There’s been a lot of things in my life which I have done, which can be seen as RISKY, I mean, personally, I don’t think the things I have done have been too bad but I have decided to spend some time thinking about the activities, the way I felt and how they made me feel. Each one was a risk but then, EVERYTHING one does is a risk, it’s all just a matter of parameters.
In 2013 I was going through a really dark period in my life, I’d split up with the man i’d fallen in love with, I was stuck in a job I hated, my anti depressant tablets weren’t helping and I’d reduced my therapist to tears more times than I care to mention. So, whilst on my way home one night from town, I passed a sign advertising helping the local homeless charity by raising funds Walking on Fire, now i’ll be honest, this has always fascinated me and I’ve wanted to do it for so many years, it was like being hit by a bolt of lightning, I was meant to do this! I signed up and started harassing people into giving me money. It wasn’t the easiest sell but I found that by telling people that “I was doing this mental thing so they didn’t have to” my total funding inched up and by the night of the event, I was ready and had nearly £200 for the charity.
My best friend came along with me, and i’d arranged that my parents and any other friends could come along to the hotel where the event was being held. I never expected for half a dozen of my friends to be there, cheering me on and it made me feel really special.
We had to go down for a pre-walkers briefing (health and safety and the like) and the guy running the evening talked us through a bit more about the walk itself, the background and more importantly the thing to focus on, which is that generally, we are stronger than our mind thinks and we are braver than our mind thinks. To prove his point, he asked for a volunteer to help him by holding a piece of wood for him to break an archery arrow with his throat. I had to be involved, this sounded amazing…..simple enough, get arrow, put point in your throat, and other end against the wall, then step forward…..you’d think that you’d end up as a kebab or part of the Darwin awards but no, your body is amazing, and stronger than you’d think. As soon as he did it, I asked if I could do that too! He saw how excited I was and said “sure” (part of me still thinks this was more exciting than the walk) but I did it and kept the arrow…..I still have it, it’s in my desk tidy at work and is something to always keep me reminded of how strong I can be, and not to let fear get in my way.
When we came out of the meeting, I was pumped. I mean, really really pumped. I honestly felt like I could do anything and wanted to just throw myself across the coals. Thankfully, Scott (the leader and the world record holder for fire walking ((500m – in one go, without stepping off fire)) set off across the flames first.
By the time it got to my turn, I was nervous but really pleased my dad had got there with his camera – he’s much more of a photographer than I am and I’m glad he’s always happy to be there and commemorate my stupidness!
Coal is a really slow conductor, hence the reason people can walk on it with no after affects, the first time I did it that evening it was 378 degrees and the second was 459 degrees C. It was (and still is, the best thing i’ve ever done and something I would seriously recommend to anyone).
The feeling of knowing you have done this and got through it without a scratch is quite weird. I can remember that I had planned to go to dinner with mum and dad and it’s the first time in my life, I can remember my mum saying as kindly as she could “maybe go home and chill out, you’re too excited” which I believe I was, the adrenaline rush was intense and as soon as i’d finished and got my certificate, I went and caught the bus home, thankfully catching my best friend up so I actually had an evening with her instead! – Not sure how she puts up with me, but then I never will know!
The above photo is one taken after my first colour run……5 ks running while people pelt you with paint dust! – This was so much fun to do, and for me, was the first real run I had done since my ACL reconstruction. I wanted to prove to myself that despite the risks, this was something I could do and enjoy at the same time!
My next level of crazy happened last year. I’d be dreaming about jumping out of a plane for years and my wonderful (and fellow crazy) father bought the jump for me as a gift so it meant any money I did raise would go straight to the charity. I chose Alzheimer’s as my cause (my favourite author was taken from us by this embuggarance) and i’m really chuffed to say that overall, my fundraising was over £800 which was stunning.
I woke up on the actual day to grey skies and rain so the jump had to be put off to a different date, but thankfully the British Summer actually happened and the day of the jump dawned bright and cloud free! My partner Stuart (the man who I was in love with and thought i’d lost earlier in the story) was a mess though, he lost his mum a couple of years back and has basically only got me now, he kept asking me not to die, and told me he couldn’t come and watch as was so scared. I understood and he gave me a massive hug and told me he loved me before I left the house, met my parents in Bournemouth then boarded the bus to Salisbury. I was buzzing and as time ticked by just wanted to get it done, I knew my appointment was at 11.00 so thought I would be jumping about lunchtime, as it was, I got there, got weighed (never a fun time) and had the briefing but ended up having to wait until the last jump of the day (about 5pm). My parents had both come along and as a surprise my mum had paid for a photo package to be included in the jump, now, i’ll be honest I wasn’t really interested in photos of me but I was really blown away she bought them for me…..at least this way I now have a video of the jump and photos I can always go back to (and weirdly, despite the fact that they have me in them, I quite like them and have spent a long time looking through them!!).
My jump partner was a guy called Nick, he was Kiwi (I think) but each of the instructors was not from the UK and when I asked why, was told “this lot are mental” which I would say was accurate! We got kitted up and walked the short distance to the plane. I was so excited and was really chuffed that as we were the last ones in, we were the first ones out so I got to watch the ground disappear (best question of the day though “do you know why I took this job?……..it’s so I don’t die alone!”), the door be slid open and then the camera men/safety guys leap out in all kinds of weird and wonderful ways. The one image that sticks in my head from that is watching someone flipped on their back, dropping through clouds giving the plane the finger, my thoughts at that point were “this is the best job in the world”. Time came to sit on the plane lip, preparing for the jump, I was scared but so pumped…..I had total confidence in the people with me and couldn’t wait to get airborne. The drop was insane, freefalling for about 30 seconds and being able to scream at the top of my lungs knowing there was no one who could hear me, then the joy as the chute opened and we gently floated down to earth, we did some flicks and tricks and when I was allowed to fly myself I flew us through a cloud……yes I know that’s weird but I really wanted to see what a cloud felt like. I’ve never been so excited by anything and the audio from the video is basically me saying “woah/wow/this is awesome/youre so lucky/thankyou for this”. The scariest bit was when Nick loosened the main strap which was keeping us attached, I dropped like an inch away from him but it felt like he had completely unhitched me and that made my entire body freeze and tense. But as it was, i’m still here so obviously I didn’t fall haha!
When we landed I felt a huge wave of euphoria, not only was it a smooth jump, the landing was mentally easy and all I wanted to do was get back in the plane and do the whole thing again…….
This is one of the photo’s from the jump, I think you can see from my expression (and pinprick pupils) that i’m having a blast. I do wish that the photos had been more about the view etc as opposed to my face but hey, what’re you gonna do?
So, there you have it, a little story about the stupid/crazy/risky/fun things I have done……enjoyed the read? got a similar story to tell? well why not drop me a line either way, would love to get feedback and also if anyone’s got any suggestions as to what should be my next epic adventure i’d love to hear them….plus, you might give me ideas 😉
Thankyou for reading and have a wonderful rest of your day!