Dear Ivan (#2): Facing Your Fears & Pushing Through

Dear Ivan,

It’s no secret that I’m afraid of heights — I truly am. But I wasn’t expecting such a great outcome when we decided to go to Elephant Mountain in Taipei. I want to climb tress and rocks without having my fear of heights get in the way. On the Mountain, I attempted to climb a small rock, but it was still too high from me. So I backed out. You effortlessly climbed it, though, and I thought “How come he can do it, but not me? We’re no different.”

I asked you to show me how you did it. You did. In fear, I followed. During the climb, I froze. I wasn’t even that high. I stood there for about 10 minutes, just getting used to my position. I could’ve let go, but I didn’t. Eventually, I slowly made it up. I repeated this several times over, and within the hour, I laughed at myself for being scared for nothing. I was also proud to have conquered a big feat, for me.

However, I did let it go to my head. I looked at another rock from afar and said “That one! Easy.” As I approached, I was shocked. I gave a similar expression as Hannes from Attack on Titan in episode 1, if you recall.

Before I could back away, the Taiwanese guys on the top encouraged me to climb up. They pointed to an easier way to begin the ascend. As I began, I froze again. This time, I had a lot of bystanders who wanted to see if I can do it. Things didn’t get better when you decided to climb the rock from the opposite end; now I really had to make it to the top.

And I was scared. But I was more scared of giving up. While it may sound extreme, it felt reminiscent to a dream I had of being on top of a skyscraper and having to go down. I climbed the rock extremely slowly, and I’m sure I saw a snail pass me, but after 20 minutes I made it to the top. The guys rooted for me, the bystanders were at awe, and I felt extremely accomplished.

The following day, I did it again. Though, I did feel a difference. I wasn’t as confident, had no one to encourage me and didn’t know anyone. It was just my fear of heights and I, in which the former usually prevails. It didn’t this time, however, but it was much more difficult.

I learned two lessons from this. One: it proved to me that it’s extremely important to surround myself with individuals who’ve already accomplished what I want, as it will gradually rub off on me — as it did that night. Two: I may not always have the support or encouragement to push me through, but I need to internally create that push for myself or risk standing by, just waiting as things goes by. These were two great lessons to actually experience and look back on, rather than simply know about them.

As mentioned in my first letter, I asked you lots of questions in regards to hitchhiking and urban camping, and you provided great insights. But we’re not on the same travel journey, so you can’t assist in showing me how to travel in that way. If I choose to do it, I need to be ready to not only tackle the adventure but do it without any guidance if need be. Because the support and encouragement is not always going to be there to push me through, I have to internally create that push or risk letting time go by and stand by waiting. Of course, this can apply to many aspects as well. And so, I found that extremely valuable to notice and appreciate it.

Until next time my friend,

Lindo Korchi

[Featured image credit: kansasphoto]