I am the biggest wimp on the planet. The list of things that frighten me is embarrassingly long:
Heights…the ocean (and every single thing in it)…outer space…spiders…snakes…people…crowds…even numbers (except two because it’s prime)…traveling…
There are more, but for the sake of my dignity, I’ll keep the list at an even nine.
Heights is probably my greatest fear; the one I have to deal with most often and which gives me visceral physiological responses. I’m glad I am only 5’4”, if I was much taller I would likely live in a constant state of high anxiety—oh wait, I already do because of, you know, people.
At the local mall, I cannot stand within several feet of the glass barriers that gird the second floor balconies. If I am within a few feet, I feel lightheaded and weak in the knees. The effect is coming over me a little now as I write about it.
When I was thirteen or fourteen, our church had a fall carnival one day after service. There was a rock climb, which was thirty feet high, at most. I wanted to give it a try. I was petite but strong, and I figured I could easily scale the easy-looking rock climb.
I got maybe fifteen feet up and completely froze. I couldn’t go up or down. My body wasn’t listening to what I was telling it to do. My head was empty except for abject fear. I wanted desperately to let go, and I practically screamed at my body to do something. I remember vividly being stuck, yet I have no recollection at all of how I got down. But I vowed never to do rock climbing again. And I haven’t.
However, I have been in a couple situations where the safety of a harness and ropes would have been welcome.
During a summer internship when I was in college, the interns visited the AT&T Stadium in Dallas. We toured the entire stadium, which meant we got to see one of the box suites. We were instructed to go in and sit down.
Somehow I ended up in the front of the line, meaning I had to go down to the seats closest to the hang off. Yeeeah….I turned my happy butt around and perched myself as far away from the ledge as possible. Our tour guide, meanwhile, sat on the freaking ledge and I about had a panic attack just looking at him. I do not remember a word that idiot said.
A few years later, I took an art appreciation course over the summer, and one day we visited the opera house in downtown Dallas. I had never been in an opera house, and I if I never go into one again, it will be too soon.
We walked up several flights of stairs so we could see the rest of the house from the balcony. I have no idea how far up we were, but I was dangerously close to passing out as we walked around the parameter. I took it upon myself to move up several rows to avoid showering the people below with my vomit.
What scared me the most wasn’t just the height, it was also terrifying how disgustingly low the balcony was. It maybe came up to my knees. I imagined myself tripping—or passing out—and falling to my death. Not how I want to die.
Sky diving is obviously out of the question. I have little doubt I would at the very least pee myself if I ever attempted it, but I would likely also crap myself and pass out all in one fell swoop.
I just realized my bucket list length is inversely related to my list of phobias…coincidence? Uh…nope.