I have a comfort zone.
A zone of comfort, if you will.
I am comfortable with puppies. Sunny days. Organization. Schedules. Spontaneity. The happy chaos that is my family. Road trips. A hot cup of tea. Volunteering. Reality TV. Tootsie Rolls. Eating at a new restaurant. Thunderstorms.
I could go on, but I'll spare you.
Of course, there are things outside my zone of comfort, such as large spiders, scuba diving and heights.
Interestingly enough, I have never been scuba diving, and I can tell you with all confidence that I never will. Sure, you can pummel my blog with comments all you want purporting the wonderfulness of scuba diving, but I will remain unmoved.
Mama ain't scuba diving no never ever.
The tank attached to my back, the darkness, the depths of the ocean, the vastness of it all, the fish, the sea life is all too much. The combination of it all is enough to give me a huge panic attack.
But I digress.
Did you see the part that I mentioned that I'm scared of heights? Like bigtime? That heights are waaaayyy out of my comfort zone? That if my comfort zone is Maine, then heights are California? That's how far out of my comfort zone that heights are? Maine and California, people.
I am scared of heights.
My fear has gotten much worse the older I get, and the more children that we added to our brood. As a result, I went from being a teenager who would ride any roller coaster at an amusement park to an adult who almost hyperventilates while driving over a bridge.
It's not pretty. I'm not proud of it. But I am who I am. Fears are irrational.
You know how you're shopping at the mall, and you're up on the upper level, and you're just strolling along, minding your own biz? But the mall doesn't have regular railings, of course. They have clear, glass, wall-like railings, and you can see to the ground below. So one day, you're just strolling along, minding your biz, thinking to yourself, "Oh. I noticed Hot Topic is having a sale on Def Leppard t-shirts. Good for them. And what kind of fool shops at Hot Topic anyway?" So you lean over the railing to see the Hot Topic shopping fools, and then...BAM. Your stomach drops out of your body because of the heights. You are scared of them. Even at the mall.
Which brings me to my point. Spring Break 2011.
Our family of six made a journey to the beautiful American South for the week, and one of our stops was Lookout Mountain, which sits on the border of the southern part of Tennessee, and the north edge of Georgia. It is pure beauty, and nature at its finest.
Did you read the part wherein I mentioned that Lookout Mountain is a mountain? As in a mountain? As in up high in the sky? As in WAY higher than the upper level of a mall? As in a mountain mountain?
And? Most surprisingly, the whole thing about going to the top of a mountain was my idea. Mine. I may be a huge wuss, but I want my kids to have experiences, regardless of my fears.
"Mom is gonna fa-reak out you guys! FA-REAK!" my youngest son said a little too excitedly, the moment we pulled into the parking lot of the Incline Railway station. (The Incline Railway, by the way, is the steepest passenger railway in the world - at one point it's basically perpendicular to the ground - and goes one mile up to the top of Lookout Mountain. ONE MILE UP TO THE SKY.)
I can handle this. Don't let 'em see you sweat. Breathe, Clare. Breathe.
"I know! She's gonna scream so hard and barf all over the train!"
My kids. So supportive it almost brings a tear to my eye.
"And then she's gonna barf all over the mountain."
The support. They are killing me with support.
"And then she's gonna poo her pants! She's gonna be so scared she's gonna poooooooooooo!"
Always with the potty talk. Always. They are masters. And? In case you're wondering? I assured them that their prediction will most definitely not come true. My kids. Always keeping it classy.
As we made our ascent up the mountain, I was fine. And by, "fine", I mean there was only slight screaming in my brain. But it's not like I was going to lose it. I do have my dignity.
I was pure composure. Pure composure while screaming in my head, of course.
Don't let my smile fool you. I am SCARED. OUT. OF. MY. EVER. LOVING. MIND.
And? I only hyperventilated a teensy bit.
Just a scoatch.
But I made it to the top of the mountain, and the view was phenomenal. Absolutely phenomenal.
Well, it was phenomenal for about five minutes until I said, "All done. Back to sea level."
Best of all, besides my kids fervently wishing that I would, "poo my pants" out of fear, they were champs throughout it all. I wanted to give them an experience they would never forget, but they gave me one. Our week was wonderful and relaxing, but I won't bore you with the details. Far and away, the mountain was the highlight of my trip. The one thing I dreaded doing the most became the best part of my week.
I am still terrified of heights. Nothing has changed.
But I did it. I stepped out of my comfortable, comfy, comfort zone.
Besides. There's something that I'm WAY more afraid of than heights, and I face that fear on a daily basis.
My boys' bathroom.