Oh, what a day...
I had not been to an amusement park in a really long time. For years I told myself how much I hated them because of crowds, and long lines. I could go on for what seemed like hours talking about why it wasn't worth the time, money, or effort.
Well, last week Anthony (the hubs) and I had a date day scheduled with no solid plans, and I cannot explain what came over me, but I decided to ask him if he would be interested in a day out at California's Great America. As soon as those words lefts my lips I was instantly nervous and second guessing myself, but he was totally into the idea so we went for it.
The last time I had gone to Great America was with a group of my students about 12 years ago, and I actually had to exit from a ride that I was too large for. The riders were all facing inward, so everyone watched me as I walked away. I had felt so ashamed of myself that day that from then on I never wanted to put myself in that position again.
Since the beginning of this year I have been focusing on improving my health, and have lost around 30lbs so far, so I guess that I was being hopeful that my progress thus far would be enough to get me to squeeze into some of these rides. I was trying to be brave Y'all.
I was excited as we walked into the park. I tried my best to look and feel confident, but inside I was semi-breaking down.
The first ride we approached was Flight Deck and posted on the safety sign it read "Due to the nature of the restraint, this ride may not accommodate guests of a larger size." Let's be honest, slim - average weight people do not worry about reading the safety signs, but when you're afraid of breaking everything due to your size it becomes second nature. Safe to say, I was apprehensive. It was in that moment I turned to my husband and cautioned him that I may not be able to fit on the ride. He looked at me a little confused, possibly thinking I was exaggerating but reassured me of his support.
There were no lines, so we walked right in. He immediately secured himself in his seat. I was able to sit comfortably, I was able to pull the harness down tight, but there was a seat belt as an additional safety measure that had to connect from the seat to the harness, and I could not get my harness down far enough to get it closed. Anthony started trying to get out of his seat to help me but he was stuck. At that moment the ride attendant came over and saw me struggling. He happened to walk up right as I was telling Anthony I needed someone to squish me in. It was so close. So the attendant pushed my harness down and buckled me up. I was surprised at how quickly and easily he was able to do it. He looked me in my eyes to ask me if I was okay. I can only imagine my face. I was holding back tears, but I smiled as big as I could and said GREAT! The ride was amazing, such a thrill that it left me no time to process what had just happened, but walking away from the ride I was overcome by emotion. I was happy that I was able to ride but fearful for how the rest of the day was going to go.
As we went ride to ride I would check out the harnesses/lap bars/seatbelts of each ride and approach with caution, but all in all, we were able to ride every ride we wanted without any further restrictions or complications.
I knew I had been putting in hard work to get to where I am now, thirty-pound lighter, but the most important difference was that this time I was with Anthony. I knew that Anthony would not judge me, laugh at me, or be upset if I had to exit a ride. I felt safe and loved. He was able to help me have the confidence to take that risk. I am grateful beyond means of expression. This health journey has been testing me and pushing me past my limits. I am a long way from my health goals, but I am committed to improving my standard of living.
I want to keep creating these positive memories with my loved ones and replace feelings of defeat and depression with moments of hope and triumph.
If you are on traveling your journey now, please do not give up, and if you are hesitant to start - do not wait another minute. You know what your mind, body, and spirit need - if you have the calling to make a change, go full force. You already have the power within.