Monday, August 19, 2013


Like many people it seems, I'm going through a rough patch. Nothing horrible or monumental, just a time when the negative voices in my head are so much louder than all the positive in the world, and I'll tell you those damn negative voices are hard to silence- stubborn and persistent little buggers!

To fight the negative buggers, I have been working hard to do positive things myself, not rely on the outside positive, so the voices in my head start to become more positive. I mentioned earlier that 2013 has turned into an epic year for me, and I want to keep that going in a positive manner. 

A few years ago, a friend suggested I watch Sex and the City. I had never seen it when it ran originally, so that winter I used it as my dreadmill running show. I liked it alright, but frankly didn't quite get all the hype. However one episode has stuck with me since I saw it.. The Catch. It was after watching that episode that I bought Michelle Branch's Breathe single. I can't really tell you much more about that episode other than the song, that Carrie goes to trapeze school and her ending quote has always struck me.

When you're young, your whole life is about the pursuit of fun. Then, you grow up and learn to be cautious. You could break a bone or a heart. You look before you leap and sometimes you don't leap at all because there's not always someone there to catch you. And in life, there's no safety net. When did it stop being fun and start being scary?- Carrie Bradshaw

At some point in the last couple of months I heard someone else mention trapeze, and it got me thinking, trapeze would be amazing to try, terrifying but amazing. I have a fear of heights, probably more correctly, I have a fear of falling. When I climbed Mount Washington a few years ago, I was terrified of falling, which I did. On my face. The bruise was amazing. The van ride down from the top was in fact the greatest and most welcomed car ride of my life.

I did some research and found a trapeze school about 2 hours away and knowing that stepping off that platform would be terrifying for me, I asked this guy to go with me (by the way he's the foot, not the hammer or the fish)

I've written about him before.. he'll hate that I'm bringing it up again. Here's the thing with him, I'm pretty sure we've been around a few times together, we have this connection, we just sort of fit. He is one of a handful of people that I can sit in silence and be comfortable. He is, geographically the closest of those people. I knew that the car ride down would be pretty quite, my mo is to go inside myself when I am nervous or anxious, and I knew that he would be encouraging while we were there. Of course he would make fun of me on the way home, after he congratulated me, but it would be in good fun.

But the timing didn't work out, and he couldn't go, well he could go, but he couldn't go this weekend, and it became almost irrationally important to me that I go NOW and do this. In the end, that really was probably the best, if only in that it forced me to look fear in the face by myself and do it, just step off that platform.

There it is. That's what I saw when I got there. My feet were a little sweaty. 

I was quiet and pensive during the ground school, and really the shaky nerves did not kick in until I climbed the stairs to the top. What you don't see in any of the pictures, is that you have your 10 toes over the edge, your left hand on a metal vertical bar attached to the platform, your right on the trapeze bar, and a human holding your belt. Another human is on the ground holding your safety ropes. My first jump, I am guessing it took me 5 minutes for each step, feet over the edge, 1 hand on the bar, and then to take that 2nd hand and put it on the bar, because at that point you are hanging over the the edge of the platform, held only by the human behind you. But what I realized during those 5 minutes, was not once did I think, turn, walk away. I just kept telling myself you can do this you can do this. And I did.

I love this next picture, look at the instructor behind me, see how happy she is that I was less scared the 2nd time? And each time it got progressively better.

And here is one of the things I realized, you see below the instructors switched, and now this guy is the human holding me. I was way less scared. Not because he was male, but because he was bigger, he could certainly hold my weight. It was at that moment that realized, even though I see that new number on the scale, I still see myself 88 lbs heavier, and it isn't a fear of falling, it is a fear of my big body, of what it can't do, that people can't hold me. For safety reasons the school has a weight limit, and I am well below that weight limit, on the scale, but not in my mind.

 Here you can see how you are leaning over the platform held simply by the strength of 1 human.

This is one of my last flights, I did 7 or 8, I lost count. I could have done more. Each one get mentally easier, my muscles were sore, but I am used to that, what completely surprised me was how raw my hands got- I hadn't considered that, and it became really painful to hold the bar because of the blisters that were forming- well earned rewards for my hard work.

I learned a lot about myself today. I can look fear in the face and say I just don't care.  (thank you P!nk). I learned that I need to become more aware of my new body, of how completely powerful and strong it is, and that I can do pretty much anything with it. I need to trust myself more, to realize what I am capable of and make sure my heart and head both know that.

This quote actually hung at the top of the platform before you jumped off:

We gain strength, and courage, and confidence by each experience in which we really stop to look fear in the face... we must do that which we think we cannot.- Eleanor Roosevelt

The negative voices have quieted. My soul is full. My muscles ache from a day of hard work. It was an epic day.


d said...

Congrats! That looks like a blast.

Kari Mcelroy said...

that is so awesome! thank you for sharing!