Tuesday, 18 June 2013

On Jumping

I do not like ledges. But somehow - even knowing this - last weekend I let myself be talked into sitting on one, strapped into a rented harness, getting ready to jump off of it.

Logically, I knew I was as safe as possible. Sure, I was at the top of a semi-unsteady platform that was currently swaying in the wind, but I was strapped in and had just seen two guys who weight significantly more than I did jump off. The cables were safe, I trusted the harness, I trusted the carabiners.

I couldn't make myself jump.

I stayed up there, hugging a pole, watching child after child get strapped in and jump, and I stood there completely unable to move. A small crowd gathered at the foot of the platform waiting to see what would happen. Would I jump? How long would it take?

My best friend Mindy was in the crowd, encouraging me.

"Dude, it's fine! You feel so much better when you sit down, and it feels even safer once you jump! Not joking, it feels so much more secure!"

I believed her completely. I still couldn't jump. Despite the fact that I knew the risks before climbing to the platform, and the fact that I knew it would be fun and I'd decided to go for it, there was a voice in my head that said, "This is a terrible idea. It could probably kill you. Actually, I don't know that you're high enough to die, you'd probably just break your legs and maybe your back and you couldn't even be mad because you did this to yourself."

I stood arguing with myself, the crowd at my feet, when Mindy called up to me again.

"Do you want me to come up there with you and do it again?"

"Yes. Please!"

She climbed up and got strapped in next to me and talked me through it. I sat down, I dangled my legs, and she was there. I got the safety talk I'd heard several times before, and the guide counted down.


I scooted to the edge and hopped off. As expected, the harness and cables caught me, and I slid down the zipline and got down to the ground safely.

I did a lot of other zip lines that day, and a few high ropes courses, but that was the only one that scared me. That instant of free falling without feeling the tension in the wires or being able to control the movement was terrible and I will freely admit that had Mindy not been there, I probably would have been on top of that platform for hours. I can't make myself jump. Without talking it through, processing it, and feeling like my friends are there for me through the absolute worst, I'm not getting off the platform. I wouldn't have even climbed up there in the first place if she hadn't been with me.

I'm on a different ledge now, and it's equally terrifying. It involves a lot of things that I'm good at, that I've done before and will do again. It involved huge amounts of work and preparation, and included me breaking down in tears more than once from the stress and fear. And I have been leaning hard on some amazing people, trusting that if they have my back, it will be okay.

But the countdown is on. I'll let you know when I jump.

1 comment:

  1. I should point out that you were the one who chose to do that jump first :) - M


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