Rappelling Down 38 Stories

rappelling

I rappelled down 38 stories this past weekend through fundraising for Make-A-Wish. It was by far the scariest thing I have ever done. I cried when I was literally hanging on top of The W Hotel by my toes. I have done a lot of scary things in my life but don’t remember being reduced to tears. As I was crying and stalling, I heard my friends on the ground cheer me by name. Hearing my friends cheer me for the first time finally motivated me to take the first few steps.

rappelling
photo by Thomas

I inched down slowly and clumsily. I’ve heard the term “spaghetti legs” a few times from unique sources describing my ungracefulness. I was instructed to descend until my butt touched the ground. After the volunteers unhooked the ropes from me, they asked me to stand up. That was when I realized I couldn’t without help. This was the second time in my life where I felt pins and needles throughout my entire body and all my extremities from the adrenaline and nerves. (The first time was when I heard upsetting news during my first experience with heartbreak.)

The Make-A-Wish volunteers hoisted me up on my feet when it was clear that I needed help. I numbly smiled the biggest smile I could muster to my excited friends waving at me. The volunteers told them I had to return my gear and get my belongings before I could join them.

After returning my gear and retrieving my belongings, I checked my phone. I received so many texts of encouragement from those who couldn’t watch in person. I was stunned by how big of a deal my loved ones were making this to be. I didn’t quite feel like I owned this challenge. I tried to tame my helmet hair before heading out. I was to go on a winery tour for the rest of the day for my friends’ surprise birthday party and my freshly washed hair was now damp with sweat.

Still in a daze, I walked out and was greeted by a neon group of smiling faces, signs, and silly string. Some of my closest friends made it and were meeting each other for the first time. Treavor met my best friend from high school. My best friend from high school met Anita. Thomas was no longer there but he got to meet some of my Austin friends. I felt so loved and lucky and yes, a little undeserving.

The thing is, I often downplay my accomplishments. I was hard on myself for being so scared and not enjoying it. The only enjoyable part for me was being done. I also thought it wasn’t that big of a deal. A lot of people rappel down buildings. No one cares. It isn’t that special. But almost a week later, my friends are patting me on the back still and just today Kim tagged me on a Facebook status bragging about me. I’m seeing myself reflected through their proud eyes and am finally reveling in this feat. They are patting my back not only because they’re sweet and loving, but because I rappelled down 38 stories!

I’ve walked by The W Hotel twice since rappelling this Saturday and each time, I looked up and thought, I rappelled down that. Just as I don’t think I could have made it down if I hadn’t heard my friends’ cheers, I don’t think I could have been proud of myself had I not got a glimpse of my reflection through their eyes.

It’s amazing what you can do if you surround yourself with people who believe in you.

  • This is a HUGE accomplishment, Linda. Conquering your fear,
    raising money for an awesome charity, and seeing how dearly you are loved by
    everyone! This is something I have always, always wanted to do and I am so
    proud of your for digging in and doing it, even if you were scared the entire
    time. You rock, lady! :)

  • Anita Cheung

    You did it! I’m sure if you had cried long and hard enough, they would have let you back over the edge, but instead, you decided to take step after step down. So proud of you! And your friends’ are also all connected by one common factor – you. It says a lot about who you are as a person and friend to be surrounded by people who love you.

  • So proud of your accomplishment! :-) You did great, and now I’m like..why isn’t there a rappelling fundraiser out here for me to add to my list?

  • that’s awesome! it takes a lot of courage and trust to let yourself go in just a harness and rope off the side of anything. i’m really happy for you!

  • That is SO COOL. You are braver than I am for sure!

  • You are so loved! You’re also a total badass. I could never do what you did!

  • k

    I am endlessly impressed by and proud of you. We applaud each other for getting out of bed some mornings or putting $20 into savings or getting somewhere without using gps, so of course throwing yourself off a building is worthy of a bit of praise, you silly girl. I’m happy to be your mirror. Use me more.

  • Everybody I tell is like “Whoa! I bet that was crazy.” So yeah, it was a big deal.

  • MJ

    “It’s amazing what you can do if you surround yourself with people who believe in you.”

    Like. Like. Like.

  • You are amazing!

  • This is absolutely crazy, I was kind of teary just reading about your experience! So proud of you for facing your fears and totally killing it. You GO girl!

  • Wendy

    I think it’s pretty awesome and badass what you did!

  • lisasyarns

    Holy crap. You SHOULD be proud of yourself. That is a big freaking deal and would have scared me to tears as well! I am glad that you had a good group of friends there to support you and to remind that what you did IS a big deal!

  • Mary Helen

    That is amazing! And I think you get extra props for doing it even when you were scared. Facing fear takes serious guts. No wonder so many people are proud of you!

  • That first photo…OMG!!!! You definitely can’t downplay this accomplishment! Heights are my biggest fear so I’m feeling butterflies just looking at your pictures. I am so, so proud of you! KICKIN ASS, girl.

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  • Enrique Gomez

    Very awesome accomplishment! At least you didn’t go possum! Or did you? Ha! Keep it weird!