How To Feel Alive: Face & Conquer

“I would never be able to do something like that.”

I think more than anything, this phrase really annoys the shit out of me.  The second I know that I am terrified of doing something, that it’s going to push me outside of my comfort zone, when I start to feel those anxious butterflies going wild; that’s when I know I have to do it. Whatever it is.

I realize that not everything thrives on adrenaline or likes being pushed outside their comfort zone. But the thing is, neither did I for the longest time. I grew up an indoor kid, happy to stay on a couch watching T.V. and terrified to my core anytime my cousins did something daring or against the rules.

So it just makes me kind of angry when people out there won’t even open their mind to doing something that will change their outlook, their attitude, their entire life perspective because they “could like, literally never do something like that.” And I know I am supposed to be accepting of everything and love everyone because that’s the persona I portray, but this attitude makes me want to shake people and scream at them: “Don’t you know what you’re missing?! LIFE is out there!” 

The reason I fell so in love with traveling is because, while every time I travel I learn so much, I also realize how much more there is to know and to do.

The more I see, the less I know. – Michael Franti (got it right.)

So I’m recapping my South Africa trip not from the beginning of the trip but at the moment I was sitting on a bench, in a harness, with my legs wrapped tightly in a velcro wrap, on top of the world’s highest bungee bridge, the Bloukran’s Bridge.  Oh not to mention, laugh crying. Not because something was funny, because I was panic-stricken and very emotionally confused by the fact that there was house music blasting around me, people were dancing, everyone was a hype-man… and the fact that I was 15 seconds from going against every natural preservation instinct I had and jumping off this bridge.  In that last thirty seconds, my inner anxiety finally physically manifested itself in the form of big fat tears that I just couldn’t stop.

The calm and helpful bungee guys put my arms around their shoulders and helped me shuffle my constrained feet to the edge, toes sticking out over the side. Though I don’t remember much at this point, the video footage shows me with a very concerned look on my face and taking deep breaths. Fairly certain I blacked out for the first 5 seconds (or however long it took to hit the bottom) of the fall and the first thing I remember is as soon as I started to recoil and slowly bounce back up and down, I was sobbing full fledge tears streaming down my face. Well I was upside down, so they were more like streaming up my face. This time though, the tears were more like holy shit I just did it tears. How beautiful is this life tears. For someone who spent a solid portion of their life dealing with depression and anxiety, this moment brought a rush of exhilaration, disbelief, and pure awe at how much humans can do and how much we can feel and how beautiful these mountains and the ocean were around me. Why would I ever worry about anything when I can experience feelings like this?

Post-jump I was elated, and while I may not be a bungee jump junkie just yet, I absolutely can appreciate how alive I felt and how awake I was every moment of that experience. I will now pursue feeling this alive for the rest of my days and I shall accept nothing, and no one that makes me feel less.