The Falling Backward Closure.
Of how playing in trampoline park got me accidental clarity, and the fear of falling backward, among other fears.
Two years ago we were on Amped Trampoline Park. Beside trampoline playgrounds, there’re also another game/ arena for similar activity. A bit to the edge of the wide indoor stadium, there’s this section of two stairs around 2–3 meters tall with foam pit in front of it. Not sure if I explain it correctly, but it’s a spot where you fall backward from the top of the stairs to the pit of cubic foams.
It’s like this:
I got chills when I saw my friends did it. A sense tingling, I wanted to do that too, I knew I kind of afraid of it, but I want to.
I wanted to conquer one of my biggest fears—
I always had a thing about falling backward, it’s the weakest position and your hand will grab to void air in the process (or if you have something to grab on, you’re lucky). I had reason to justify this specific fear (not that it’s necessary btw). When I was 16 I had a motorbike accident, I fell backward head first, cracked my head, some concussion, coma, and months of recovery. It kinda haunted me cause the seconds of me falling backward before I hit the concrete, that was the last memory before I woke up week later from my coma. I cringe and got chill every time the flashback kicks (usually happened at random timing, once or twice per year).
But it’s years long ago. I’m 25 going 26 now (was 24 in that trampoline park). I curious if I changed a lot since then. Beside, this is the safest place to fall backward on purpose. So I took my friend’s hand, asked him to fall with me (ayyy, but really, it’s a two-people activity). We put down our glasses, stepped on the stairs. We were looking to each other, counting 1 2 3, I about to bailed — then the crew of the place shouted ‘It’s okay just do a trust fall!’ — I took a deep breath, I was about to debunk my fear, then— so I did.
I crossed my hands in my chest (it’s the rule told by the crew)
… and I dived head first.
Like a very suspense slow motion, the world went silent. The ceiling of the place was very high and got even higher so I closed my eyes, and in quick- life flashed like a slideshow. The memories of crashing accident arose, the exact moment when I fell from my motorbike and how the memories were now grayscale (relevant, the accident happened at night) — and if it didn’t bad enough, my anxiety added with irrational fear, made me think what if there’s a large stone on the bottom that no one knows of and I’ll hit my head with it. Oh no.
I screamed. And my friend, he screamed too. Apparently we both scared to fall like that.
The few seconds felt like forever.
I dipped and drowned deeper in the foam pit (because my weight lol).
I still hyperventilated in the bottom of cubic foams that cushioned my fall. I climbed out of pit hastily, once I reached the ground, I laid on carpet-coat floor. I rested on my back, facing the high ceiling. My friend were still on the pit because he enjoyed laying there. I puzzled. But the good kind of puzzled with relief. I couldn’t explain the weird sensation I just felt. I guess… When I fell, I unintentionally got the old accident’s memory a decent long-overdue closure. Wow.
It’s just a fun activity, I know. It supposed to. But since I carry specific fear, it kind of… heavy. Will I do a backward-fall again? No! Not really.
But I’ll never forget the accidental weird clarity of that day. I did a thing by separating ‘fear of unknown’ vs ‘fear of what happened in the past’. And it’s liberatingly intriguing. Like I get rid the over-fetishsize fear, left only with rational-portion fear. The fear of falling backward was still there, didn’t plan to get rid that completely, though.
“Curiosity will conquer fear more than bravery will.”
― James Stephens