Friday, April 17, 2009

On Jumping

Back when I was IP, there was an outing we did called the Ropes Course. It was active, experiential therapy that forced us to go outside our comfort zone, just as recovering from an ED requires us to do the same.

I’ve been there several times, and actually enjoy the hell out of myself every time I go – I luuurve me the thrill. But the first time I ever went, I think, made the strongest impact on me, because I was new to treatment and metaphorical niceties sat with me better, because I wasn’t so jaded, and, frankly, bored.

I remember that they strapped a helmet on me and told me to put on a harness that made me look like I had junk and I swear I was so nervous because it made me look like I had a big butt (body image issues preoccupy one’s mind with the most wasteful of thoughts). First, all I had to do was climb the tree, and really that wasn’t too hard, just don’t look down, keep going, up, up, up, until finally, I reach the platform that was just big enough for both my feet to fit on it.

Woah, this is high. What did the instructor say? Two stories high? Yeah, woah, don’t look down, I wanna throw up, crap how am I gonna get down wait you want me to jump are you insane?? Yes I see the trapeze in front of me, (you IDIOT) but it’s like, what, 6, 8 feet away? Wait let me get this straight you want me to jump off a platform that is two stories off the ground and reach for a trapeze that is entirely too far for me to reach? Okay, so yeah, this sucks.

And the instructor says, “You’re paralyzed with fear, and you’re stuck in this horrible, scary place. So get out of it. Get out of this situation you’ve put yourself in. Jump. Jump to a new life, jump from your fears, your eating disorder, the scary, small place you’ve trapped yourself in. Jump, and be free; jump to your new life.”

So then, I get a little jazzed by his impressive speech, and think yes yes YES I can do this! So I bend my legs, tense my body to spring. And then…I look down. And see how very far away from safety I am. I think that I would rather be up here, alone, miserable, but at least surviving, then potentially springing to a bloody death, right? And if not death, at least a very scary unknown, for sure. And as impossible as it sounds, that terrifying little platform starts to get comfortable, and I hate being up here but I reason that at least, for the moment, I'm safe, right?

So I falter. Wait, just kidding, sorry, I swear I’m going to go, I just need a second, give me one more second, woah this is high, yeah sorry I know I know I’m going to jump in like two seconds CAN YOU JUST GIVE ME ANOTHER SECOND? Geez!

And…on my own timeline, I could never jump. I would always wait for another second, until it reached another minute, then two, then three. It was so easy, too easy to find reasons to not jump: I’m scared, what if I can’t do it, what if what if what if.

So finally, the instructor forces his timeline upon me. He says, “Brie, I know you wanna jump, but you’re scared, so I’m going to help you. Here’s what you’re going to do. You’re NOT going to look down. You’re going to stare straight ahead, at your goal: the trapeze in front of you. You’re going to listen to me count to five, and when I finish counting, I want you to jump. I don’t want you to think about how freaking scared you are. I don’t want you to think of anything other than jumping. You’re safe. I won’t let you get hurt. You're in a harness. Remember that, and jump.”

So he counts. It is simultaneously maybe the shortest and longest five seconds of my life. I know I need to do it on his timeline, and not my own, because I need help and that’s okay so this is going to be the scariest thing I ever do but I’m going to do it I’m going to do it I’m going to do it…and…I do.

I jump. I leap through the air and grasp that trapeze…that freaking trapeze that seemed impossibly far away…I reach it. I make it. I’m filled with adrenaline AND SHEER HAPPINESS as I’m lowered to the ground. I feel powerful, a not unpleasant but entirely strange and exotic thing for me to feel. I did it. Against all odds.

I jumped.

And I’m so freaking glad I did.

19 comments:

kristin said...

That's such a wonderful story. I'm so glad that you jumped, too.

Take care.

love, kristin

Krystle said...

Wow, Brie! Amazing. Simply amazing. What a beautiful analogy. :)

jana bananas said...

Wow, excellent post. Thank you. :)

HAFC said...

I remember this. I was next in line. I saw you up there and knew if you couldn't do it, I for sure couldn't. But you did, despite everything. You were brave then, like you are now. I hope I've learned something from my "jump" as you have, but I think I actually blocked out the climbing and jumping part. Thanks for reminding me how I can be sitting on the edge, between 2 things, and the place I am, although I don't like it, is much better (to me), then the other "scary" alternative. I think sometimes in my life, I find myself on that little platform begging to just stay, but knowing I can't. It's an unsettling feeling, but one I've had to go through so many times since then. And if I just jump, life will move forward, and don't I want that? Yeah, I do.....so why do I keep settling for the platform....like right now in my life? Thanks for this reminder, it really applies to me right now.

brie said...

Yep H, I remember your turn, too. You were scared out of your mind, but you jumped...eventually. ;) Remember that, okay?

Telstaar said...

That is cool on SO many levels!

Kara said...

Maybe I need someone to count for me...

Lisa said...

:)

Jackie said...

Very powerful. And the picture rocks - that was a good day :) I am glad you jumped - and glad you are inspiring so many others to take that frightening jump. xoxo

Kyla said...

awesome post. I'm so jealous that you reached the trapeze, though. I was the only one in my group who touched it, I actually got it in one of my hands, but I couldn't hold on. Alas! Thinking of you.

Paige said...

That was neat to read, Brie.

I loved the ropes course. I have a great memory of that day.

Pattie Cordova said...

awesome Saturday morning read. thanks Briester

Zena said...

I remember when at remuda we had a challange course...i remember climbing 100 ft in the air up a rock climbing thingy getting half way up and thinking there is no way my body can do this...I looked down scared out of my mind and then looked back up thinking there was no way I wa going to let my team see me fail...slowly i made my way up...only to have to repel back down...even more scary...but I thankyou thanks for reminding me of what my body is capable of doing...I am more then a girl with an Ed ...I can triumpth and so can you!!! keep fighting girlie...you got this one!!!

love, Z

lisalisa said...

Awesome- so much easier to stay in one's comfort zone than it is to jump, but you are doing it!

licketysplit said...

This was seriously so inspiring. Thank you!

Penny said...

I was there too, that day and i knew that i could never jump either. Thankfully, no one was concentrating on me or asking me to do it, but i now kind of wish that they were. I would like to be seriously challenged like that(although at this point in my life I think it would rip my arms out!) But anyway, I was so proud of you that day and wow, we had little idea then what the point of all that drama was about and that that "jump" could turn into a very neat life lesson for you. Good post! One day I think that I will jump! YOU could count for me.

Brooke said...

Brie, I was also there that day. I wasn't going to go. That was the last thing I was going to do. But you told me if you did it, I could do it too. So, secretly, I was hoping you (or other family members)wouldn't go. Problem is, everyone did it except for me, mom, and dad. How pathetic?

So I jumped too. I remember as I climbed and as I was standing on that ledge, I heard (amongst all the voices in my head telling me not to jump) all of the voices of our family cheering me on. And when I got hold of the trapeze everyone was so happy for me and so supportive.

That was a good rec therapy for our family.I never thought about it this way until now.Before, your illness we always used to put one another down and I always felt like no one cared about me personally or noticed what I was going through. If you want to sit and analzye this it would take forever, but since that time you jumped our family has "jumped" leaps and bounds in pulling together and actually looking at each other as a individual person
and loving them for who they are.
Thanks for inspiring me to follow you :)

Leaving The Disordered Life Behind said...

Hey gal. You encouraged me to start blogging again. Thanks chica! 'Hope you're having a beautiful weekend! Keep hanging in there!

brie said...

Yeah, Brookie, this is one of the best memories I have of the fam. Because it was different, and uniting, and we all just had...FUN. We should all go again sometime...