Sunday, July 03, 2005

*tap, tap*....this thing on..?

Not quite one month since I posted. Do I have any readers left?

Done some things since I last wrote!

This weekend I went on the Year 6 weekend away to an outdoor activity centre. I did a HUUUUGE thing for me:

I did a zipwire. Now, one of the big things about me is I HATE heights and anything even vaguely extreme sportslike. Spiders - no problem. Wasps - bring 'em on. Snakes - so?? heights - oh my f***** God. When I was 13, I went to Paris with my parents and had to go up the Eiffel Tower with them because otherwise someone would have had to stay at the bottom with me. I experienced pure fear, I clung to the centre part at the top and kept my eyes shut the entire time.
The whole point of the weekend was to help the Year 6 to get ready to leave the school to go to secondary school by facing challenges - some of these are things like the zipwire and trapeze, others are intellectual such as IT simulation and there are also some team challenges. Also, for most of them it's thier first ever time away, so it's an exciting and sometimes traumatising time.

Anyhoooow, I was determined I would do something that challenged me. I did archery for the first ever time, but this wasn't scary or expecially fear facing. I really wanted to do the zipwire, but I was terrified. What I did was go to each groups session ( we had three groups of 11-12 children) and volunteered to attach them to thier harnesses to climb up. The climb was the most worrying thing to me: you had to climb a seven foot ladder to the tree and then climb up the tree using what can only be described as large iron staples as footholds. Once you got 40 feet up, you swung over to a small platform, where an instructor hooked you to another different harness and you stepped off and slid down a long line about 150 feet to the end of the run, where the other participants were waiting. I attached all the children to thier harnesses and watched them attempt it - some were like little gazelles, revelling in it and practically running up the tree and sliding down with glee, and then others not manage past the ladder and still others really conquer thier fears and make it despite being terrified. Also, being involved in a mundane task to do with it kind of desensitises it. HOWEVER, I did not like or trust the man at the top on the platform - he just did not do it for me at all, and I didn't think that he was particularly empathic to the children. I ended up not doing it.

I was very pissed off with myself that night - I felt like a wus, but my colleagues were so encouraging and supportive that I really determined that I would at least try the next morning with the last group. I don't really believe in the hocus pocus stuff, but I really tried to visualise myself doing it. So, this morning, I went down with the group - all the other teachers cam along too, but instead of harnessing the children in, I stayed with the ones at the end, and got into a harness and a helmet. Most of the group I was with did it fairly easily, although one girl could not even attempt the ladder and one boy reached the top of the ladder as his own personal challenge. The good news for me was that it was a different man, and he was someone that I much preferred.

I got to the bottom of the ladder and called to the man at the top that I was terrified and he had to be kind to me. And then I started to climb. I knew that I had to do it really quickly, because if I thought about it I would stop and come down, and I knew that for me I had to do it. I more or less sped up the climb, and I simply couldn't even think, but I was shaking and more or less hyperventilating all the way up, but I kept hearing such encouraging shouts like "Go on" and "you're three quarters of the way there". I got to the top and burst into tears on the platform, and I told the guy I couldn't do the zip, so he said, I'll harness you and then we'll talk about it. The other teachers at the bottom were being really supportive and laughing because I said I needed the Fire Brigade to come and get me, and then he asked me to hold onto the rope with both hands so he could do something... and pushed me off.

For one split second I felt sheer fear - and then the tension went into the rope and I was fine - I even enjoyed it a quite a bit although I couldn't let go of the follow rope until I had nearly stopped. I got off and I was okay with the children but when I got back to the other teachers I broke down totally. I am so proud of myself. I know I would never have done this five stone ago.

Alfie had his visit to school - it went really well - he was fine. Mummy wasn't.

I went to see U2 - it was a fabulous experience. Gail got last minute tickets and we went together which was fab. One live. Where The Streets Have No Name live. Vertigo live. Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own live. Boy live. Oh . My. God.

Got an interview for my promotion - 12th July. A presentation. Shit.

That was the Zoe news.


Dixie said...

Oh Zoe! You conquered a fear! I'm so very proud of you!!

Sally said...

Yay! You're back - missed you. Bloody hell woman on the zipwire - you brave brave girl just to climb the ladder. And to go back! I'm so proud of you. You felt the fear and faced it anyway.

You can do anything.

Presentation? Pah! Piece of piss for the high wire queen.

You're a star and I missed you blogging

Sal x

Sally said...

Just read that back and admired my own alliteration.....