I have only been truly terrified a few times in my life. But, I’ve been scared a lot because I’m just that girl: SCARED. And I don’t like being scared. I don’t do scary movies or roller coasters or haunted houses. And the times I’ve been truly terrified, they’re so much worse than the times I was scared, that I’m not even sure terrified is a strong enough word.
Yesterday? Terrified was not strong enough.
My brain literally stopped working the second I got in the elevator up to the top of the building. I couldn’t remember names 5 seconds after I was told them. I saw Larkin and Bronwen from Our Valley Events and I could remember the name “Our Valley Events”. I kept seeing the letters “OVE” in my head (that’s their logo) and my brain kept saying, “OVER THE EDGE. OVER THE EDGE.” I was sniping at E for no reasons and I was barely talking to anyone. During the training I was as focused as possible, convinced that – if I forgot some small detail – I would plummet to my death. The other two training were fun-loving and excited and experienced and I was struggling not to cry.
When we walked onto the roof I almost turned around. At another point while I let the other two go first, I turned to E and said, “I don’t want to do this.” But that’s the thing…those thoughts were RIGHT THERE the entire time. I just wanted to STOP. GO HOME. LEAVE. NO MORE. DANGER! DANGER! DANGER! So, basically I had to shut off my brain just to keep going. Which is why nothing in my brain was working.
I asked the people helping us, “So…If I just freeze. Or don’t do what I’m supposed to. There is a way to get me down, right? One that doesn’t require me to do anything?” They laughed. OF COURSE. They assured me that they had 600-ft of rope if needed. They could lower me down 3+ times.
(Sidenote: The people at Over The Edge are amazing. If you need/want to do these extreme fundraisers for your group? They are brilliant.)
So…they harnessed me in and got me attached into a giant tripod. (E will post the video of everything later.) My back was towards the edge and I was just focused on the process. And gripping on to that tripod for dear life. Those Over The Edge people are awesome. They handled me and my terror beautifully. They talked to me with calm, little kid voices and truly did everything for me. They physically pushed my legs into position on the side of the building. The problem was, I wouldn’t push out. So my knees were carrying the weight of my body and gravity all on the edge of this building. LIKE SO.
All I had to do was push on my feet and drop down a bit more (I was in control of the release clip that lowered me) but I just couldn’t do it. They were discussing that they’d have to lower me (whatever that means) and I finally just DID IT.
And then…after that? It was just one step at a time. I knew I was 12 stories up so I just focused on counting the windows. The terror was so overwhelming that had I let my mind drift – even just for a minute – I would have lost it. I tried to “WOO!” periodically. But it was only half-assed. I turned my head slightly just to see the periphery and then panicked and re-focused on the wall. That beautiful old wall.
Eventually, they hollered that they were pulling me out from the wall and I was all like, “WHAT? WHY?” I needed that wall. THAT WALL WAS MY LIFE. I kept feeling myself drifting out the whole way down and was fighting it, somehow convinced that if I couldn’t reach the wall with my legs then I would just hang there forever. I also was gripping the release switch so hard that I think part of me thought that if I let go, I would plummet. To say I was tense would be an understatement.
They pulled me away from the wall and I made it to ground. To safety. And every person that asked me, “Would you do it again?” got the same answer: NO WAY.
And then I did this dance. Because when I’m proud and happy to be alive, I get super-sexy.
I want to thank E for being my support during the hour before I went over. I was horribly tense which is not a flattering look for me but he kept smiling and cheering me on. My kid rocks.
I want to thank my friend Kim for these amazing pictures. Seriously. She documented every moment and I’m so grateful.
But I want to thank the group of friends/family who came out and cheered me on the most. That was such an inconvenience, to come out to downtown and find a place to park just to watch me rappel, but I’m so glad so many of them did. It was so heart-warming to see them all.
I’m thrilled I did it. Thrilled Rocket City Mom asked me to do it. Thrilled E convinced me to say, “Yes!” But would I ever do it again?
Not in 100 gagillion years. NO WAY.