My name is Shari Kelly and I’m a catapedaphobe.
In other words, I cannot and will not jump from any height that I think could result in me harming or killing myself. I am a legit black person.
This tremendous self-discovery was made yesterday evening when I went to jump off a cliff. Truthfully, I always knew I had this phobia. I just never knew it was an actual phobia and I also just thought my self-preservation instincts were really really intact. So yesterday, after a very long day shooting a wedding in the beautiful town of Negril, I thought it would be an excellent idea to go to the world famous Rick’s Cafe to watch the sunset and jump into the ocean. The aim was to leave all the fatigue and stress behind and surface with renewed energy and zeal for the coming week. It was an excellent idea. Except the wedding ended late and we got there after the sun had already set, and, I just could not bring myself to willingly hurl my body into a turbulent sea.
The last time I went to Rick’s Cafe, roughly five years ago, I literally went against every fibre of my being and jumped into the ocean…….after about one whole hour of psyching myself up. I regretted it the moment my feet left the earth. Those 3 seconds that it took for all my organs to meet up in my head for a little death party are the worst I can remember. I did not experience exhilaration in any sense. I did not feel a rush of anything (besides blood) and I did not feel like it was worth it. Quite frankly, I was just surprised and thrilled to still be alive.
So as I stood (again) staring into the ocean, waves pulsating and undulating with a fierceness I have never before witnessed, I realized that this jumping thing was not about to happen any time soon. NB. I was standing at the lowest possible jump point, on the platform where the ladder descends into the ocean, approximately 2 feet above the water. I watched as the daredevils rained into the ocean from way up above, and I applauded, congratulated and secretly envied each of them as they came out of the water. As the sky darkened and the sea melted into the forms of the jagged cliffs, I finally decided that this was never going to happen. Ever. So with my head held high, I walked back up the steps, grabbed my bag and towel and laughed as the lifeguard teasingly called me chicken.
I’d rather be a living chicken than a dead anything.