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Creep Crawlies From Waaaaay Up High

Have you faced fears and overcome them?


When I was living in Germany, my parents and I went on a weekend trip to Paris. Obviously *that* Paris. I was turning 18 that weekend and I was so excited to be there. I was with my parents the whole time but eh, it was Paris for crying out loud. We saw everything while we were there. Got as much in as we could. The Louvre, Eiffel Tower, all of it. We went on a tour that took us to a building that had "the world's fastest elevator". I don't know if it, indeed, was the fastest, but we sure got up there quickly. We were probably 3 floors from the top when we were told that we had to walk up and around the side of the building to get to said roof. Um no. I'll hang out in the elevator thankyouverymuch. My fear of heights is so palpable, so intense that I could not tell you how I've gotten through some moments in my life. This was one of them.


I don't know how I got up to the roof but I ended up there. There's photographic proof of it. When we came up the final stairs, we emerged right in the center of the roof. There was a helicopter landing spot clearly marked with a huge X. I saw cigarette butts all over the ground, immediately felt better and lit one up. (My parents were both smokers at the time and actually used some of my tobacco rations to get their smokes when they ran out so they didn't mind that I lit up) My dad, always taking photos of us, wanted me to go to the railing and let him take a picture of me. I did it and had a major death grip on the railing. I had the smoke in one hand and a railing post in the other. I thought I was going to die. I know that sounds like an exaggeration but it's not. 


When I get way up high, say over 3 feet nowadays (!), I feel like I can't walk. I can't make myself go forward. I've tried everything to get over this fear. I make myself go up ladders to do things. I climb on the counter at work to change prices on the overhead. I go on the mini ladder to get something out of my reach at home. 


The husband and I went to the Dells once and figured we'd go down the huge slide. I miscalculated just how many stairs I would have to climb while carrying a ginormous inner tube and freaked out 2 floors up. It wasn't so much the stairs as it was the space in between the stairs. I could see the people below me. I could see the lower levels. I could see where I was going to end up if I didn't watch what I was doing. My knees started to buckle and I started crying. Stupid right? I apologized profusely to my husband and started back down the stairs. I thought I was going to throw up. 


Same thing happened at the Mall Of America at bar close. They close off all of the Mall so you can't take the elevators down to whatever level you're parked on. Mentally noted *that* evening. There were dozens of people walking down the stairs with us and here I was, hugging the wall, flipping a lid, almost crying because I just knew I was going to die on those stairs.  Because I could see the space in between the stairs. I know you're thinking, just close your eyes and let someone lead you down (or up). No, we tried that. It doesn't work at all. 


That feeling you get in the pit of your stomach, the terrified knot, the urge to vomit, the weird tingling in your arms and legs, the heavy beating of your heart, that's what I feel whenever I take more than two or three flights of stairs. 


That being said, I love roller coasters. I mean I LOVE roller coasters. When I lived in N Chicago, I had season passes to Six Flags Great America for 6 years. My friend's mom would drop us off at 10am and pick us up in the evening. We would have enough money each day to share some pizza and just drink water. It was awesome. My favorite rides were the most twisted, spirally ones they had. The Demon, Shockwave. Those were so much fun. 


The American Eagle is one of the classic coasters they have there. It's wooded, just goes up and down, no flips, corkscrews, just up and down. The thing about this coaster is that it had a tendency to get stuck. On the long ride up to the top, side by side, blue versus red, you just hope and pray  you don't get stuck. That was part of the high, riding that coaster. I never got stuck, thank goodness because I wouldn't be here today blogging. I would be dead and in the ground from a heart attack. To watch those cars sit up there, stuck, wondering what the hell those kids and adults were thinking? Gah! Scared the shit out of me. Yet, I still got on that damn ride. Every single summer. Probably still would.


I close my eyes going up the hill. Squeeze them tight. No peeking. Gripping the shoulder harness/lap bar. The second the car starts to go over, my hands are in the air. They stay there the entire ride. I open my eyes, take in the views and scream my ever loving head off. When we got off the rides, I usually want to go right back on if not for the long lines and the wait. 


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