Tower Over Me

May 20, 2008
By
I can remember the vivid sound of the North Carolina summer consuming me. It seemed like the cicadas were in my ears; the sound was deafening. The air was full of hot summer fun and the nostalgic fragrance of sun block. People drifted pass me in a blur with my eagerness in full focus; I followed the trudged path to the tower. With each flight of stairs, my excitement mounted, rising my spirits. My sister would look behind back every once in awhile to reassure me that I would have an awesome time. I could see the silhouettes of people going down the blue water slide tubes for only a brief moment before the dripping water from above slapped me on the head. My excitement soon morphed into a strange and unbearable feeling.

Just before the last two flights of stairs, the feeling hit me. Within seconds, my confident and secure feelings went into a frenzy of unexplainable and intense fear. I stood on the middle platform, shaking and crying. I wasn’t sure if I was crying because I was afraid or if I was crying because I felt so pathetic and exposed on the winding platform. Kids three to four years younger than me ran past; going up this tower was nothing to them. Then envy mingled with my already chaotic feelings. I would ask myself, “I’m 8 years old right? How can these 5 year olds do it and I can’t?” The green Astroturf carpeting caught my sinking feelings, causing the ground to feel even soggier than it already was. The fear built up into an attack on my body. Thought I was going to die up there. And many times, I looked over the edge and felt like jumping. These terrible feelings made me want to hit that sandy ground. I wanted to get rid of them so bad. I remember having feelings of intense fear before, but none when I could not figure out what was causing that fear in the first place. I dove into my memories to try and pull out something that could explain my feelings.

I couldn’t help but remember a similar experience I had back in 1992. At that age, I had no idea why I was afraid. Later, after a long talk with my mother, we finally pinpointed why I was afraid. When I remember it now, it’s hilarious. I looking back on how irrational it was, I came to the realization of how ridiculous my fear was. I’m still convinced to this day that what helped me go that extra step to conquer my fear was because remembering that experience in 1992. By this time, I still had no idea what I was afraid of. But I know it was probably something illogical.

So I started hope again; I did have the power to control my feelings. And with an arsenal of memories and lessons, my shoulders straitened; I stood tall. I took baby steps; around the corner I went, my heart pounding harder. People gave me weird looks, no, more perplexed than weird. I got past the second to last flight. I felt accomplished, but not satisfied enough. I repeated, “I must not give up” in my head and continued. The last flight was the most difficult. My indecent shaking attracted the attention of a woman. She was concerned and asked if I needed to be brought down. I knew this ploy though, a ploy to get me to run away. I declined her held and continued on. Then I saw it. The last platform. The spicy wind blew my curls in the summer sky. A breath of fresh air seeped into my psyche, dissipating my uneasiness. It wasn’t over though; I still had the slide to worry about. I plopped down on the yellow tube looking down the mouth of the monster. The slide captured the riders like a microphone. I heard screaming and my heart raced.

The lifeguard grabbed the back of the tube and shoved it down the monster’s mouth. My first initial reaction was a lack of control. I felt my stomach dropping, which was amplified by my screaming. After about three seconds, I started smiling and letting out giggles. I was a great feeling, over coming fear. I even went, “Yeah! Woo”! I still smile looking back on it. At the end, everyone was there, smiling and rushing towards me. They had this feeling that I would be scared. But I did it all on my own and they were proud of me. I always remember this day in scary times. I still get panic attacks today, but I have to remember that it’s not impossible to get over my fears. I have to hold on to the feelings that make me feel most proud. When I do, all my fears melt away into positive thoughts. In the time of a troubling situation, it is hard to realize what is going on. You may feel a plethora of intense emotions with out know the reason why. But there is always a reason. Sometimes it takes the help of another or the power of taking a step back and thinking about the situation with a clear, positive mind.





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