Great heights

The last thing she wanted to do was face her fears. Read of one young girl's brave decision to take a leap of faith.

Punk girl jumping in the air
...The most important thing was that sometimes situations are scary but that doesn't make them impossible.

I have been afraid of heights for as long as I can remember. When I was in Year 11, my school built a centre named The Leadership Training Centre. It consisted of rock climbing walls, high ropes courses and other challenges. The most difficult of them all was called The Leap of Faith. It was this challenge where you were harnessed up and had to climb a ladder to a platform that sat 11 meters above the ground. Once there, you had to jump off the platform and reach out to grab this trapeze. I had seen it done by students in my class and had sworn that there was no way I would ever attempt it.

One day when we were in the centre my teacher asked me, 'Are you going up?' I laughed it off and told him that he couldn't pay me to do it. Anyway he continued to encourage me until finally I agreed - I still don't know why!

The accent

I got harnessed up and was shaking like a leaf before I even took one step off the ground. I climbed up and got to the top and freaked out. I literally couldn't move. I was in shock. My teacher yelled out to me suggesting that instead of jumping off the platform that I just sit on the edge and push myself off. So I sat down. I still couldn't bring myself to slide off the edge and sat there for 20 minutes! If I wasn't so scared I probably would have died of embarrassment. Finally with the encouragement of my class I slid off the edge crying the whole way down.

As I was taking the harness off I heard two of the boys in my class teasing me about it behind my back. I was hurt but more than that I was angry - not so much at them but at myself for letting the whole situation get to me so much. So the next day I decided I wanted to try again, I went and spoke to my teacher and he said that he would help me in the next lesson.

The next time I tried it I went through the same feelings and ended up staying at the top for 2hrs! And I still didn't jump off the platform, instead my teacher pulled on the rope and I had to just go with it.

The moment 

Over the next two weeks I stayed after school giving it my all - I wanted so badly to prove to myself that I could do it and I wanted to get back at the guys who teased me. So I did all sorts of things to try and prepare myself. I jumped off tables, did some high ropes stuff and swung on the rope on the ground. All up I spent 7 and a half hours at the top of the platform. But one morning before school I went down to the centre and climbed to the top of the ladder and psyched myself up and I DID IT!!! I have never felt so proud of myself.

The lesson

I learnt so much during that time. But the most important thing was that sometimes situations are scary but that doesn't make them impossible. People will doubt you in life but I have learnt that success is the best revenge for people like that. You may never hear them apologise for criticising you or your dreams but when you achieve them despite the criticism you will feel a much greater sense of achievement because it was harder for you to reach your goal!

So keep dreaming always and don't let your fears get in the way.

Last reviewed: 07 August, 2015
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