Jump, even if it sucks.

by FieryTree on July 8, 2014 · 8 comments

Post image for Jump, even if it sucks.

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My tale of bravery (one whole tablespoon) –

Sunday found us at a gorgeous quarry in Chiang Mai, with red ridges rising out of deep teal water. Where I was initially certain that I was absolutely not going to jump in, I soon found myself plunging in…and it sucked.

I’d caught my first sight of the quarry from the road and my jaw dropped, it was enormous. My polarized sunglasses enhanced the gorgeous colors and I was very excited to go down and capture it with my camera.

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“I’m flying”, she said.

We walked down to a group of very sunburned farangs (Westerners) taking turns jumping off the steep ledge. My eyes followed their quick drop to watch them swim to an area that wasn’t a sheer cliff. From there, a bit of rock climbing was necessary, without the help of any rope, to return to the ledge.

I was instantly happy to know that there was no freaking way I was jumping. I’d brought no swimming suit, I had my SLR camera and I am not a thrill-seeker, darn it! I also knew that James would be making the leap.

And soon he was out of his shirt, handing me his wallet, cell phone, and the most important scooter keys. He approached the ledge and you could see him fighting his common sense. It is a steep drop of at least 15 feet and a challenge to even return to the ledge.

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To the chanting of “Go! Go!”

I started to video and the Thai boys around us started chanting ‘Go! ‘Go!’ and he did! He was off the cliff and moments later in the water, looking up, no worst for the jump. He leisurely swam to the area to begin his climb out and I instigated another farang throwing himself off the ledge.

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View of the jump in and where you climb out.

Soon James was beside me and we spend time exploring.

The intense sun continued to pound my skull and I took a step down the slippery slope – “I want to put my feet in the water”.

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What could go wrong?

The water apparently leads to bad decisions for soon I’d decided I’d enjoy being in the water and found myself doing a small jump, having watched others jump in and disappear for long moments.

The water was cool and seeped quickly into my brain for I heard myself saying I would jump off the ledge too. Really?

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The far incline is where we swam, the middle ledge is where you jump.

I knew I didn’t want to have to try the rock climbing also, so decide I would instead swim back to where we were. I didn’t want to swim with my shoes so I walked barefoot, picking my way gingerly through 90 gazillion rocks and pebbles.

I reached the jumping point, look down and all confidence vanished. There were a few others around and I started talking to them, asking them stupid questions “jump straight?”, “jump here?”, stalling.

I realized that unless I jumped I would never do it, which also sounded fine, but I thought of how silly it looked when people stood around debating, so finally I forced myself to do it.

But during this time of debate, the memory of me as a kid attempting a backflip off the high dive had resurfaced. I’d landed on my back, the air slapped out of me, truly scared, only to repeat it years later. Each time I’d looked around, my face stricken in pain and only odd looks were returned to me.

I didn’t want to do that YET again but an idea had formed that my head was going to whip back and I’d get hurt. So while I don’t remember doing this, in photos, I’m holding my head with my left arm and my nose with my right. This allows me to get hurt, of course.

I jumped and immediately lost hold of my nose enabling what felt like a gallon of water to rush forcefully into my sinuses. I plunged and kept falling for what felt like too long and then started to kick to the top. I emerged, ears hurting with that same stupid look of pain plastered on my face. Dammit. I called up, “That is not how you do it” and again, just looks were returned.

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The long swim back. Middle dot is me.

I swam across to James and my ear drums felt like they’d taken a beaten. A low-level freak-out was in the works as I questioned what was in the water now circling my brain and would I once again be visiting the hospital due to an ear infection (punctured ear drum, or brain-eating bacteria).

By tiny degrees, the pressure lessened and my fear followed at a slower percentage.

As the thunder echoes in the distance, we eventually headed out, the sky dark with rain clouds.

Once home, it took a few hours for the pressure in my ears to resolve itself (hair dryer on low – thanks Internet! and Tylenol making the difference.) I was left wondering if it was worth it. I was in pain for hours so I would not rate it a great experience but it would not be possible to repeat it again. If I jump again you better believe I would have both hands on my nose and, in theory, I am a little stronger mentally for having pushed myself to jump.

I am constantly grateful for these little nudges out of my comfort zone. “Oh, I’m in Thailand, sure, jumping in a quarry sounds good.” “Oh I’m in Japan, sure, let’s go to a restaurant alone.” They are so minor and yet each is a tiny stepping stone making me a bit stronger.

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Looking down.

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Top of the world! (The dry world.)

The dramatic event –
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(Because in my world “blurb” is an underwater sound.)

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Connect with me in the comments –

What jumps from your comfort zone have you taken lately?

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Louise July 8, 2014 at 7:49 pm

Very brave! Good for you!

I learned long ago that you have to separate decisions from outcomes. You had a bad outcome from a good decision. I think taking the plunge, that moment when you said, “Yes!” was important to you and your growth. The fact that you landed funny and hurt yourself does not change the importance of that “Yes!”

I’m sorry your nose and ears suffered, though. Sounds really painful. And it is perfectly reasonable to say, “I’m not going to jump off a cliff again because it hurts. I’m not afraid of the jump, I’m just reasonable about not putting my body into a painful situation.” Speaking for myself, we brave, yet slightly clumsy ladies, have to draw the line somewhere. 🙂

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2 FieryTree July 9, 2014 at 2:33 pm

Thank you Louise and great to hear from you!

You make a great point about separating decisions and outcomes, I still (frequently) get hung up on that and sometimes I do not say ‘yes’. Thank you for the reminder!

Where I will probably not be rushing back to jump again, I’m glad I didn’t chicken out. (Although, I still don’t regret not holding the scorpion as James though I might, in Penang. :D)

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3 Will S July 9, 2014 at 3:19 am

“Just say no” – Mrs. Nixon

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4 FieryTree July 9, 2014 at 2:34 pm

Can you get Person B to translate this comment please? 😀

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5 Karen July 12, 2014 at 10:47 pm

Maria,

You are so brave to jump into the unknown. Things like this are for the young, for sure! I once went white water rafting on a six hour adventure in a one man little boat over 3, 4, and 5 level rapids. I was much younger (in my early 40’s). I was scared to death more than once, and the next day I could hardly move……but, it was well worth it, and so out of my comfort zone. Good for you in having the courage to go for it!!!

Karen

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6 Christine Glazener July 15, 2014 at 8:28 am

July14th, 2014
Maria,
Thank you for taking us there with you through pictures. My grand-daughter reads your adventures with me.She is 9 years old. This is so cool. Thanks!
Christine Glazener

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7 FieryTree July 15, 2014 at 4:13 pm

I’m glad you are both enjoying the images! This was a particularly beautiful place.
Thanks for reading!

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8 FieryTree July 15, 2014 at 4:11 pm

That sounds like an exciting trip Karen! The last time I went water rafting was actually in Thailand and first set or rapids I was out of the boat. 🙂

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