I blinked my eyes twice, yet the same image appeared. I felt the dry, hot Italian wind blow over my face. My friends’ cheers seemed miles away. I breathed in the sweet smell of the olive groves. As the instructor clipped me in, I tried not to tremble, my friend Alicia was hyperventilating, I wanted to be the hero and show her it was ‘no big deal’ but secretly inside, I was just as scared. I made the mistake of looking down; it was a long fall to the bottom of this ancient stony tower. I looked out on to the town of Assisi; I could see for miles. I saw where the crowded tangled medieval streets turned into the earth-toned patchwork fields. Funny how a moment can seem like forever. My hands were burning from my tight grip on the rope. I was the first to go, I couldn’t remember why I had volunteered.
I propped my head up and kept a smile. I had to be the leader. Slowly I crept baby stepping to the edge until only the tip of my sneakers, worn from miles of journeys, remained attached to the edge.
“Alright now, you just lean back, I promise I got you.” I looked down on my hand there in purple marker in my handwriting was the word ‘Believe’ I took a deep breath. I slowly forced the rope to slide through my hesitating hand. I felt the sweat slowly sliding down the side of my face then falling off with confidence to the bottom. To think just a week ago I was sitting in my room reading Jane Eyre amazed by her courage, now it was time to put mine to the test. I took a deep breath and dropped back. I felt invincible.
With each step I grew more and more confident, more and more sure of myself. I took the challenge in front of me and tackled it. I can now say I repelled down a 100 foot medieval tower, how many people can say that?
My friends nominated me most likely to change the world, although I may not win the superlative, I know without a doubt I’m not most likely to change the world. I will change the world. With each new challenge I will remember that hot dry Italian day and I’ll remember the word I wrote on my hand in purple ink. I will approach it with the determination of Jane Goodall and Anne Hutchinson. Refusing to give in when things are overwhelming, for I know in the end it’ll all be worth it.
When I got to the bottom of that tower I looked up at its once daunting frame. Suddenly it wasn’t so big anymore. I stood cheering on my friends as they followed my example. Sometimes our fears try to hold us back with doubt, the key is to break its chains and triumphantly stand at the finish line. I intend to approach my studies in the same way refusing to quiver behind the sleepless nights and textbooks written in a foreign language supposed to be English, instead I will dive straight into the madness prevailing on top.
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