Courage Is Going On The Biggest Wooden Rollercoaster in Texas
| Carys Benjamin
When I first heard Michelle Poler speak at a conference, I remember empathizing really strongly with her struggle against fear.
She talked about being scared of almost everything, and I realized that in a way, I am like that too! I started thinking of all the things that I don't do: jump off bridges into water, go on roller coasters, dye my hair, go whitewater rafting, the list goes on and on. These are all things that I watch my friends do. I cheer them on, telling them that they can do it, while meanwhile I stand on the sidelines paralyzed. My fear told me that I could never do it; that stuff just wasn't for me.
Near the end of her speech, she said
"You don't have to be fearless, you just have to be brave."
That statement rocked my world. I realized I am allowed to be afraid. I don't have to be ashamed to admit to my friends that I am afraid to get behind a speeding boat on a small piece of plastic and fabric and be pulled and thrown around in a deep basin of murky water.
I just have to be brave enough to say, "Tubing? That scares me to DEATH, but I'll give it a try," even if my voice shakes and my knees go weak.
I left the meeting feeling like a new, enlightened girl.
Just three days later, I was sitting safely in my comfort zone on the couch in our hotel, when everyone decided that we would go to Six Flags. I began to panic as I thought of the looming roller coasters, the fast drops, the sharp turns, and the peer pressure I would soon be facing. Reluctantly, I decided to go. We climbed in the Uber, and as everyone was talking excitedly, I was getting more and more nervous.
One of the kids in the car with me looked over at me and said, "C'mon Carys, don't you remember the speech? What's the BEST thing that can happen to you?" All of a sudden I remembered that it was okay for me to be afraid to go to the amusement park, but I had to at least try it.
As soon as we got into the park, everyone headed straight for "The Biggest Wooden Rollercoaster in Texas." I was terrified. We waited in line for over 30 minutes, and the closer we got to the entrance, the more anxious I was. I got in the little car immediately realized that there was no going back. I was shaking so bad, and was probably as white as a ghost.
The ride started out slow, chugging up to the first and biggest drop off. I was terrified. As we reached the peak, I shut my eyes and held my breath. The drop was nauseating. I was still terrified, and as we continued on the ride, I was overwhelmed by the fact that I could not control anything that was happening to me.
Soon enough, it was over, and I realized not only had I lived through it, I didn't throw up or do anything else too embarrassing. My hands were still shaking, and they shook on every roller coaster I went on that day, but I went on them. I wasn't fearless, but I was brave, and that was what mattered.