Thursday, August 18, 2011

Sea Dragon

I have been afraid of this ride as long as it's been in my awareness. I have been afraid of heights for as long as they have been in my awareness.

At my first country fair - I was maybe 8 - a friend convinced me to go on the ferris wheel. (I still hate ferris wheels.)

My parents had entrusted me to carry my tickets. Getting on the ferris wheel, I became very concerned that they might fall out of my back pocket. Thinking carefully about how to keep them safe, I carefully put them into my mouth. (It worked for Wilbur, didn't it?)

The ride slowly rose. The ride stopped as others got on and off. I became more and more nervous. The ride stopped at the top. It was horrible.

As we got off the ride, I might have kissed the ground if it wasn't truly a country fair. I retrieved my tickets ... now a soggy wad of paper.

Since then, I've made careful choices about rides (and what I put into my mouth). 

I'd like to let you know that basing choices on the fear and experiences  of an 8 year old are not always our best guides.

Today, I went on this ride. Not only was it not bad, it was kind of fun. I felt pleased to face a thirty year fear next to my 11yo (who might or might not have been laughing at me the whole time). I also felt a little sad that the fear has held me captive this long.

As far as breakthroughs go, this WAS just a carnival ride. The real breakthrough comes when today's experience becomes an icon for freedom and courage in other places.