Archive for July 22nd, 2006

Final Thoughts

I don’t rightly know if I am capable of learning anything else.  So I’m going to the ATL tonight for some much needed human interact with my favorite Terrace people. 

Last night I had a good thought.  When I was in high school, I guess I was either a sophomore or a junior – I think it was in between my sophomore and junior year actually – I spent a couple of days up at Athens Y Camp.  My mom was the camp nurse up at Y camp when I was younger and I spent at least two weeks at camp every summer from when I was 8 till I was 13.  It is honestly one of my most favorite places on earth.  LOVE IT.  My dad went to camp from when he was 7 or 8 until summer after his second year of law school.  He spent all summer there – even when he was little.  My grandparents would put him on a bus in Valdosta (at least 6 hours away) and send him to Tallulah Falls.  Okay – I’m getting off topic – you get the picture – very important place – love it. 

So, I guess I was 16 at the time of this story.  Oh, and Y camp is an all boys camp, there is a girls camp next door now, but there wasn’t then.    Okay, this one particular day, when I was 16, I was hanging around the new ropes course, and my friend Mcginnis, who was running the course, let me participate.  Having been asked if I wanted to participate in a high ropes course, I never would have said no.  Because it would have appeared as though I was afraid.  And they would have teased me and given me a hard time.  I knew all of this ahead of time, so I didn’t even have a chance to be afraid.  The "challenge" I guess you would call it – was the telephone pole that you climb to the top of, then stand up on top of the pole, and jump off and grab the trapeze. 

I start climbing the telephone pole.  I’m halfway up the pole before I even have a chance to realize that this might not be something I really want to do.  Down at the bottom are a dozen 12 and 13 year old boys and a handful of leaders my age and older.   So I’m pretty committed.  But my knees are starting to shake and my palms are sweating.  I stare at the rope of the belay that Mcginnis is taking care of on the ground, and I think about the fact that I’m not actually going to fall, and I keep climbing. 

Before I know it – I’m at the very top of the pole.  And I don’t know what to do.  The spikes have stopped, and I can’t get from the last spike to the top of the pole.  I yell down – "What am I suppose to hold on to?"


Me:  "Okay, then I don’t think I can do this."

Mcginnis: "Yes you can!"

Me:  "Nope, no I can’t – I can’t pull myself up and stand straight on this last set of spikes and then step to the top of this telephone pole if I have nothing to hold onto.  I’ve already looked down.  The pole isn’t big enough.  My feet are too big.  I’m too high in the air.  The pole isn’t steady enough.  I can feel it swaying.  I can’t do it."

Mcginnis:  "Charlsie, this is a ropes course.  It is designed to be challenging, but it is also designed so that you will be able to do it.  I promise you that it is doable.  It was especially made in a way that would allow you to succeed."

Me:  "Are you sure?"  (because, he really did have a point.  Obviously I’m not the first person to have ever tried to climb to the top of this pole and stand on top of it and jump off.  And if other people could do it, why was I so paralyzed?  I trusted my belay, now I just needed to learn to trust the system, and myself.)

Mcginnis:  "Yes, I promise, now stand on top of that telephone pole.  And don’t hold the rope."

And I’m happy to say that I did just that.  I resisted the strong temptation to hold on to the belay rope, I placed one foot on top of the pole, and then the other and, with the confidence that I was suppose to be able to, I stood up straight, jumped off, and caught the trapeze.  Of course, I hyper extended my recently healed broken elbow when I grabbed the trapeze, but that is neither here nor there. 

So that is my bar analogy.  I was half way up the pole before I even thought hard enough to be scared.  I panicked.  I kept going.  I panicked again at the very end when I was much higher in the air and the last step of the process seemed to be the scariest.  So much higher to fall, so much more invested.  That is where I am right now.  But I’m going to rely on the fact that I’m not the first person to take the bar.  I’m not the first person to feel unprepared, inadequate, ill suited, or overwhelmed.  90% of first time bar testers that go to Georgia schools pass the Georgia bar.  And granted, I don’t want to be in the other 10%, I’ve been studying all summer, I took the courses, and I’ve tried.  My try might be a lot different than everyone else’s try, but I can’t help that.  I have taken it seriously.  And now I just want it to be over. 

I love you all for being so supportive, it means the world to me.   I can’t wait for my summer to actually start – right when everyone else’s summer is winding down.  YAY!

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