I have always been the big girl of my groups of friends. I wouldn’t say my friends were skinny bimbos – they’re all intelligent, lovely people who have loved me for me and have NEVER made an insulting remark about me. They’ve always taken me as I am, and have enjoyed my company for whatever reason that makes me a person they want to hang out with when our schedules collide. There is never a cruel remark when I turn up wearing something inappropriate because it was the only thing I could afford that fits.

Last year my friend, let us call her A, decided she wanted to do something a bit different for her birthday. She chose something called Go Ape. An assault course/adventure playground set 20ft or more up in the treetops of a forest, filled with zip lines and cargo nets and tarzan swings. It is amazing fun. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and recommend it as a great alternative to a big meal or party. I was sore and tired afterwards, and I managed to sprain my ankle on the very very very last zipline. That was annoying!

The part that sticks in mind, like that incident at Alton Towers a few years back, is trying to get the safety harness on. The instructor had to change out of his own and let me have it – my thighs were even bigger than those of my man. I was mortified, but it’s not the first time I’ve had to endure the consequences of actually eating and living like a pig for most of my life, so I sucked it up and got on with enjoying my day. Now, in this course there are generally two paths for every obstacle, an easy one and a difficult one. Apart from the first tarzan swing – they don’t let you past that. The tarzan swing rockets you onto a big cargo net, which you then have to climb up. And I had no upper body strength, but I just about made it.

I made the mistake of doing the Tarzan swing, the bigger one, at the end of the course after 3 hours of activity that my muscles really weren’t used to. I never made it up the cargo net, and in the end need assistance from the pulley. It was humiliating, and I was very glad that no one commented. I went down the last zipline almost in tears, but convincing myself that sometime it happens. Then I sprained my ankle as I landed and the pain was enough to set off those tears that had been preparing themselves. Man did I feel like shit.

And yet, that half an hour of pain…it matters. It is a motivator – I want to go back there and be able to climb the damn cargo net after 3 hours of clambering around like a monkey. Yet what really mattered was standing up and trying, rather than immediately saying ‘I can’t do that’; at least I tried.


~ by Pewter on June 27, 2008.

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