It is rather the ability to operate through the fear… to overcome it. “
This is my rendition of some wise man’s words.
Bravery my friends, much like fear, is in it’s entirety a state of mind. A heightened sense of invincibility, a natural high or a drug-induced one. An adrenaline rush that renders your brain unable to fully comprehend and calculate the true dangers and risks associated with the smallest things.
During my Dubai trip, the Jouj and I and some friends decided to check out the aquatic theme park. We’d both been to similar parks in the States so felt comfortable with the notion of a day of fun in the sun. We packed up swim gear, flip-flops, towels, sunscreen AND tanning lotion (a girl’s gotta have her options).
I must hand it to them, the organization was impeccable, totally comparable to the parks we’d been to in the US. With digital lockers activated using armbands you are given at the door and which are coded to your liking so they contain information about your locker, available cash to spend and access to the games. All built into your nifty bracelet (anklet) so you don’t have to worry about carrying anything on you.
The main attraction was a huge slide they called “Scareah Jumierah”. Friends heckled us about what a dangerous ride that was, how incredibly spooky it is, how they themselves wouldn’t do it and they wouldn’t recommend it to us. Not one to pass up the chance to prove people wrong I got all the more psyched about trying the game. I don’t have a fear of heights nor speed and am very comfy in the water. I figured I had all the basis covered.
Brave (and ignorant) we waltzed to the slide and stood in the huge que going up the endless flight of stairs. At intervals of our ascent you would meet people heading in the opposite direction. They had gotten to the top, taken a look and decided against it. Not very reassuring. Yet we persisted. High on life. Determined to get our rush for the day.
I watched a couple of people go down the slide, it seemed easy enough. It was my turn, the attendant gave me the basic instruction I’d already heard him give at least 20 times, and which to me seemed obvious enough.
Keep your arms crossed across your chest, keep your legs crossed at all times, do not under any circumstance attempt to leave the slide once you are in motion.
I assumed the position and inched myself towards the tip of the slide.
Ready, set, SCREAM!
There I was doing what felt like a 100km/h free fall. I learned later that we were only doing 80km/h. All of a sudden it struck me, the rush of overwhelming emotion, the doubt, the fear. I tell you ladies and gentlemen bravery is a state of mind, and a misleading one at that. Cause you see, states of mind are difficult to maintain against external influences. Especially when the external influence is 33 meters of 80km/h body racing. I could no longer see nor register distinct images, rapidly the world became one continuous blur.
It was at this point, the point of no return, when I realized that all bravery has deserted me. It took every ounce of self control in every cell in my body to resist the basic human survival instinct to grab to the slide railing abandoning the Mummied position they had us in. The two thoughts battled in my mind. The rational part telling me that the safest thing to do would be to stick to instructions, these people know what they are doing. The irrational part telling me to save my skin, to take all necessary and unnecessary measures.
There I was watching the world fly by, the sound of life whooshing by my ears. Sprays of water flying at my face and eyes and the sheer force of my weight and gravity hurtling me towards the upcoming steeper inclination. I think it was at that point that I decided I was better off not knowing what was yet to come. I clamped my eyelids shut and channeled my whole energy and focus into maintaining my position.
Minutes or seconds later…. they felt like so much more… I arrived at my destination at the end of the slide. My swimming suit bunched up around me and my body contorted into the weirdest angle. I had to be assisted to get up, all wobbly and unsteady on my feet. I’ve always had bad sea legs 😉
Nothing short of crossing the streets of Cairo blindfolded would have been as exhilarating. Thought I’d share my defining moment with you. The day I became a fatalist (in the words of Anna). The day I discovered my version of the Secret. Yet that is another tale.