Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I'm not afraid of heights

Remember the first day of school? It was a momentous thing. I was four and a half, dressed up in my best denim suit which matched my brother’s, and wearing remarkable tan-coloured semi-platform shoes. It was the 70’s. My friend from up the road came and took part in what was to become an annual tradition, the taking of photos of new haircuts and feet about to get blisters after the summer holidays of running through grass barefoot. It wasn’t a bad day, and I was allowed to take my teddy; he helped. But I never got over that tension of starting something new.

It came back throughout school, especially since we moved quite a bit, and also when we emigrated from the UK to South Africa in 1981. A new country. The feeling of being out of your depth is both tantalising and terrifying- you have no frame of reference other than what you have already experienced, and sometimes it isn’t enough. It happened with first girlfriends and job interviews. It happened with first TV interviews and radio spots. It happened with travelling and parenthood.

There’s part of me that remains a small boy squinting into the sun, the camera trying to capture a moment in time. I stand there with my school satchel, hoping that the presence of Teddy Edward will somehow bring comfort, and ease the distress of shifting from one environment to the next. I’m that kid. The one about to meet new friends, and discover the esoteric wonders of writing and learning. It’s always been worth it in the end. The first step, but I realise too, that I’m not afraid of heights.
I’m afraid of plummeting*.
*I had to go and do a post-post google- two other sites with similar phrases. But not ones I've seen before. So kiss my ass, other sites :-)


  1. Dude. All the juice and flavour of life is in the plummeting.
    It's ok. Just learn to fly. Y'know, hurl yourself at the ground. And keep missing...:))

  2. @Andre Thanks for the helpful advice. I guess its true- the landing part is worse than the falling. *takes the leap*

  3. 'Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you learn how to fly' - Neil Gaiman.
    I guess what he's really saying is 'Cowabunga', dude.

  4. I always heard that a fear of heights was actually a fear that one would be compelled to throw oneself off the precipice. Which seems crazy, and which also seems untrue when one considers that one (I) am afraid even when actively lowering myself down from the edge of the (not-quite-10'-high) roof onto the waiting ladder.

    This is going nowhere. I can't believe your old blog just up and disappeared and I can't believe it took me so long to find the new one. Glad I did, though.

  5. @angel: I'm leaping!
    @TBFKAMP: What Snoopy said...
    @Briane P: Yeah- I lost the feeds, and with it my favourite bloggers- such as yours. ((group hug)) What you say is true- I am kind irrationally afraid that I'll jump. Which is fine in a metaphorical challenge, but not off a ninth storey fire escape.


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