I am not a rollercoaster girl. In high school, I dreaded the summertime visit to Six Flags, the local amusement park that housed these gargantuan structures with its rolling cars, wooden frames, and unpredictable creaks. I played my fear cool as my friends and I walked the stairs to the latest gravity defying, nausea inducing ride. Others looked forward to the wind blowing through their hair while they extended their hands to the sky, reaching for that invisible something that I never understood. Through the hour long line, sweat beads gathered in-between my fingers, my pulse tried to chase my breath, amd my mind entertained all of the worst case scenarios that might happen 305 feet in the sky.
What if the ride malfunctions? What if I get stuck in the sky for hours? What if one of the car shifts off the track? What if . . .?
As the end of the line neared, the pit in my stomach grew outside of my body. When it came time to step into the car, I feigned some excuse and crossed over to safety, waving goodbye to my friends with a relieved smile on my face. In my youth I established I prefer staying close to the ground.
A recent conversation with my daughter prompted reflecting on this particular rollercoaster memory. We watched a woman sky dive on television and with no hesitation, my daughter stated , “I am going to sky dive when I am older. It looks like so much fun.”
“Really? That seems so scary.” With those words, my mommy hat slipped off as I offered my honest opinion on this endeavor.
“I am still going to try it. It looks sooo much fun.” Her exuberance glittered.
My words did not inhibit her desire to pursue this endeavor. Part of her eagerness to skydive stems from her youth, but it is also her adventurous spirit. She is not afraid of heights, rollercoasters, or jumping high on the trampoline.
My daughter’s desire to try these activities magnifies my own insecurities. I realize that it is more than rollercoasters for me. What paralyzed me in my youth still haunts me today.
Craving certainty is my mantra. Anything that falls out of that spectrum leads to anxiety, worry, and the barrage of what if’s. I cling to routine, habit, and predictability. Boring, but safe for me.
Twenty five years later, the rollercoaster factor will never be a part of my makeup. And I need to learn to accept this.
Image by Jo Jakeman via Flickr Creative Commons
It’s fascinating to see how different our children can be from us, not to mention, how we may conquer some fears as the years go on, while others remain stubbornly present, or even magnify.
Don’t care much for roller coasters either, though in other ways, I’m very much for coloring outside the box, and the realm of uncertainties.
I spent most of the summer of 1994 praying my friends would not want to go to Cedar Point. I think we went 10 times. I think I almost died of being scared 100 times. I feel your pain. I try to just let go and be more adventurous. I try.
As a child, teenager, and young adult, I LOVED roller coasters. Then I had kids and the fear factor, the need for safety and security set in…I no longer do roller coasters. However, to appease my hubby about five years ago I rode several at an amusement park and I can tell you it was not the same kind of “thrill” for me as it was for him!
I love your daughter’s adventurous spirit. And yes we have to accept ourselves as we are..it may not be in your make up but that’s okay! xo
I could’ve written this myself. Word for word. I’m just glad that my daughters both seem to have my partner’s daredevil spirit in them. Roller coasters may not be for me, but I’m thrilled that it will be in their future. Well, thrilled and afraid for them. Naturally 🙂
We are so much alike! I never, ever liked heights, never liked any kind of physical risk. But I know I can’t pass this on (it’s been a real handicap going through life being afraid of getting hurt physically). So when my son decides to climb up this tree that seems to go into the clouds, I just walk away. I can’t watch because if I do, I will insist that he get down. He is doing martial arts now and my husband is very intent on enrolling him in gymnastics this summer for cross-training. He wants my son to learn to do back flips. All I keep worrying about is him breaking his neck. But I try to keep this to myself, and then banish the image and fear. It’s not easy…
I always want to ride a roller coaster, it looks fun but I’m too scared to go on it because I’m scared of heights. I like to be in control and it’s hard for me to realize that I am not in control.
Stopping by from SITS. Happy Sharefest,