Welcome to the Rollercoaster


My first semester of high school could be best described as riding a rollercoaster...blindfolded.

You wait in line anxiously for hours, heart pumping. As you watch others get off the rollercoaster, they offer you their advice. Some say, "Don't do it. Jump out of line. Get out while you still can." Their faces are pale and terrified. But others emerge grinning, joyful, and tell you, "This is the best rollercoaster ride of your life! Enjoy every second!" So now, you're confused. Which one is it? Is this rollercoaster a deathtrap, designed to make your life miserable, or is it the most wonderful ride in the universe? Or both?

You reach the front of the line and try to get in the cart, but the ride attendant grabs you by the shoulders. "Excuse me, miss," he says. "You forgot this." He wraps a blindfold around your eyes and makes you get in the seat. You're having some serious second thoughts, but there's no turning back now.

The beginning of the ride is anything but smooth. The coaster takes off with a jolt. It's bumpy. It's uncomfortable. You're nauseous. It throws you for what feels like a million loops. You start to get used to it. Then, it levels off a bit. The track seems to smooth. You have a few ups and downs but they're the fun kind, the easy kind. You start to think that maybe you could enjoy this. But you're blindfolded. You can't see what comes next. You have no idea.

And then, everything comes crashing down.

The coaster starts going down, and it doesn't come back up again. All you can feel is the rush of the wind as you make the seemingly endless plummet. Down, down, down. You're falling deeper into the pit and you don't think you can climb back out. After all, you're blind, you're alone and you're strapped into a rollercoaster. You can't very well jump out now. You'd die.

So you see no alternative. There's no way to escape, so you resign yourself to your fate. Maybe this is forever. Maybe the coaster never stops going down.

You get used to this, too. You're comfortable here. Here is safe. Here it's kinda quiet. And everybody leaves you alone. You feel free. Like you can make your own choices in the darkness. Without bothering others, without others bothering you.

But your loneliness is hurting you more than you realize.

So when you hear a voice over the intercom he knows how to stop the ride, do you want to? You're having doubts. Your fears take over. What if it's worse on the other side of the rollercoaster? You don't want to leave the downward plummet you've gotten so used to. The rhythm of it has started to feel something like comfort.

You don't know it yet, but you need out. The voice over the intercom informs you that you don't have a choice in the matter: he is going to help you, whether you like it or not.

The only thing you have to do is take the blindfold off your eyes.