They say the best way to conquer your fear is to face it. So if you’re an arachnaphobe, you should let a big hairy tarantula scurry over your hand. If snakes give you the willies, you should let a small non-poisonous serpent drape itself round your shoulders.
Easy for them to say, whoever “they” are.
What if your fear is this? Imagine you’re really high up – at the edge of a cliff or the parapet of a very tall building. The fear is not being scared of heights. Or about having vertigo. It’s something different.
Call it… curiosity. What if… What if I stepped up and jumped? Like Icarus. The rush. What transcendent insight would reveal itself? What revelation? What if…
So it wasn’t the fear of heights or the fear of falling that I had, but the fear of stepping out or taking a dive, of surrendering to curiosity.
Admittedly with the inevitable consequence of going splat in a terminal sense. But despite that obvious conclusion to any experimenting along these lines, I still felt the draw, the pull, the insidious luring – like a chubber passing a bun shop. (Actually I get that too, but it doesn’t count as a fear.)
But, as “they” say, the only way to overcome your fear is to face it. So I did. I stepped out and away and took the plunge. Literally.
And yet here I am, perky as get out, telling you all about it. How can that be?
Ah – it’s the power of elastic.
I took a ride up in the cradle of a crane, with my ankles strapped together and fixed to end of an elastic rope. Up top, wind in my face, surface far below, I was able to take small steps to the edge and lean out, like a toppling Jesus at Rio. Ready for revelation.
And then it came.
But first, the rushing. The physical plummet. The whimpering headlong headfirst very fast drive towards the surface. Pressure building behind my eyes, Time only to be conscious that the only thing between me and impact was my skull.
Then a jarring jerk upwards as the elastic tautened. Relief. Bouncing. Eventually settled and being lowered to the ground. Alive.
I’d had my insight. The revelation was that there was no revelation. It was purely physical. No transcendence. No trip. No enhanced consciousness. No insight – beyond that there was no insight to be had. The thrill – or the lure of the thrill – had gone.
So curiosity did not kill this cat. Though in my friend Dave’s case, it did get him wet. He and I took the bungee jump plunge on the same day, above a dock in Bridgewater (no, none of your romantic New Zealand gorges for us). As he byoinged up and down, I had a word with the crane driver to lower him a little bit too far. ‘Cos I’m evil that way. Sorry damp Dave.
This salutory tale comes to you in association with the Loose Bloggers Consortium. Their deepest fears will be revealed by clicking on their names – Ramana, Delirious, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Maxi, Maria SF, Padmum, Rohit, Shackman, The Old Fossil and Will. If you dare, woah-ha-ha.