Mindset

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Roller Coaster

Roller coaster

Image courtesy of Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/black-and-white-roller-coaster-106155/

During a recent family vacation to an amusement park, we discovered that our youngest son loves roller coasters.  Like a true adrenaline junky!  We visited the park on two different days, and the highlight of both visits was the roller coasters.

While my husband and son enjoyed the rides, I was the designated backpack holder and cell phone keeper because I hate roller coasters.  In fact, hate seems too mild to describe my feelings.  Under no uncertain terms do I enjoy going uber fast, compounded by steep and unexpected drops, sudden, jerky movements, and/or being flung upside down.  No thank you!

In spite of my aversion, I agreed to ONE ride.  It was a family vacation after all, so I agreed to give it one try.  It was the worst two minutes of my life.    Afterwards, we walked around the park for an entire hour before I spoke a single word to my husband or my son.  Did I mention that I hate roller coasters?

Later on that the evening, my husband asked me a question that really got me thinking: why do you hate roller coasters so much?  And I really had to think about it.  I can’t recall a bad experience or anything traumatic related to roller coasters.  I don’t even know when or how I decided I don’t like them; I just don’t.  I was stumped.

Since I couldn’t come up with a why, I started thinking about the way I feel on roller coasters.  And that is when I had my “AH-HAH” moment.  It’s the physical sensation that I dislike.  It starts in the pit of my stomach.  It’s a tightening deep in my belly, where my insides constrict.  The feeling slowly spreads, moving up through my stomach, creeping upwards towards my chest.  Next comes the sensation of being restricted, a literal squeezing that extends from my lower belly up through my chest cavity that grips me.

It is paralyzing.

It is oddly familiar.

It is fear.

So here’s my truth: I don’t like roller coasters because they are a physical manifestation of fear.