Sunday, July 8, 2007

Feeling Vertigo

I've never really had a fear of heights. Nevertheless, I get a weird feeling when I look over an edge, or see someone else getting close to a railing. Most people would describe this as vertigo, or a fear of heights. (Which I guess is medically wrong, but when I think "vertigo", I think fear of falling. So, I'll use it incorrectly throughout.) We climbed to the top of St. Stephan's Basilica in Budapest and I felt this sensation various times. In "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" by Kundera, a Czech writer, he describes vertigo as less of a fear of falling and more as the desire to fall. The Basilica helped me comprehend the feeling I get when I'm near the edge. The feeling you get when looking to the street below isn't fear; it's definitely a feeling of excitement. It's exactly the same as opening a letter of acceptance, or denial, from a college. Of course you are afraid, but the overwhelming emotion is a desire to know what's inside. Similarly, I wanted to know what it would be like to fall. Obviously, I'm not suicidal. Falling is not the same as death. Falling is more like freedom, getting away from the world, and experiencing something new. Of course, there is fear of the new, but I wanted to fall. That is exactly what I'm doing here in Europe. Falling into a new life-style, perceiving the world differently. Vertigo is change, and sometimes it's needed; it's life.

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