blogging · childhood memories · childhood reflections · family · life · making choices · perception · social pressure

Prompt: A Time I Did The Right Thing

This prompt originates from this list.

Write about a time when you knew you’d done the right thing.

I was playing with a female cousin on a playground in New Jersey. I guess it was fall or sometime in winter because we had jackets on. We both took our coats off before we made our way onto the playground. My favorite was going down the slide, although I almost always forgot how much it hurt whenever my skin made contact with the slide’s metal and plastic surface if it had been sitting in direct sunlight for a while. The playground had the typical stuff you might find anywhere. It had the twisty ladder for kids to climb up on, but I was too scared to use it due to my fear of heights even though the top of the ladder was not that high up. There were the monkey bars, which I could never last even a second on. Besides the slide, there was the walkway on the playground that led to a plastic tunnel that any kid could probably fit through and crawl to the other end of the walkway. The tunnel was not on the ground, so of course the only thing holding it up in the air was the screws and bolts that attached it from one walkway end to the other.

My cousin, for some reason, thought it would be fun to get on top of the tunnel. Like actually on TOP of it so she was crawling on it instead of in it. No one was watching us on the playground, which was deserted except for me and her. Her mom was around somewhere but not right there on the playground because earlier she had insisted to her mom that we be allowed to play without her hovering like a helicopter parent. This was the ’90s so it was a different time then. Anyway, I was both taken aback by my cousin’s daring nature and also a little worried about her falling off from the top onto the ground. The tunnel was uneven with ridges around it so it wasn’t like completely flat on top, in addition to the tunnel itself being curvy.

Then, she asked me to follow her example and hop on top of the tunnel as well. I looked at her like she was crazy. Just from observing how high up she seemed, I broke out into a nervous sweat thinking about what it might be like from my perspective if I was in her shoes. I couldn’t make myself go up. I reluctantly told her that I wasn’t doing it. She seemed confused by my hesitation and commented that if I didn’t, people would laugh at me. I don’t know which “people” she meant, but looking back, it’s shocking that she was pressuring me socially. I think she had more experience with social pressure than me, so perhaps that’s why she said what she said since she knew how to play the “game” of getting people to like her. For me, I felt upset right away when she appeared to imply that I had to do what she did or get shunned by people. My fear of heights outweighed the idea of being ostracized, so I stuck to my decision about not going through with the dare. It was a decision that I didn’t feel quite confident about, though. I refused more out of anger that she was acting like I was a coward yet I was also upset at the perception that maybe I was being a coward for declining. Overall, I believe I made the right choice.

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