See this beautiful lake? This image represents everything peaceful, calm, serene, and natural. To me, it represents everything roller coasters are not.
To all my fellow roller coaster haters,
It is okay. You are not missing out. There is nothing wrong with you.
In this post I will detail my path to acceptance.
There are several things that make me unique (I think) but for some reason, people love to investigate my dislike of roller coasters.
I was never particularly fond of roller coasters, but as I got older I began to hate them even more than I did before. I always wondered why, and what was wrong with me. It seemed as if all my peers loved them and couldn’t get enough. As I tried to fit in, I found myself dreading school field trips to amusement parks and wanting to throw up just waiting in line for the rides.
My earliest traumatic experience with a roller coaster occurred when I was just in kindergarten. My class took a field trip to a small fair with lots of rides. It was probably my first time ever on any ride, and I wailed the entire time. I actually thought I was going to die. I screamed at the top of my lungs along with the rest of my classmates, completely unaware that they were screaming out of joy and not out of fear. Later, when I learned of their enjoyment during what I thought was a near death experience, I was horrified.
For years, I could not understand why people would voluntarily sit on a contraption meant to sway and drop you violently and unexpectedly. For years, I thought I was defected. As a result, a large portion of my life has been dedicated to questioning myself. Why don’t I like roller coasters?
I first ruled out the main suspect: fear of thrill. I was able to eliminate this potential fear because I have always loved to go skiing. Since I was in third grade, I have been sliding down mountains on my skis on some of the steepest slopes available. Because of my love for the thrill of skiing, I realized that I am not scared of adventure. I remember forcing myself to go on roller coasters because I had always been told to “go outside your comfort zone”. This philosophy did nothing for me and my poor relationship roller coasters. Although I realized that I was not scared of roller coasters, I still did not like them. But rather than develop a solid reasoning as to why I didn’t like roller coasters, I strayed farther away from the answer I had been searching for. Somehow, my dislike of roller coasters was puzzling than my fear of them.
People would ask me “What is wrong with you?” or “What do you mean you don’t like them?” or “Are you sure you’re not scared of heights?”
Unfortunately, these questions would remain unanswered and my search for answers continued.
Therefore, I continued to go to amusement parks with my friends in search for justice. I would always show up just go on a few mild rides and watch the fireworks and eat overpriced junk food. During these trips, I always found myself slowly inching away from the adventurous, tall, and fast rides. But why??
One fateful night, I discovered something about myself that answered so many of my questions about myself. I rolled around anxiously. I sat up, laid back down, and oriented myself too many ways to count. I could not fall asleep and nothing was working. The later it got, I grew more and more anxious. My head started spinning and it became harder to breathe. As absurd as it sounds, the more time I spend trying to sleep, the more likely I won’t fall asleep. During these painfully long nights, I stress about everything. I stress about school, my social life, and everything else. But most of all, I stress about not being able to fall asleep. That night, I discovered why I cannot stand roller coasters.
I hate being out of control. Typically, this is a good thing. Wanting to have control over yourself and your life is seen as responsible in today’s society. However, it is actually probably one of my biggest flaws. Sometimes, I restrict myself too tightly or am overly cautious. As a result, I can’t afford to test myself by venturing onto a roller coaster and giving up complete control over my soul. Ultimately, roller coasters are about letting loose and feeling free. These very feelings that people chase is exactly what repels me from enjoying roller coasters.
I tested my theory about why I don’t like roller coasters on various aspects of my life. My fear of losing control over myself actually appears in pretty much everything I do. My obsession with having control is what developed my anxiety over not being able to fall asleep. I also realized why I loved skiing but hated riding roller coasters even though they can serve similar purposes. When I ski, I have complete control over my speed, where I go, and what happens to me. On the other hand, when I am on a roller coaster uncomfortably trapped between the seat and the protection bar, I have no control and no choice but to remain still.
Finally, I can tell myself that I am not actually defected, there is nothing wrong with me, and that it is okay to not roller coasters. I still have no idea what the future holds for my relationship with roller coasters, but now, that is okay. Perhaps one day I will be able to let loose and enjoy roller coasters for what they are. Perhaps I will remain as I am today for the rest of my life. Either way, I can finally begin to understand and accept my dislike of America’s favorite pastimes.
Ultimately, while I still don’t like roller coasters, I am grateful for my experience and opportunity to explore outside of my comfort zone. I still value overcoming fears and trying new things but I now realize that some things don’t need to be forcibly changed.