You might wonder what would make someone take a trapeze class. I signed up because of a fear of heights that had steadily increased over the last 10 years. As a kid I was never scared of heights, but after I had my children the fear emerged. What motivated me to face this fear, was an experience while on vacation last spring in California. At Knott’s Berry Farm I turned down the opportunity to ride the big old wooden roller coaster with my family. While they rode the ride, I sat on the bench looking at the height of the tracks and kicking myself for not being there with my family. It was time to take action, and confront this fear head-on.
I bought a Groupon for trapeze class for my husband and I at the Trapeze School of New York in Boston. I thought it would be a fun”date” for us and a chance for me to face the fear with my husband at my side. Our 1st class was on a Friday morning. We were ready to have fun but inside I was full of trepidation. What had I gotten myself into?
To get to the trapeze you walk up 2 flights of stairs onto a platform where an instructor greets you. From the platform you can see all around the lobby of the space the school is located within, including the top of the a ice cream store and jellybean store. When it’s your turn, the instructor clips your safety belt onto lines that are held by an instructor on the ground, then takes hold of your safety belt from behind. You walk to the edge of the platform, hang your toes over the edge and wait for instructions. With one hand, you hold onto scaffolding at your side, while reaching the other arm out to take hold of the trapeze. The instructor then directs you to let go of the scaffolding and put your 2nd hand on the trapeze, then instructs you to get ready, which means you bend your knees, followed by ”hep,” which is your signal to leap into the air as you hang from the trapeze.
In my first 2 classes it took all of my courage to let go of that scaffolding. In my mind I knew I would be okay, I had watched other students successfully fly, but there was a fear inside me, an irrational fear that made it very difficult for me to let go and jump. I almost walked off, giving into the fear. The instructors were understanding, supportive and encouraged me to keep trying. I finally let go of the scaffolding and had the bar in my two hands. At the end of the second class an instructor said, “come back in one week, doing this again sooner will help you conquer the fear.” So I did. I returned in one week, still experiencing nerves before class and on my 1st few swings, but enjoyment and thrill began to permeate the experience. In that class I had my first successful catch from a knee-hang. The feeling was indescribable. What I can say is, my body was filled with the the thrill of success as I experienced an incredible adrenaline rush from head to toe. I took a chance. I broke down a barrier!
By facing my fear of heights, I have gained a new level of confidence not only in trapeze but in life. I take more chances each day, enjoy the moments and look forward to opportunities to grow by taking more chances.