Living On the Edge

I live for the moment when I drop into lukewarm water, filled with water snakes, permeated with trout, and traced with yellow pollen. Dangerous? Yes — but it radiates thrill. I have always been the girl afraid of pretty much everything– sharks, the color red, and even ladybugs. However, there is not a moment in my life that compares to jumping off cliffs in my favorite place on this Earth: Pinecrest. The granite rocks, lined with pine trees growing from crevices, range anywhere from ten to forty feet high. I usually jump off the rocks around twenty five feet, though the rocks seem to get taller every time I talk about them.

The water is refreshing after hiking around half the lake to get to the “good” rocks in ninety degree weather, but the adrenaline rush is the best part. It all starts with the gut-wrenching decision to even jump off, then the decision of when to jump. I have to admit, usually I am never the first one to jump, but when I do, I will never stop jumping. The moment I crave the whole year, while I am taking finals in school, at the movie theaters, or in line at Chipotle, is when I decide to let go of all fear, all anxiety, and jump. It is the millisecond when my foot involuntarily moves forward, and I plunge downward, the air rushing through every strand of hair, every finger, and every eyelash until I smack the water. The initial landing is never fun; most of the time my hands are red, even cracked, from striking the surface (though all experienced jumpers know never to pencil dive and feel the mossy bottom of the lake).

Hundreds of bubbles rise around me and I frantically force myself to the surface, alive. Then, I repeat the process, each time getting more excited, and feeling more adventurous to jump off the taller rocks.

You can’t control fear; you can only control your reaction to it. Every day, students are terrified from the horrors in the world, terrified for tests, and terrified of what “could” happen. We witness situations on TV like Charlie Hebdo and Sandy Hook, and some of us live with all of the “ifs.” After Sandy Hook we all went  to school and thought about all of the bad things that could happen to us that day. English teachers and journalists question their jobs and the danger that lies within them every day, even though they are simply embracing freedom of speech. It may be hard, even cliché, to just let go and live for fear instead of living out of fear. Next time you worry, just try jumping from your fear, or even embracing it, and the results will be worth it. Hopefully.

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