As we came to the drop I braced back, bringing my feet together, white knuckling the handle pushed against the top of my thighs. I closed my eyes, feeling myself lifted up out of my seat and into the stars. It was my first time riding The Nitro, but it was one of my most fearless moments to date.
Meditation and roller coasters don’t sound like they go together, but in the midst of fear and anxiety I practiced quieting my mind and simply enjoying the ride (at 80 mph). When I felt comfortable, I opened my eyes and gazed into the purple night sky. Little glittering stars dotted the sky. As we turned a corner, I felt an incredible sense of calm. “You’re ok. It’ll be over before you know it and you’re going to want to go on again.” I closed my eyes again, no longer worried by the lifts and drops. I closed my eyes to enjoy the feeling of flying, of getting to safety without the comfort of sight.
We women of color we’re not taught to jump, to take a chance, to be carefree. We’re taught there’s too much at stake to risk. But the truth? There’s too much at stake NOT to risk– our value, our smarts, our creativity, our voices, our perspective. Being carefree doesn’t mean recklessness. Carefree means seeing what you have to offer and not caring what the critics think. (I ain’t sorry).
Life is a roller coaster. In those moments of fear, close your eyes and let the coaster take you for the ride. On the other side of fear is everything you want to be and do. As bumpy as the road will be, safety (& success) will be at the end– go get it.