I have been recovering from pneumonia, and have missed quite a few days of the writing challenge. I tuned in today to be asked the question, what are you scared of? I was asked to address one of my worst fears. I don’t have a terror of dying, nor of public speaking. Snakes and spiders don’t scare me. Its heights. That is my Everest. I don’t have the gossamer wings I’ve always craved. I don’t even have invisible wings. In preschool, a group of children dared me to swing upside down (on my coaxing), from the monkey bars with no hands. This occurred back in the good old days of metal cubes soldered together over a pad of cement. None of that springy material as ground-cover. Sure enough, I soared head-first to the cement, and went splat. Concussion and a nose ripped open, requiring stitches. I decided heights weren’t for me.
I had nightmares for ten years about being thrown off a balcony… Then it happened. Even as I was in the experience of being set down on a ledge, I couldn’t quite believe it. It was an out-of-body experience. My nightmare was a reality. When I fell, time and space seemed to disappear and it took forever to hit the ground. I knew it was going to hurt and may well be fatal. Was the nightmare a precursor to this fated event? It seemed too coincidental. It was cruel to be spirited out of the world-siphoned away from your body- by an act that happened to be your worst fear. I survived, and of course, my fear of heights grew. Twice I have fallen and twice have been broken by the experience.
My fear was so great that I couldn’t venture past ground level at the Queen Victoria Building, nor of most places. Anywhere that had an open centre and a railing or balcony, well, I couldn’t do it. I am markedly better now. It has taken a long time. There are some places and experiences I will never allow myself to encounter, and I don’t need to. I have nothing to prove. Walking up a staircase after having been jostled up one, going up an escalator, and walking anywhere near a balcony is triumph enough. I am a nervous flyer. My child squeezes my hand, and bless her, talks me through it. Its the take-off and landing which scares me. When we ascend and are in the clouds, I relax. There is nothing to fear up here. I am embraced by clouds, and can relax, the fine opaque film reassuring me. I am above it all now. Concerns, terrors and nightmares.
I have a daughter who adores climbing. I watch her at gymnastics, climbing up the rope, all the way to the ceiling. I attended a playgroup party at a softplay centre when she was three. I heard a little voice call out “look at me!” I looked up to see my child waving. She had crawled through three levels, found a gaping hole in the mesh, and had pulled herself through it. She was now standing on top, with nothing around her. “Stay still! Mummy is coming!” I called, in my best sing-song voice. My heart thudded as I made my way through the hellish levels of toddler fun. She thought it was hilarious, and I needed a stiff drink. Somehow we survived the experience. Its amazing what you can do when adrenaline kicks in. I have gotten used to seeing her climb at every opportunity. I may not have wings, but will do everything in my power to ensure whatever I have ever been through holds no tool that could clip hers.