My first time zip lining felt like staring my biggest fear directly in the eyes, with its grip around my soul.
I had just gotten off the plane in Atlanta, Georgia in the month of June. I was really excited because Georgia is my favorite place to be since majority of my cousins live there. However my oldest cousin decided that it would be a great idea to put me back up in the air but this time in the trees. She paid for me to venture through this tree top obstacle courses and zip lining. I go there and see what looks like a “survival of the fittest”, nature obstacle course with people in harnesses and wobbly, wooden blocks hovering in between trees meant for people to climb from tree to tree. In addition to wooden steps, held together by rope, intended for people to cross over. This felt like the day I was meant to die because of my “slight” fear of heights. However, I do love challenges especially if it means getting the chance to face my fears. Now this fear of mine does not include fear of riding roller coasters because I love them, along with the view and the rush of excitement; I’m pretty much an adrenaline junkie. But this is only because I am strapped into a secure contraption; sort of like a car in my mind. As for a harness, the only thing keeping me up in the air is rope, so this is when my actual fear of falling comes into play.
The entire obstacle course resembled a forest scene from that “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” movie. As I’m getting set up with the harness, gloves and helmet, I’m praying in my head for protection because this really felt like a dream becoming a nightmare. But since I’m not a punk and I love thrilling adventures, I’m not backing down. I remember how my hands were shaking after taking the first step onto one of those wobbly wooden blocks, having to step one foot at a time as I tightly grip the ropes for dear life. The real fear didn’t come in until I actual reached a tree. The first one was probably 30 feet high and every time I completed an obstacle course I had to climb up the wooden blocks that were hammered into the tree trunk and zip line across to the next tree. The gliding from tree to tree was my favorite part, but definitely not the climbing. That is when my actual fear would kick in, because if I ever looked down, at the brown dirt covered in green leaves far beneath my feet, it would be curtains for me.
But it wasn’t over until I conquered the final obstacle. And this wasn’t just any obstacle that I have been receiving blisters for over the course of 2 hours. Compared to the previous obstacles this one was certainly not for children. What stood before me was a 70 foot tall tree that I was meant to climb and zip line down from the top and across an entire lake to the other side. The fear I felt cannot be described. I still can feel it accumulating in my abdomen and tightening my throat. It really felt like death before me. I was crying on the inside and on the outside as I took my first couple steps up and refused to look down. My hands were numb from gripping the wooden blocks so tight I couldn’t feel anything but the fear generating in my chest. The fear of falling took over my insides but I could not allow it to take over my mind, because I wouldn’t be able to move. I just had to keep climbing until I got to the top. My breathing became shortened and I had to pause a few steps from the top, convincing myself the pride I would feel after having accomplished this unfathomable task. The last step I took onto the wooden canopy summoned a shower of relief throughout my body.
And the view was spectacular.
I was immensely proud of myself while holding on for dear life. Still daring not to look down, I saw the pristine blue lake before me surrounded by a congregation of tall green trees, overseen by a clear blue sky with nothing but sun and a simple breeze to provide tranquility. But the journey was not over, I still had to zip line across the lake. As I prepared myself, I took a deep breath and took off. At first I closed my eyes in prayer, afraid the rope would snap and that I would drown. But halfway across the lake with the wind blowing profusely against my face and through my hair I courageously opened my eyes. It was an incredible feeling, seeing everything rush towards me like that and amassing this astounding view all at once.
The moment my feet touched the earth again, I knew there was nothing I couldn’t accomplish.