Column: Life with Logan

 At 6 years old, I took the ultimate leap of faith.

Somewhere deep inside my mind, I knew everything would be okay, but that slight assurance didn’t stop my heart from pounding a million mph as I advanced toward the dark, sinister building.

With each advancing step, I contemplated everything that could go wrong. I enjoyed roller coasters, but the tall “adult” roller coasters with suspenseful lifts, unimaginable heights and reckless twists scared me to oblivion. 

Inside the creepy building before me was an indoor roller coaster, an attraction balancing eerie scenery with wild twists and turns — something daunting for a smaller-than-average kindergartener. 

While the giant roller coasters outside were the scariest, the indoor attraction still heightened my emotions, almost to the point of turning around. Despite being indoors, this roller coaster still integrated steep segments. 

I waited in line for a long time, probably an hour. Finally, with my dad by my side, I slid into an open seat while an operator secured the bindings. 

The moment of truth was upon me. No turning back.

At first, everything was innocent. The trolley slowly rolled into a dark room where we greeted two electronic mannequins dressed as old people. They rocked back and forth and muttered something spooky, evidentially providing suspense for the participant. 

Odd ornaments, possibly slaughtered pigs, hung low from the ceiling. The trolley picked up pace, and I gripped the handlebars with every ounce of 6-year-old strength. The trolley dipped, causing even more speed.

“I want to get off,” I whimpered, immediately regretting my decision to embrace the beyond. 

Similar to sharp knives, guns and ocean waves, steep heights perfectly combine danger and beauty. Looking downward toward acres of valley may appease the eye, but edging too close could be deadly.

Despite my acrophobia (fear of heights), I have learned to cope. In fact, I love roller coasters now, because they provide a means to safely taunt the elevation, as if it were an external force constantly craving to steal my life.

During the summer of 2016, I received a camp counseling job at Camp Hydaway, a task requiring zip-line training. My instructor made it clear that mistakes atop the launch pad — 40-feet high — could result in devastating ramifications. Not something I wanted to hear.

The launch-point platform almost rivaled the surrounding treetops — only several yards beneath the topmost limbs. The scariest aspect of heights, in my opinion, is being eye-level with tall structures. It’s creepy to view a tree from its peak instead of the ground. The abnormality of the vantage point gives me goosebumps. 

During my freshman year at Liberty, I forced myself to rock climb at least once a week. I figured if I faced my fears head-on, I could gradually mitigate my acrophobia. 

Sometimes directly confronting your fears is the best way to navigate a problem. While fear is a necessary component to humanity’s survival (causing us to avoid dangerous conditions), it is also an indispensable part of everyday life. 

You cannot succeed in life without facing your fears. For example, that homework assignment you need to accomplish. It’s not laziness preventing you from finishing, it’s your fear of starting. 

Whenever you feel afraid to tackle life’s demanding challenges, take hope. And jump on board. 

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