Thursday, September 3, 2009

Emotional Rollercoaster

I am a pretty fearless person. I put my mind to something and I do it. I go into our poorly-lit garage to get things late at night, often when everyone is asleep. The closest ears are two stories up. No one could hear me scream.

During the day in the warm weather, we leave the garage doors open. We have a family of chipmunks that live in our stone wall right outside the garage. While I'm outside playing with the kids I see these some tiny, some not-so-tiny creatures run in and run out (oh, I'm talking about the chipmunks here, not my darling kids).

We've only had two chippies in 7 years make it all the way up into our house (and OUT again with the help of a coaxing but kind broom). If one gets trapped in there overnight, I don't fret too much. Also, some of these animals look better fed than my own family.

I just put my mind over matter and tell myself that I'm bigger than it is. If I hear something, save the shatter of a broken garage window, it's probably a chipmunk. Knowing me, I'd let it free too even though there are woods just a few feet away that are home to coyotes, foxes, etc. that could do much worse damage to me if they wanted to. On second thought, I'd better protect the little guy from predators.

I also used to walk home alone really late at night when I lived in the city. Looking back on this, it was a stupid thing to do, but I survived. Again, mind over matter "walking home, walking home, almost there...."

But....rollercoasters? Yikes! I have always had a fear of walking across long bridges (the taller the more scarier they are for me....and when there's water underneath....that's when I'm terrified). Somehow, falling 50 feet and hitting the grass would be better than hitting the water? I don't think so.... I just don't like being on them, especially in the middle. I'm OK driving over them, less OK when I'm stuck in traffic on one, but still fine.

I want to teach my kids not to live by their fear and also prove to myself how silly these fears are. So every summer, I try a rollercoaster with my kids. Lilly in particular is a daredevil and wants to ride the biggest, highest and fastest coasters. Thankfully, her dad is somewhat of a coaster enthusiast, well, he's not afraid anyway.

I went on a a tamer one to "warm up" and to show my only daughter how strong women (including her mother) could be. I screamed the whole time! She was humorously embarrassed and made me swear never to scream on a ride with her again. I couldn't promise that!

So, I've been thinking about it. I can breathe myself through the height and the horrible racket of the "click-click-click" of the cars going up the hill to meet the impending doom of going down the hill. I can ALMOST enjoy that part. It's different from the middle of a bridge because it's on the ground.

Then, aaaaaagghhhhhh comes the first drop where you feel like you're doing a nosedive straight into the hard earth at a steeper-than-90-degree angle...if you can get any steeper....but it sure FEELS like you can...and ARE!

Can you imagine how scared I'd be if the coaster went over water? This is the thrill of weightlessness that coaster-lovers live for, apparently.

I'm OK with the speed and the unpredictability of the rest of the coaster. After all, I'd rather NOT see what's coming, thank you!

So, is it true that if you go on them over and over again that you lose your fear of them? I'll have to get back to you on that next summer after I once again stand in those long lines with a pit in my stomach as I get closer to our turn and try it again. Seems as if I'm OK with coasters except for the weightlessness part. Maybe I should become an astronaut first? Maybe I should just tell my kids, "Sorry, Mommy's human and Mommy is afraid?" Nah.....

What are YOU afraid of?


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