If you’re like me and your life is often ruled by anxiety, you’ll find that it’s much easier to say no to uncertainty than give in to a good time.
Unfortunately, I have learned this from years of cancelled plans and unbelievable restraint.
Last week, as I stared at a wall of rushing water I thought there would be no way I would ever make it to the top. And I almost took advantage of two exit spots because HOW FUCKING TALL IS THIS THING ANYWAY and also it’s clearly a fluke that I haven’t died yet so why take any chances.
Like so many other things in life, I almost missed out on what might fall in my life’s top three bucket list adventures–my climb up Dunn’s River Falls in Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
But let me start at the beginning.
It had already been a long day of sunshine and walking. Also, I was suffering from a terrible neck burn (the fuck? Only me, you guys, I swear). Don’t believe me? Evidence #1: The World’s Most Unflattering Photo Ever Taken. Bryan doesn’t like this photo. I imagine it’s because he’s AGAIN not smiling. At least I’m hamming it up for the camera as always.
But I digress. It was a beautiful, sunny day in Jamaica and we had already been on two shopping stops, had briefly visited a fern gully, and toured a gorgeous botanic garden called Konoko Falls.
Next up was the reason we had joined the Ocho Rios Highlights bus tour in the first place: a stop at Dunn’s River. I guess I didn’t really know what to expect. I thought we would just kumbaya up the falls, holding hands, and possibly singing. I didn’t realize the ascent would take about an hour and that there were areas 4 feet deep and that I’d get SOAKED. Bryan pushed my tush up steep steps to reach the top. Despite my fear, I couldn’t help but laugh at the absurdity of this and there were a few moments when I thought I’d piss myself.
If a girl pees herself in a waterfall, does anyone notice?
For a solid half hour of our climb, I was petrified. Of what I’m not entirely certain. Slipping. Cracking my head open. Twisting an ankle and making a fool of myself. I cursed myself for not taking an Ativan before we got started and tried unsuccessfully to calm my nerves as I clung to the rocks and the innocent bystanders in my wake (I maybe also nearly took out a 50-year-old man at one point).
But then something happened. I started to relax and really, REALLY enjoyed the experience. I was stepping way outside my comfort zone and I was doing okay! I was breathing, I was alive, and more importantly, I had come so far. Literally. Figuratively.
That’s a funny thing about anxiety, isn’t it? Sometimes we lack the ability to reason with ourselves in moments of sheer panic. But for once, I didn’t let fear ruin my experience and it was an incredible breakthrough moment for me.
Have you climbed Dunn’s River Falls, and was it as terrifying to you as it was for me, or am I the only wussy here?
PS: photo above is NOT of Dunn’s River (taken at Konoko Falls). I didn’t want to ruin my camera (not waterproof) and couldn’t find a good, royalty-free image of it.