Chasing Heights and Facing Fears
“Believe in yourself, take on your challenges, dig deep within yourself to conquer fears. Never let anyone bring you down. You got to keep going.” ~ Chantal Sutherland
I had a friend visit me a couple weeks ago, and of course living in the city we had to do some of the touristy things. Alas some of those touristy things involve heights.
Now I am not a dare devil by any means. Adrenaline junkies can keep their coasters and sky diving and everything else. I am not even a fan of the Roar-o-Saurus at Storyland. (which is a kid ride FYI) I have to say I do tend to blame my siblings on this one.
When I was a kid, they use to stick me on top of the refrigerator when my parents left them in charge to watch me. (Some baby sitters they were) I would sit there like a petrified statue, afraid to move for fear I would fall. I never did, but it has stayed with me into adulthood. Thanks a lot guys. I never even told our parents. I guess that is the thanks I get.
As a hiker, it is both exhilarating and nail biting to be so high up, especially with the wind whipping my hair and clothes. Things like scrambling and literally walking along the edge of a mountain where footing is everything and the drop offs would make me meet my maker early cause heart palpitations. I do it. And I always feel bad ass afterwards. But in the moment..Bear Grylls I do NOT feel like.
It doesn’t just extend to scaling mountains. Rickety bridges. Going a top the Empire State Building. Even the Virginia Dare Memorial Bridge in North Carolina causes me to anxiety. NOOO thank you.
Of course some of the main tourist attractions in New York entail sky scraping heights.
This past spring was the first time I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. That first time, was freezing with winds whipping and I was wishing for an oh shit handle and praying to every god that ever existed.
I made it.
I then attempted it again a couple months later. It was a little better, though the hundreds of people on the bridge did nothing for my disposition. I admit I had images of it collapsing from all the weight.
Word to the wise, when you have a fear, it is better if you aren’t a creative person. The mind makes it ten times worse.
I first went visited the Empire State Building four years ago, and let me tell I was way to sober! (I had had a drink prior, but it had worn off unfortunately) I was absolutely scared shitless as we took the elevator. Every expletive was running through my head and my two friends while sweet, were also trying not to laugh at me being a total hypochondriac. While the views were incredible up top, it was virtigo inducing gazing out at everything.
The second time was a little bit better when I got to the top. I could appreciate the views a little bit more once I breathed. But I will never be a fan of that elevator. Ever! Again it goes back to my creative mind and the fact I read way to much Nancy Drew as a child. She always got stuck in elevators. Always!
With my friend in town I was a glutton for punishment and we did BOTH.
After my “last” meal at Maison Kayser we proceeded to walk across the bridge. It was actually quite enjoyable. Part of it could be there was very little wind and they had also finished construction on part of the main walk way making it much bigger then it had been before. There also weren’t a crazy amount of people so I could strut my stuff and channel my inner Beyoncé.
Apparently third time really is a charm because aside from the elevator which lets face it who enjoys traveling a hundred floors in a minute? I was also fine. It was more crowded then usual at night. But the usual dizzy inspiring views left me in awe with none of the fear. And once again I was struck by how amazing New York really is.
Fear is a very tricky little emotion. It can be just as great a motivator as it is deterrent. Each time you face your fears, it gets better. The breathing slows down sooner, your heart isn’t racing as much and you have done something that you have worked hard to over come.
I don’t know that I will ever love or even like heights, but I will not stop it from letting me enjoy some spectacular views and with it experiencing life.
How do you feel about heights?