Sunday, August 29, 2010

A Sightless Lagoon

While sitting in my seat waiting for the thrill of the Fire Dragon at Lagoon today I watched as a guy helped his blind friend onto the roller coaster.

It made me wonder what it would be like to experience the thrills of an amusement park sightless. Would it be more intense not knowing what was coming? Would I be more anxious with anticipation? Would I be extra sick? So I set off on the ride with my eyes closed tight and excited for a new experience.

I was wrong on two of the three accounts. Without sight I wasn't nearly as anxious or nervous and it wasn't very scary at all. I couldn't tell how high I was, I didn't know what direction I was facing and I didn't know when a fall was about to happen. I just sat calmly and enjoyed the wind and shift in direction. Once in a while I’d get butterflies, and I always slammed into the person next to me on a quick turn because I didn’t know to brace myself, but in all it was significantly less intense without experiencing it visually.

I WAS however more ill when the ride stopped than I had ever before experienced. Once the ride came to a halt it felt as though my head went through every turn in fast forward. Like it had to quickly catch up to what my body had just gone through until it came to the end of the ride and all was calm again. It was the closest I've ever come to being physically ill from a roller coaster in my life.

But it didn't matter; I was on a new quest. I rode every ride today with my eyes closed determined to turn this from a curiosity derived experiment into a life changing lesson.
(As I do with most things)

It wasn't until I rode my favorite and most feared ride that I learned what that lesson was.

The Rocket (re-entry style) makes me crap my pants. I can NOT handle it. It is the only one that TRULY scares me. So, of course I have to go on it. But every time I get to the top and I look out and see the cows in the field (they're really far away) I change my mind and want to get off. That is when I usually turn into a giant baby, cry for my mommy and suck my thumb. "I've changed my mind" I yell. The gracious conductor says, "I'm so sorry ma'am, let me get you down from there" and then that sneaky little devil drops me from the sky like a sack of potatoes.

TODAY however, was a completely different experience. I sat on the ride with my eyes closed and would you believe it, I had no idea how high I was. I didn't see any cows, I didn't change my mind, and I didn't even need my mommy. I did feel the drop but it was brief and mostly windy. Not nearly the death defying plummet to Earth that it usually is.

And that's when I learned the moral of my experience.

While riding each coaster I felt completely calm inside. I listened to my body as it told me how to feel. It told me to be calm, adjust to the sudden change of direction, and enjoy the wind whipping my hair. It was only by listening to people around me that I got any clue I should be scared. The woman behind me yelling, "no, no, no, oh God NO!!!" made me wonder why I wasn't scared. The whimpering in the seat next to me made me curious about what was upsetting her so much. And the screams from the front made me think that I was lucky to be missing such a traumatic experience.

I think that daily we all take clues about how to face our lives based solely on how others think we should. "Savannah, aren't you scared to move so far away?" Crap, I wasn't until you said something. Now I’m terrified because you think I should be.

While on the Rocket I learned how to face my fears, not blind to the adventure, but blind to the fear. With my eyes closed I wasn't afraid of the task (*task being drop to the ground like dead weight) placed before me. I just sat in my seat and did what I was supposed to.
And so that is what I will do now. My eyes are blind to the people who would make me believe I must be afraid of my life and what I do with it. I have not felt fear on my own, and I will not start because someone says I should

So there…


We are the Mogles said...

sweet savvy! i likey this a lot!!!

Marie said...

"We have nothing to fear but fear itself".
The full quote of Franklin D Roosevelt is from his first inaugural address. "So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself -- nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance"