A few weeks ago my boss called me into his office to ask whether I would be interested in representing our firm at a fundraiser for Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee. I of course was happy to take part, especially once I learned that it happened to be their annual Over The Edge event in which the participants rappel off of the Omni in downtown Nashville.
I have discussed over and over and over and over that I am afraid of heights. However, I have also discussed my quest to overcome that fear by seeking out situations that make me second guess myself. So far, so good. If flying lessons turned my dread of air travel into love, then eventually, one day, I’ll be able to jump and fall off of things without hesitation (hopefully during some sort of planned excursion).
Before I went over the edge, we got a brief training session on how not to fall to our deaths or get stuck on the side of a building. I appreciated the tips.
I’m joking. I felt safe the entire time. There were lots of ropes and harnesses and gears and double and triple layer safety measures.
Before I could start my rappel, I had to crawl over some scaffolding to get to the edge of the building. This was surprisingly nerve-wracking considering what I was about to do.
However, the worst part was the first steps going down the building. It was a little hard to get started because, well, I weigh as much as a wet chihuahua. You control the rate of your descent with your weight and guiding rope through the belay. So, my size made it difficult to get horizontal with the wall.
When I started my descent, I was hanging from the side of the building, but still had my feet at the top of the ledge. This felt very unsettling. However, I felt completely secure once lowered myself down a bit and got my feet flat on the side of the building.
I fed the rope though the belay and I walked myself down the building, taking time to waive at my supporters below and the hotel guests who gathered at the windows to watch.
It only took a few minutes for me to completely lower myself down the 26 stories, but every second was thrilling.
The event was exactly what I hoped it would be. I had a wonderful time and we helped raise money for a wonderful organization in the process.
Over The Edge helps non-profit organizations throughout the world raise money for important causes like Big Brothers and Big Sisters. If you are interested in a chance to rappel down a building without getting arrested, keep an eye out for Over The Edge when it comes to your city.