I have a near paralyzing fear of heights. When I get above 15 feet, I can’t function. I start to shake and have a hard time breathing.

I’m a mess.

Sadly, this limitation of mine has shaped much of my life. I don’t ski. I won’t ride Ferris wheels. I never go to the edge of a building or mountain and admire the view.

Until last weekend.  Last weekend I literally took a leap.

Essentially, I took a ride on a giant trapeze and jumped off of a  50 foot platform… ON. PURPOSE.

Who does that?!

I DO, in fact.

Let me give you a little back story – I went with some friends to a lovely multi-family picnic/event at Bar T in Urbana, Maryland. (The place is nothing short of incredible, by the way.) Having never been to Bar-T, I had no expectations but was informed prior to the event that the kids and I would be able to ride the “giant swing” and enjoy the “zip line.”

Okayyyyy…..

Turns out the swing is really nothing short of a GIANT TRAPEZE and to even get close to the zip line  you need to navigate a Tomb Raider style ropes and bridge course in full safety harness.

This girl had reservations about the adventure the minute she spied the required head gear.

I fully intended on backing out of the afternoon “fun” in favor of video taping others’ experiences. And I ALMOST got away with it until my friend Sharon literally ordered me  to knock it off and “put on your big girl panties, cupcake.”

Oh yes.

She called me cupcake and insulted my panties. (As only a true friend would.)

At that point there was little choice but to throw caution to the wind and let myself be hauled up (and up and up and up) the outdoor trapeze… and then flung down the mountain.

OMG.

I rode on a trapeze.

Are you reading this?! I RODE ON A TRAPEZE!

And of course (because danger is my new middle name) I decided right then and there that I was tired of letting this irrational fear of heights rule my life and therefore was going to CONQUER THE 700 FOOT LONG ZIP LINE AS WELL.

Let me just pause here and point out that to even get to the zip line, one has to climb across suspended bridges and  tight rope-esque  lines (a la Indiana Jones) to reach the platform housing the beginning of the zip line. At that point one is then required to place their body on a small structure (resembling a step) where they are then expected to casually hurl themselves off of it and “enjoy the ride.”

Yeah. I did that too. I still can’t believe it.

I squelched the inner panic. I faced those fears.

I had a ball.

And it has changed my life.

Because, I am no longer afraid.

Oh I have some reservations, sure. But nowhere near the level I had before. I think it is because I was deliberate about it. I acknowledged the fear. I analyzed the situation. I took the risk.

I survived. (That helps.)

It is a lot like other areas of our lives. Prior to experiencing something, we believe the worst. We are frightened. We don’t know what to expect. We are worried we might fail, be laughed at, etc. (Or die.)

But we make it through. Stronger. Wiser. More confident.

Fearless.

Has this post inspired you to do something you’ve previously been afraid of? (No, I’m not talking about launching yourself off of a platform like I did.) Is there something you’ve been dreading that you might want to reconsider?

Top image blue layer courtesy of D Sharon Pruitt.