I don't particularly consider myself a coward.
I have flung myself off of a thirty foot cliff into freezing water. I have held a snake, even though they terrify me more than the idea of Justin Bieber as Peeta. I've climbed a tree and jumped into the water below. When I fell off the first time, I made myself jump a second. (See this thing about jumping? Apparently it's popular.) I frequently stand up in front of crowded rooms and give speeches about politics in countries I've barely heard of for debate, and I don't really have a problem with arguing to get what I want. Haunted houses are fun and corn mazes full of costumed men with chainsaws are the highlight of October. And I've sent out my story, my baby, had to rip it pieces and tear it to shreds, and I'm willing to do it again.
But, um. We all have limits, right?
For instance. Yesterday, my sister and her friend decided they want to go ziplining. Now, this friend has been around for a long time. I've spent a lot of time with her and I'm actually quite fond of her. However, she has this annoying thing where she says that, if I don't want to do something, I'm a coward. I'm no fun. (I'm talking about not wanting to go to the movies, by the by, not bungee jumping or parachuting from a plane.)
So when they asked if I wanted to go, my pride demanded that I say yes. And so the night began.
It went like this:
I climb up a rickety, spiraling ladder at ten at night, because yes, my sister and her friend decided that zipping through the forest would be more fun when you can't see where you are going.
Yup. Look up in those trees. Now imagine a thin wire. And screaming. And midnight. You will be looking at last night.
The 18 year old guides informs me that many people often get stuck in the middle of the line and have to pull themselves backwards to the platform. By their arms.
At this point, I'm eying the line. It's awfully thin. And we're going to be going awfully fast. And then I'm looking at my arms. There's no way I can pull myself fifty feet with only their power. No freaking way.
My sister's friend is now watching me with unholy glee. She's just waiting for me to back down. They would have ammo on me for months if I decide I'm too scared, so I let the 18 year old guide click me into a harness.
I ask him if this is safe. If I'm going to get stuck. If it's scary. Reassurance would have been great right then, especially since he was a tall, cute guy. If he informed me that it would be okay, I would nod and smile and decide that a boy that cute would not lie.
He blinks at me for a moment then rolls his eyes. "Dude," he says. "You ask a lot of questions."
Yes. That was it. No answer. The boy promptly lost twelve degrees of attractive.
People start zipping away. One of them flips over and zips along screaming, upside down.
Oh, good, I think. Sister and friend will have ammo for the rest of my LIFE if that happens.
Friend, me, and the guide are now the only ones left. Sister is zipping away. She grabs the line wrong and jerks her arm. At least I have some ammo too. Friend gives me an evil grin.
I look at the ground. I look at the freaking skinny little wire and decide that next time, I am so not eating lunch. Lunch is evil. Lunch is ugly and evil and I am so going to die--
and at that point, I figured I should just jump off.
And I didn't die. I didn't flip over (because, ahem, I'm smart and actually listen to the guide) and I didn't even hit a tree.
Wanna know something funny?
It wasn't scary. At all.
You move at over 50 miles an hour and have to stop yourself with your hands. You are in a small harness and you have to walk over bridges made of rope. You twist and you turn and if you are my sister, you get smacked in the face by a tree. But it isn't all that terrifying. Jumping off a cliff is way, way scarier, even though it's thirty feet shorter.
Moral of the day: sometimes, you just have to do something that scares you. Not because it'll make you a better person, necessarily, like they tell you in school, but because it's fun. And if you didn't try, then you'd never know.
Plus, you would totally be mocked for the rest of your life.
Also, the best way to get me to do something is to appeal to my pride. Just saying.