Tonight, I am here to tell you that you can do things you didn’t think you could do. Mainly because today, I did something that I didn’t think I could do.
My poor broken body climbed ladders, rode in a really tight two-person elevator and stood 90 meters high, fully exposed, not a handrail in sight. Because sometimes even when you don’t think you can do something, you have to try, because you might amaze yourself.
I got invited to go up to the top of a 90-meter high wind turbine this week, and I almost declined because I was so scared. There was a deep fear in me that I wouldn’t be able to do it. That I wouldn’t be able to get my overweight and out of shape body up the ladders. That the Fibro would make my knees hurt so bad, that I would have to give up. That my very non-flexible body just wouldn’t be able to maneuver in those tight spaces. Those were the deep fears.
There was also this big fear of heights and falling. My brain immediately goes to things like me getting too close to the edge and going over or god-forbid, dropping my phone.
These fears gnawed at me for two days. The night before, they kept me awake for hours. Raging anxiety ripped right through me and made me doubt everything from whether my body could handle this to am I even going to fit in the fall protection harness. Seriously, my brain can come up with some crazy things to worry about when it really wants to worry.
When the time came, I had thoughts of backing out and saying I was just too busy. But great co-workers kept me on track, and I made it out to the building where I would get harnessed up and ready to go.
And of course, with all these thoughts going through my head, the first harness they put on me didn’t fit. And I joked about being too tall to cover up the fear that maybe no harness would fit. It has happened before that I have gotten up the courage to do something, and then I wouldn’t fit. I am not a small person. And I stood there thinking, this is never going to work. I am not going to fit. But then, they found a harness to fit me, and I was all geared up to go.
I gotta thank our safety guy and all our tour guides for being very patient with me because I had to practice everything before we went up and make sure I knew what I was doing. I know that I do better with fear if my brain gets it sorted out before we go into the real situation.
Then finally, all the safety talks were done, and we were ready to go. My boss went up first, and that was good because it gave me time to calm myself and get used to what was about to happen. Then it was my turn. I was pretty awkward getting in the elevator/lift, and it was close quarters, but we both made it in. I had to hold the button on the way up and man, I almost had to stop us to change fingers because I got so tired of holding the button. You know you are really out of shape when even holding a button makes you tired! But, I held it all the way, and we made it to the top. I was so uneasy climbing out of the lift because we had to connect our harness and maneuver up a ladder and then around in this pretty tiny (by my standards) area. I am not kidding, I was thinking to myself, I know I look completely awkward and stupid but dammit, I am going to get out of this thing. Luckily, I did, or the whole thing would have been a loss.
Once everyone was up, it was time to climb out to the top. This was the part I didn’t know if I could do. And people had been very reassuring and told me I didn’t have to if I didn’t want to. But really, who wants to wuss out at the very end. I mean you have to go out once you are up there. At least that is what my mind said. So, I climbed up the ladder and looked out. Ok, not so bad. Fumbled a bunch as I tried to connect my safety harness to where it needed to go but made it happen. Then, with my heart in my throat and nine million butterflies in my stomach, I crawled/stepped out on to the top. Wanted to sit down but didn’t, took a deep breath and took a look around.
It was an amazing view, and I am all about the view. I took a bunch of pictures that cannot even remotely capture the scale of what I was seeing and processing in my brain. I put my favorite selfie on this blog but head over to Instagram to see more. There were a few times that I almost lost my cool and begged to get down, but I tried to keep it together. I politely asked people to stop jumping around (or maybe it wasn’t polite. I am not sure. But it made me way too nervous). And I learned that you should never look at the tip of a moving wind turbine blade, it will make you very disoriented and that is not a fun feeling that high in the air.
What goes up must come down, so we had to repeat this journey to get back down and let me tell you, I think trying to get back down that ladder and go back inside was probably the worst part of the whole thing for me. I have so much trouble getting up and down off the floor, and now I had to go backward into a hole and put my foot down and find a ladder step. Are you kidding me? That part was the hardest part of the trip for me and took the longest too. I went really, really slow.
In the end, I made it back down with a bunch of pictures and a great story. And learned a new lesson in life, I can do hard things. Even when I think that my body won’t support me and even when my mind is trying to sabotage me, I can do the hard things, and they are worth all the effort.
I wish the same for all of you. I want you to know that you can do the hard things if you try. It takes a lot to silence the fears and sometimes you might need a lot of help to make that happen, but you can do it. Stop letting fear keep you from experiencing new things. You will be rewarded in the end.
You might shed a tear (I broke down in relief and release tonight when I got home), you might even fail sometimes (trust me, it happens), but trying is what matters most, and I believe in you, so just try!