Ups and Downs

The first time I went on a log flume, I was unaware that I was on a log flume. I was about 10 years old, and some friends had tricked me in to getting on what I thought was a sort of lazy river type deal. I figured we would sit in the log and meander around the path, and maybe go under a little waterfall or two. And we did at first. Until we turned a corner, past where I had been able to see when waiting in line and there was a giant hill. And we were going up it.

I panicked. I started yelling at anyone who could her me to LET ME OFF THE RIDE. But it was too late. We were on our way up.

I’ve written before about how I’m bad at beginnings. Starting scares me. I stared at this blank word document for a solid 10 minutes before I hit a single key. But lucky for me, the beginning is just where it starts- all the adventure is contented in the fall- the everything that comes once you’ve gotten over the butterflies on the ride up.

So we were almost at the top of the log flume, and I wasn’t any calmer. I was more panicked then ever, and my friend sat behind me attempting to calm me down and running her fingers through my hair in a way that was supposed to seem soothing, but mostly felt condescending. I could feel my stomach forming knots and I gripped the side of the plastic tube shaped to look like wood, that I was fairly sure was going to be my watery grave.

No one rides a water slide because of the thrill of climbing all the stairs. Sure the stomach butterflies are fun, and the feeling of excitement to come propels you forward, but the real joy comes from the ride down. From falling.

When people talk about the ‘rise and fall’ it’s implied that the rise is what’s important. The going up, not the coming down. But I’ve never found that to be true.

I’m not saying the fall isn’t scary. It’s terrifying. But it’s also exhilarating. It’s where you test your limits and learn that the fear can be worth it.
I found a picture of myself in a fake log flume in front of a
sign for Chinese food from 2007. You're welcome, internet

We had reached to peak of the log flume. The tipping point. Past where up had turned in to rapidly twisting, and on the edge of where rapidly twisting turned in to a stomach flipping ride down. We were at the point where the fall began. And I had no other option but to go with it.

So we fell. We went down, and the water splashed us and my friends laughed, and I clenched the sides of our log so hard that my knuckles turned  from tan to white to an unnatural shade of purple , but before I knew it I was smiling. And before I knew it the fall was over, and we were peacefully floating to the end of the ride.

I tend to work myself up about… well, about everything. I panic and I fuss and I get caught up in a million what-if’s and maybes. I get myself so freaked out that sometimes I lose focus on the thing I’m freaking out about.

The log flume ended up being fun. My panic ended up being over nothing, and- weirdly enough- it turns out I can trust my friends. I’m not saying that there aren’t things worth panicking about, but I’m saying sometimes we spend too much time focusing on the lead up and not enough on what comes after.

I just finished my first semester at Salisbury. It was hard, really hard, but I did it and I’m proud. Salisbury has been a rough adjustment, but I think I’ve reached the tipping point. The point where the fear turns in to…well, still fear, but fear mixed with excitement. The kind of fear that makes you laugh nervously and anxiously, when you do new things that you’re excited to do. The kind of fear that means you’re doing something a little different then the things you used to do.

I think I’m there. I think the scary has turned to fun. I think I’m feeling good about it. I think I’m excited. 

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