Saturday, July 11, 2015

Fear of heights

This past week I've been working in the Bakery washing walls and ceilings in preparation for painting.  There was a lot of grime to be wiped away, and the process was made somewhat easier because we have this incredibly powerful degreaser.  Spray the wall in question, wait 5 minutes, wipe away grime.  Easy enough, but these walls have almost ten years worth of baked on grease and flour.  The fellas and I were going over and over the walls and ceilings, as many as five times, to get all the grease and gross stuff.  It seemed like the crap just wasn't gonna come off,  what's the point of going over this again and again and again if it's never gonna be clean!? Mike, our remodeling coordinator kept telling us that the new paint would look nicer and last longer if we could get the surfaces all-the-way clean, but it didn't seem do-able.  It was frustrating, it was disheartening.  But then... I sprayed the degreaser on a spot of ceiling that Danny and I had both already scrubbed at least twice before - the mist floated down into my face and I spluttered disgustedly, climbed down the ladder and refilled my rinse bucket, wrung out my sponge for the thousandth time... And when I climbed back up the ladder and started wiping the degreaser off, the ceiling was  CLEAN.  It was a revelation of the highest order.  After plugging away at this seemingly undefeatable coating of grime, teetering on a ladder with my hands up over my head, dripping brown soapy water down my arms and into my tired eyes for DAYS - I finally got all the scum off.
Once I realized that, yes, I could actually get the ceiling all-the-way-clean, it was easier to climb back up the ladder.

And, btw, I am kinda scared of heights. That fear is what made me climb the ladder in the first place and start scrubbing the ceilings.  I'm afraid of a lot of things these days, and I didn't used to feel that way.  To walk out on a high rock ledge and look down, I've always loved it right up until the vertigo overpowers the awe and makes me step back.  That ladder is the same thing.  I climb up with important work to do, remind myself that I am following all the recommended safety precautions, and do the work.  If I start to get dizzy, or start to feel scared, I just hold still and breathe for a second.  It works pretty well.  This little pocket of fear, I can conquer it.  I can climb the ladder, and be a little scared, and still do the work.  

Facing fears, conquering the seemingly unconquerable, this is what I have been doing lately.  Life is overwhelming most of the time, I am really awfully frightened most of the time, but climbing ladders has helped me get through the week. 

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