Conquering Fear

Oh, hello there, gentle viewers!

What a lovely spring day it is today! The birds are chirping, the kitten is mewing, and the puppy is “roo-roo-rooing.” I also just got the first real night of sleep I’ve had in the past oh, five days or so. All in all, it’s shaping up to be a beautiful day.

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about fear. For the last couple weeks, I was stalling when it came to finishing my WIP — the third novel of my trilogy. I’d gotten a couple form rejections from agents in regards to the first novel, and I was starting to sense that said first novel wasn’t quite where it needed to be. Thanks to the lovely Julie Kenner, I am now armed with some professional advice and some rather sage opinions for reworking the first few chapters of my book (you know, the ones agents see).

I also got to do something I’d been wanting to do for a while: get outside and have an adventure. Last month, within 24 hours of each other, I found an ad in a magazine about this place and my husband found a Living Social deal involving it. It’s a ropes course through a company called Go Ape, and they just opened a new location about fifteen minutes from where we live. We pounced on the Living Social deal, and on Sunday we took off for the treetops.

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this, but I’m rather afraid of heights.

So why, you ask, would I want to go ziplining?

I love adventures. I want to experience a lot of them. Some of them include things that scare me. If I ever want to go to the Amazon or experience tropical regions (or Australia, for that matter), I’ll have to work on my arachnophobia. So what better thing for me to attempt but to conquer my fear of heights?

The first rope ladder set my heart pounding as I climbed up it. I was securely fastened to the rope by my harness in three places, but that didn’t seem to matter to my adrenal glands. When I got to the top I looked down (I know, I know), and I took a couple deep breaths. The first crossing was about 20 feet off the ground over a wire the size of my ring finger. I managed it, and I started feeling pretty elated. The first couple ziplines I just stepped off and let myself drop.

The first moment of real, paralyzing terror I felt was during an obstacle of swinging platforms. Picture five or so wooden swings suspended 30 feet off the ground and having to step from one swinging object to the next. I think the word is yikes.

Using a bit of insight from our Living Social guide, I tried to keep my center of gravity low and keep a lunge position across the platforms. They moved a lot, and I had to move slowly, holding onto the ropes that they dangled from. I made it without falling in my first big moment of the day.

Oddly, this grin happened right before attempting the most terrifying obstacle I faced. I didn't think it was so scary until I stepped on it and it moved. A lot. See Spouse in the background!

After that, it started to get more fun. I managed to land the next zipline ending without careening onto my arse. And as we neared the end, the obstacles got harder, and my concentration got more focused. I have three things I am enormously proud of — things I never thought I would try, let alone do.

1. I jumped (not fell) off the platform of the last Tarzan swing. There was a significant drop before the harness caught me, but instead of gritting my teeth and edging over the side, I actually jumped into thin air. Maybe I’ll be able to skydive someday after all.

2. I had a rather graceful ending to the final zipline. I have a video to prove it if I can get it up and running.

3. I made it across thirteen squares 40 feet off the ground without holding onto my pulley for balance. These things were set up and secured to wires like an odd rope bridge. There was a gap of about a foot and a half between them. I made it across without using my hands to hold myself up — and they wobbled.

I left Go Ape feeling like I could conquer anything — if someone who is afraid of heights and feels a little faint at the thought of being up a tree that tall can cross a wobbly string of platforms with no hands and no harness tension, anything can happen.

With that feeling in mind, it’s time for me to put aside book three and my April 15th deadline and start another revision on book one.

Wish me monsters.


About Emmie Mears

Saving the world from brooding, one self-actualized vampire at a time.

Posted on March 27, 2012, in life intervention, primeval, urban fantasy, writing process and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Yay, congrats on facing & conquering your fear! I’ve always wanted to zipline down a mountain (another of my Bucket List items). Loved the whole post, the pic, and all the great links! It looks like you had a blast. Wishing you mega-monsters in your revision!

  2. You know, I’ve always wanted to do that. I think I’ll have to give it a go. Congrats on finishing Book 3! And as Elaine said above, may mega-monsters infest your home.

  3. Damn, that looks like scary fun, the kind you have as a kid. Good for you!!!

  4. I’m also afraid of heights and did ziplining on vacation in Mexico last fall.. on my birthday. I didn’t realize how high the zip lines were. But it felt good to do something brave, plus I knew it was (relatively) safe for tourists (ok quite safe but still scary). Way to go.

  5. Great job!! I’ve seen those places advertised and want to try one. I think I’ll look them up again…

  6. Good for you!!! Maybe when I come visit you can coerce me to do it! (hahahahaha: John laughing)!

  7. Awesome. Sounds like a great way to face your fear and have some fun at the same time 🙂

  8. As fellow bearer of the heights fear, I applaud you, Em. I’ve always prodded that little devil on my shoulder with the joy of roller coasters and have never been adverse to a good rock climb (mountains–why Colorado is teh win), but I have to say, there are limits to my courage. Building your way to skydiving perhaps one day? Admirable, I must say, but not something I’d ever do. I pretty much draw the line at bungie jumping. I’ll fight my fears, but I like to have a touch of control in hand as I set out to do it.

    Or at least, the illusion of control, I suppose.

    But seriously–ziplining, looks like fun! Glad you pushed yourself, and enjoyed the experience Emmie.

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