I snapped a photo to capture the calm strength that inspired me to write this. He was not yelling and cheering to the world about how great this ride was or how brave he felt for conquering his fear. There were no people cheering him on loudly. In fact, I doubt if anyone else even realized the mountains he was moving within his own little world in that moment. But there he sat, with a soft grin on his face, his fists balled up, and his arm muscles flexed in his seat.
After taking it the first time, I kept saying that something felt different, off maybe even, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. It was because for the first time in a long time, I realized, I wasn’t panicking. I wasn’t in a state of hyper-vigilance, convinced that anything and everything was just moments from going wrong. And that realization made me want to cry. It’s only gotten better since then.