I don't have any phobia-ish fears like of heights, bugs, beards (I only included this paragraph so I could list beards. I only listed beards because I know the word pogonophobia).
but today I felt very real, very visceral apprehension. not only that, but I had trouble working through it for a while.
one of the reasons that I started doing gymnasticy things again was to regain the ability to do one specific trick. a standing back flip (you stand still, wave your hands somewhat madly, and jump and do a backwards somersault in the air and land on your feet). I hadn't done one in a LONG TIME.
after leaning more towards the fun of trampoline rather than the seriousness of tumbling in my class for quite some time, last week I decided I was going to start working at my desired trick.
I started out on a trampoline. I would do backflips with less and less bouncing before-hand. eventually I was just standing there on the trampoline before doing the flip. that wasn't scary.
then I moved to a FastTrack (not to be confused with kazaa, grokster, et al). you know those circular jogging trampolines about 3 feet in diameter? a FastTrack is about as bouncy as one of those. that was a little bit scary at first, but not much and not for long.
then I moved to the floor - with a mat and a spot. again, that wasn't very scary and again, not for long.
doing it on the floor with the mat, with no spot was scary. but I overcame that pretty quickly.
I did the same routine at class last night.
then today came the scary part. for some reason, I decided it would be a good idea to do a standing back flip in my front lawn today. nobody was around. I was wearing shoes (it makes you heavier - I swear), the ground was hard. and the feeling of landing on my head was there.
I stood on my front lawn for about 20 minutes before actually trying it. many, many times I would start the process. the mental count to 3. the arm swing. then the self-preservation would kick in and I'd stop short.
sort of like the feeling of standing on a high-diving board overlooking the pool. you start to go, your body has every intention of going, you think that this time you're really going to go, but at the last second you stop. that change from go to stop is scary. the part of you that made you stop says something like "do you realize what you almost just did? aren't you glad I'm here?"
several times, I almost called sour grapes and decided I didn't really want to do the stupid trick anyway. that I'd go back to class one more time and do it with a spot and THEN I'd be ok to do it on my own. that I wasn't really giving in to fear - it was rational self-preservation.
I harkened back to the wise words of mr. miyagi in an otherwise unnoteworthy karate kid III, "daniel-san! it okay lose to opponent, must not lose to fear!" now, in this particular case I disagree on the technicality that as it applies here, "lose to opponent" means landing on my head and possibly breaking my neck. but overall I agree about not giving in to fear.
ultimately, I did it. after numerous feints, stalls, and "1,2,wait"s... after leaving some serious foot impressions on the lawn... after mr miyagi on one shoulder defeated wembly fraggle on the other, I did it.
an infant in a stroller cheered for me. his mother told me that he was going to do that too some day, but that he was going to learn to walk first.
then I did it over and over. the first 5 or so after the first one still took some psyching up. they still had some "1,2,wait" action. but after that, I became confident and comfortable. I won.
I was a few minutes late for photography class, but it was well worth it.
check this bad-ass video of me "doing it"