When I was watching my high school football team from the stands in the stadium, I looked down and all my friends says I went into some sort of trance for a good minute and a half… I am to impulsive for my own good 17 months ago
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Today I completed my first rappelling lab!! Just climbing the stairs to the top of the wall made me nervous. Once to the top, I was paired with Captain Bryan and he checked out my Swiss seat, a harness self-constructed from a single piece of rope. He looped the rappel rope through my carabiner and, after much coaxing, got me to position myself with my back to the edge. At this point I looked at CPT Bryan with raised eyebrows and exclaimed, “You’re going to kill me!” He promised me I wouldn’t die, and told me to sound off to the bottom. I have no idea what I said to the belayer, but I know it took me a few glances over the edge before the words came out. I was told to put my heels over the edge (yeah right!) and lean backwards.
Basically I messed up, screamed, crashed into the wall, and took some skin off my hand. I ended up with my brake rope (the thing that kept me from… like… dying) in between my legs. Captain Bryan pokes his head over the edge and says, “You’re okay! Just get your feet under you!”
Oh Captain Bryan.
After that, the silly fuck makes me release my right hand from the rope I’m desperately clinging too to wave up at him. I bounced my feet off the wall a few times to get a feel, then slowly allowed myself down.
I guess CPT Bryan can keep a promise.
Once to the bottom, a fourth-year cadet asked me, “Wanna do it again?”
Hell, I’ll do it twice more!
And I did! 20 months ago
During Zero Week, we did some height confidence-type activities. I did a high-ropes course which involved climbing a combat net, hoisting myself onto a platform, walking across a wire, and ziplining back down to the bottom. The whole thing probably took me fifteen minutes (which is very, very slow).
My harness got caught on a bolt while I was trying to get up onto the platform. It was in that moment of slight panic something clicked in my mind—the idea that I can and must fend for myself. No one was going to climb up and save me. No one was going to feel sympathy. I just had to use common sense and free myself.
After all, if I want to lead, I should at least have confidence in myself, right?
Although I was scared shitless on the wire portion to the point of whimpering, I did have a proud moment where I steadied myself and pushed through. Someday… Someday I will be less afraid. 21 months ago