Metal chains tugged at my wrists pulling me backward. I pushed myself forward, fighting so hard not to end up in the darkness of a room that held four concrete walls filled with empty air that screamed deprivation.
Often times, I have allowed fear to hold me prisoner without trying to escape, afraid of the death sentence that would follow. Fear possessed a chain that yanked me back whenever I attempted to step into the land of the uncomfortable. It was an odd fear, but for a while I realized I needed to break free. I couldn’t let it stop me from the adventures I wanted to experience.
I received a letter while I was trying to fight my way out of my cold, dark cell. It said I could go on an exhilarating adventure with a student ambassador program. One of the activities to experience would be rappelling down a castle wall. The castle was in Assisi, Italy and was believed to be majestic. My body refused, but my heart sought after the opportunity. I couldn’t refuse my heart’s desire, excited to see the mysteries of Europe and to finally get away from the despicable fear that haunted me everywhere I went. After a long process of preparation with the other students going on the trip, we finally took off to Italy.
The castle was ancient and magnificent. The tower we would rappel off of was made of four vast walls of limestone, with wooden steps in the center of the tower spiraling to the top. As I marched up each step with the group of people I was with, I was taking a step closer to the door of the room I was trapped in.
I felt my stomach churn and dizziness as my world spun in circles due to the 300 foot drop right below me. The trees looked liked dark green dots of paint splattered on a beige canvas. I felt the dry, hot air of Italy fill my lungs with exhaustion and determination. I gripped the navy blue rope, my knuckles turning white. “Now lean back and push off the wall,” the blonde woman said in a sweet, innocent voice. As I did what I was told, my heart started beating faster than a hummingbird’s wings in full flight. I focused all my energy on remaining calm as I pushed my trembling feet against the wall and slowly started the descent. A burst of happiness arose in my chest as I looked around and saw the beautiful nature that surrounded me. I could see the bright small towns and the distant mountains that seemed level with me. Reaching the dry, grass covered ground, I smiled contently to myself for I had accomplished something that seemed impossible to me earlier—I had escaped the prison of fear.
Breaking the chains of fear that had choked my wrists felt satisfying and relieving. I was able to have the thrill of a lifetime and conquer fear. Now heights don’t scare me anymore, and every day I know that I have the ability to be free and to enjoy life. I truly believe that fear is something anyone can overcome, and that if we fight hard enough, we can break the mental chains and allow ourselves the freedom we deserve—the freedom to do anything. Fear can’t hold me back. This I believe.