At Adventures On the Gorge we just wrapped up a promotion called Countdown to Crazy. Half sale, half contest, participants could enter to win a $1000 gift certificate by booking lodging and/or activities for the winter 2011/2012 season, or they could submit a blog post. Needless to say, the guest-authored blog content rolled right in! This one from Lil’ Bit of Heaven proprietor, Teri Blevins, tells the story of her journey from frightened little girl to seasoned zip line pro.
By Teri Blevins
When I was a little girl, I was terrified of lots of things. Heights. Roller coasters. Rides at amusement parks that just looked the least bit scary. Dark basements. The dark in general. Monsters in the closet. Monsters under the bed. I feel by now that you’re getting the picture.
This exasperated my father to no end. He was a pretty no-nonsense type of fellow. He was very straight forward, very accomplished, and I’m sure, took my fears as signs of weakness. So, a dialogue would ensue (Please remember, these were the 70′s. Fathers were not encouraged to be touchy-feely with their kids at this point.) “Teri, what in the world are you afraid of?”
I would hide behind my mother, peeking one eye out at my father and say in all the wisdom a small child can muster, “I don’t know!”
“Well you’re going to be known as Miss Scaredy Cat! Do you want to be known as Miss Scaredy Cat?” Apparently, yes I did, very much, because no amount of cajoling from him was ever going to get me to do that thing that scared me, whatever it happened to be.
I’m happy to say that over the years, I’ve mastered some of those fears. Sadly, my parents both passed away by the time I was 15, and I suppose when the worst has happened, those old fears don’t seem quite so scary.
I have managed to ride the worst and scariest roller coasters that my three sons could sucker me into. Although I still refuse to sleep with the closet door even open an inch, I no longer stay up late at night contemplating what might be lurking there. I no longer run from the basement stairs, terrified of what might be waiting to snatch me in the dark. Yet, Miss Scaredy Cat was still there, quietly admonishing me that some things are too scary, too terrifying to try.
And then one day, I saw an ad for Zip Lining with Adventures on the Gorge. I have always loved our West Virginia scenery; the Mountains still take my breath away. It seemed like something that would be SO fun, and yet… Miss Scaredy Cat was not quite ready to jump on that one. I tucked it away in my Bucket List, my “someday” slate of things I might do before I die.
Then last year, as mine and my husbands’ birthdays were approaching, my dear friend Shelly happened to mention that they had zip lined in Tennessee and were hoping to do it at New River Gorge. I became obsessed with overcoming my fear and going. My son, who has jumped out of an airplane twice hadn’t even gone! How cool would I be? Miss Scaredy Cat was whispering, “Are you Crazy?” but for once I ignored her.
We signed up, and our friends Shelly and Jeff went with us, assuring us we would have a great time. I woke up the morning-of with butterflies in my stomach and Miss Scaredy Cat now screaming in my head, “ARE YOU NUTS!?” My status on Facebook the night before read like this, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, if God forbid my line should break, I hope in heaven I can bake!!” Yep, still chuckling even in terror.
When we did our zip tutorial, my hands were sweating in my gloves and my knees were knocking. I was so proud that I self-rescued, yes I was only three feet off the ground, but baby steps, people!
When we reached our first zip, I’m sure I was white as a ghost. My poor hubby, who is actually afraid of heights (not anymore, thanks to zip lining) probably could have used some reassurance, but I had nothing for him… zip, nada. I don’t remember what order we went in. I don’t remember much about standing on that first platform, or getting hooked to the line. What I remember is all the beauty of the fall leaves that surrounded me, the love of my husband and friends, even the faith that I had in our guides, who I had known for no more than 30 minutes.
But, what I remember most? I remember settling into my harness, leaving the platform, the feeling of soaring over the trees and the wind in my face, and for the first time—the first time ever—that small voice saying, “Wow, this is SO COOL!”
Thus was the official end of Miss Scaredy Cat. And somewhere, high above the trees, I heard my father’s voice say “Atta girl!”