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Fear of Coasters: Not What It Seemed

Updated on August 15, 2010

For as long as I can remember, right up until this summer (2010), I have had a phobia about roller coasters. Granted, when I was a senior in college I went on one--twice, actually. But that was it. I swore never again would I do that.

I told people it was because I was acrophobic. And to a point, I am--I don't like being up high and feeling unstable (stop laughing, please, those who know me know why). Airplanes don't bother me; ladders do. Enclosed observation decks don't bother me; observation platforms with open sides do. Bridges don't bother me if I'm in a vehicle; pedestrian bridges do, most of the time.

And then, there are roller coasters.

The idea of hurtling through space in a little carlike thing, perhaps restrained by only a seat-belt of canvas, or perhaps by some kind of harness, or by one of those solid metal over-the-shoulder locking contraptions, did not thrill me. My husband is a roller coaster fanatic, and even he couldn't persuade me to try. I staunchly held to my "I have a phobia" story.

Truth to tell: It wasn't really a phobia at all. It was a self-esteem issue, at heart.

You see, for most of my adult life I was fat. (It's not a bad word. It's an adjective, and a useful one.) I was average height, being five feet seven inches, but I weighed anywhere from 230 to 277, with most of my years spent at the lower end of that range. For a short time I dipped to 177, but before long--when I stopped going to the gym because I couldn't afford the monthly dues, and stopped eating no/low-carb because money was too tight--I was back up over 200. I hung around the low 200's and high 190's for a few years.

Then, I was diagnosed with a predisposition to prediabetes. That woke me up, and I took steps to reverse that in as healthy a way as possible. I started paying attention to the glycemic index, and by doing so, I ate fewer calories in a day. I didn't do much in the way of exercise at the time, but the pounds began falling off anyway.

Long story short, I finally added the exercise (walking was my favorite!) last winter, and by my wedding day this past Memorial Day weekend, I was "normal."

Then, it happened.

We took the family to an amusement park, and I got brave. I rode one roller coaster.

And I loved it.

It wasn't about heights. It was about feeling secure. I was no longer afraid that the restraints would fail because I was just plain too big to fit into the seat. Secondary to that was the feeling that no one was watching me; no one would be pointing, or whispering "look at that cow, trying to get into the car!"

Okay, so I still don't open my eyes (much) during the ride. I prefer to sit back, eyes closed, and just roll with the sensations. But that is another essay, for another day.


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    • Starglade profile image

      Starglade 7 years ago from behind the Cheddar Curtain

      Thanks, Nellie! Ja, that's about how I thought about coasters. Funny for sure. I'm very glad the memory it conjured was a pleasant one.

    • Nellieanna profile image

      Nellieanna Hay 7 years ago from TEXAS

      hehe Having never ventured onto a roller coaster, I can't say much about it one way or the other. But I've had a horror of slides all my life. Just plain ole playground slides! Pretty lame, isn't it? hehe.

      Went to Six Flags once & was persuaded to try the "tree slide", - consisting of a slick curvaceous inner surface of a rather tall hollow man-made "tree". I climbed up the ladder to get into position to go down, but once there, I couldn't let go of the edge. They poundied on my knuckles to get me to let loose & slide down till finally I could hang on no longer - so down I flew inside that thing, yelling "I HATE IT, I HATE IT, I HATE IT!" all the way down, surely loud enough so the entire amusement park must have heard me (I know my little granddaughter who had slid down it ahead of me heard me!) Too silly, huh? But I love to swing - the higher the better. Go figure!

      I just love your hub and the pleasantish memory it summoned up. I'm pleased to be the first to comment and to "hop" it up and rate it useful!