words:


BRING


IT


Now why can't I have this type of attitude with different things in life? Oh wait, because I've lived through the roller coaster, I know what is on the other side. Future questions and oppotunities are still BIG QUESTION MARKS. I'm such a wuss.

Deep breaths. Deep breaths.

6/19/2006 3:03 PM  
Blogger Priscilla said...

I am very similar to you. What got me over the ropes course was becoming a Young Life leader. At camp I had to take my group of kids to the ropes course for their turn. Everyone had to do it. Even me. I wanted to save face in front of the kids...so I made myself do it.

I found it wasn't half bad!

6/19/2006 3:32 PM  
Blogger Deals On Wheels said...

Mmmmm...I love me some roller coasters (not to mention ropes courses!!). I have a tendency to ride them until I feel sick. I'm sure it's because I've given myself a concussion-by-coaster or something.

I've found, in my own experience, that I generally know what I want to do. I just question it because: I'm worried what others will think, I'm scared that I'll fail, I worry that I'll get hurt/hurt others by doing it, etc. Most of the time, I go for it, though, because I've also discovered that – if I really believe in doing whatever it is: people will understand why I’m doing it (or, at least, the people that really count), failing is okay (it gives you experience and good stories to tell), hurting sucks, but it's part of living (and makes you wise). Plus, I know that I'd never intentionally set out to hurt anyone (however, I’ve also learned that I cannot be responsible nor please/make everyone happy all of the time). Change can suck. It can be a scary thing. But it can also be a wonderful and exciting. Also, sometimes making the decision to do (or not to do) something is the hardest part of the process.

Nowadays, when I’m trying to make one of those BIG decisions, I ask myself how I think I will feel if I let an opportunity pass me by. If I think I will look back on my life and regret it, then I’ll go for it (no regrets, right?!). If I think that it’s a great opportunity, but not for me – then I’ll let it pass. I used to do a whole host of things that I thought others either A) wanted me to do, or B) expected me to do. This got me nowhere, because they were hardly ever the things that I wanted to do. I know that sounds selfish, but sometimes when it comes to the BIG stuff I think its okay.

In other words, if you think you’ll regret seeing the view of the treetops, go for it (I think you will be glad you did). Hanging out at the bottom – watching everyone else climb higher and higher – is safe but who knows how much you will be missing? After all, would you have ever discovered the wonderful thrill of riding a rollercoaster if you never put down everyone’s bag, took a chance and hopped on?

Just my thoughts. I have your (internet) back, either way! :)

6/19/2006 4:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

YOU HAD BETTER LIKE ROLLER COASTERS NOW!!!!

6/19/2006 7:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just jump already Katie!! I want to see what happens next too ~C

6/19/2006 7:14 PM  
Blogger Bobby said...

Yeah, jump, I say. And write about it.

I used to be fearless when it came to heights. Then when I was 15 I fell 60 feet off a cliff. Now I have a healthy respect for heights. 8-)

But I still love roller coasters.

6/20/2006 7:48 AM  
Anonymous Jayleigh said...

Katie I am so excited for you, whatever has you freaked out and jittery and excited!!!!

My big fear is that I really don't want to be in front of a group of people talking or singing. When I am nervous beforehand, I know I can get through NO PROBLEMO. But when I am confident on the ground, I often lose it in the trees.

So I welcome the feeling I get in the pit of my gut, because I know then I can make it through.

**hugs**

6/20/2006 8:20 AM  
Blogger Sydney said...

Kate... I think you are incredibly brave..... Heights have never been a problem for me mine has always been being left alone in the woods. not being able to find my way back or animals....So capture the flag was a scarry thing for me... but same thing.. the more I did it the better it got! I cant wait to see you jump!

6/20/2006 8:50 AM  
Blogger Ray & Becki said...

Where in Belize is the ropes course? I just came back from there and will be going again so I'd love to know.

Thanks
Ray

12/15/2007 9:07 PM  

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