It Just Goes To Show That There’s A Very Fine Slackline Between Stupidity And Love.
Okay so there’s this viral video that was very recently — as in 6:30 this morning — brought to my attention.
Basically, it’s a video of this (apparent) dickwad pushing his girlfriend off of a cliff.
Okay, okay. It’s not that bad. She’s attached to a rope. And it’s only like a 400-foot free fall before the slackline catches and hurls her, screaming, towards the face of the opposite cliff.
Not terrifying at all.
Multiple times, while she’s standing at the edge of the precipice, she says, “I don’t wanna do it” or “I don’t think I can do this” or “I can’t do this” or some variation.
Over and over.
She seems terrified.
And then her boyfriend is seen standing next to her, comforting her, giving positive words of encouragement.
“You can!” he says. “I know you can!”
Then she looks like she’s about ready to jump, only to back off once again. He nudges her closer. “Please don’t push me off. Please don’t.”
“I am not!” he assures her. The frustration is evident in his voice. Then, calmer, he says, “I’m right here. I’m not gonna push you. I’m not gonna push you.”
For a second, we like him again.
Then he adds, “But if you stand here for more than ten more seconds, I will.”
Apparently she thinks the same, because she gives him a withering look and shoves him away as he laughs.
But then, next thing we know, he’s counting down from three and he just pushes her.
Just… boom. She’s gone.
“Honey? Honey?!” her disbelief is evident even as she slips off of the edge.
The rope catches as she swings through the narrow slot canyon between the red vertical cliff faces towering above, and the echo of her voice is almost majestic as she yells out into the void, “I’M BREAKING UP WITH YOU!”
Her (now ex) boyfriend, up on the cliff, is laughing hysterically. “What did she say?” asks the man behind the camera.
“I just got dumped!”
His friend asks, “Was it worth it?”
His laughter sobers. “It will be worth it,” he says. “Someday, she’ll thank me.”
Famous last words, right?
Of course this video has generated a lot of commentary about the general douchiness of his behavior.
He PUSHED his girlfriend off of a CLIFF.
Okay, I get it. Kind of messed up.
But here’s the thing: The girl was rigged up. Snug as a bug. There’s a longer video about the jump here:
And an even longer “behind the scenes” video about the process here:
And what you don’t see in the shorter video are the experts who set up the lines. Or the numerous jumpers who went before her. Or the multitude of countdowns from the group encouraging her to go. At first the entire group is counting down, but by the end it’s just the camera man. She had plenty of time to either jump on her own or simply unhook herself from the tether and walk away.
But she didn’t.
And I realize it’s treading dangerous territory to insist someone means one thing when she says another, but it is my belief that she wanted to jump.
She said she didn’t, but she really did.
She was scared, but she didn’t want to walk away.
And how many times, metaphorically, has that happened to you in life?
How many times have you been terrified to take a risk — to buy a plane ticket somewhere exotic, pack your belongings and move to a foreign city, or embark on an adventurous new career — and how may times have you wished you had someone who pushed you?
Someone who gave you no choice but to take the leap you already knew you wanted to take?
During those times you know, deep down, that pushing you to the point of forcefulness — even to the brink of anger — might just be the most loving, selfless act another person can do for you.
Even if it makes you hate him.
Because, for whatever reason, you just can’t do it on your own.
Sometimes, encouraging words aren’t enough. When someone says, “I know you can do it,” we think, How do you know? Even I don’t know if I can do it, so how do you? You don’t. You don’t really believe in me. You’re just saying you believe in me because you think that’s what I want to hear.
See, when we’re scared to make a change, when we’re scared to take a risk, our mental safety lines of self-preservation kick into full gear.
It’s easier to do nothing. It’s easier stay home. To keep this house. To stay with this job. To make the same boxed dinners and watch reruns of How I Met Your Mother and say to ourselves, Tomorrow. Tomorrow I will write my resume. Put my house on the market. Buy the ticket.
Alone, it’s easy to be weak because we’re so afraid to fail.
We want to know that someone else believes.
We need proof.
And we also need an accomplice in case things go wrong.
It’s why we hesitate.
It’s why we’re so scared.
It’s why, sometimes, we spend a lifetime just wishing for someone who cares enough to push.
What do you think? Do you think he should’ve pushed her? If you were the girlfriend, would you be mad that he pushed? Even more interesting — if you were the boyfriend, would you have pushed?
*Video stills sourced from here.
LoL! Loved this story… You definitely need someone to push you from time to time. I know I have that person for me right now. :) I also just made the biggest move of my life…talk about taking a risk! It’s paying off! Honestly, I don’t know if I’d want the guy to push me…but I would be glad once he did. Besides actually PUSHING you, what else can people offer besides encouraging words to show they believe in you? It seems to be a fine line with a hazy picture of an outcome on the other side!
Anyway…enjoyed your post today, Katie!
Thanks, Lisa! It’s definitely a huge risk for the PUSHER — and I think that’s something no one really thinks about. You either have to be incredibly selfish (like he really, for his own selfish reasons, wanted his girlfriend to do it), or incredibly selfLESS and willing to accept that someone might really resent you after you push them — even if you think it’s the right thing. ESPECIALLY if the outcome is bad.
I’m so thrilled your risk is working out! What a wonderful feeling!
It would depend on the person who might be getting pushed, and how well I knew them and how well I knew what they really wanted. I think there are people who want the push, even though they’re too scared to jump themselves. They’d probably be ok with the push in the end.
But then there are people who don’t. I would be one of those people. I have major fear issues about a lot of things. I would have chickened out on this one. I actually wouldn’t have wanted to do it in the first place, but possibly might have been coerced by friends and/or family who thought it was a good idea. And if I had been pushed, I would have been pissed off in the extreme. I’m sure I’d get over that, but what I wouldn’t get over would be the trust I had for that person being gone. I’d have a very hard time getting that back.
I read somewhere that she stood there, hooked up to the line, for 45-minutes. Would you have stood there that long if you knew you didn’t want to jump? I’m curious how far peer pressure will take people. I know that I’m the type of person who, if I really didn’t want to jump, would get myself off of that damn line and away from the edge as soon as possible. But maybe some people would stay, waiting for some kind soul to come over and literally let them off the hook. If that happened to me, I’d be resentful – I think I’d want the push because if they let me off, I’d be left wondering why they thought I wasn’t capable of doing it.
It’s definitely a risk for the pusher since everyone is different. :)
45 minutes is a long time and I tend to be pretty honest with myself about what will and won’t make me happy. I can see getting caught in this situation if I really thought it was important to the other person though and I cared what they thought.
You’re right – it definitely depends on the people involved. :)
I think it was all put on. She had on a microphone and we could here her clearly. Definitely all an act. It got them on TV and that’s the in-thing to do today.
I don’t think she was acting. If you watch the “behind the scenes” video, she had a microphone because the whole production was very professional. I’m pretty sure Devin, the guy holding the camera, is an up-and-coming (though can we even call him that when I’m thinking he’s already arrived?) filmmaker, so he uses very professional equipment to create a professional product. So yes, while he sets out to create videos like this to get himself noticed, I’m not convinced that this part — the reluctant girlfriend of one of his crew — was an act. I think she came along with the group and got talked into trying it because a girl making the jump is just great footage. But I could be wrong!
I agree with you in that I think that she really wanted to try it but couldn’t get past that fear and she needed someone to literally (not figuratively!) push her. I have a feeling that years from now she will be thanking him. I hope that I would be able to similarly push someone that needed it. Whether that is a push off the cliff, or helping them to drive to whatever goal it may be that they have and are too afraid to do.
I can see myself in both positions, needing that push and needing to give that push. You just have to surround yourself with the right kind of people that are willing to do that for you.
Very well-said! (And not just because you agree with me.)
It IS about surrounding ourselves with people who sometimes might even know us better than ourselves. And especially with people who love us more than we love ourselves. Those are usually the ones who are willing to push. :)
I’m thankful for the PUSHERS in my life (even though sometimes I want to slap them)! If there wasn’t at least a small part of you that wanted to do it, you wouldn’t stand there and let them harness you up.
AGREED. Pushers are the people we love to hate – they hold us accountable for being our best possible selves. :)
Hmmm. Lots of mixed feelings whirring around in my head. Even if it turned out to be cool, can he be forgiven? Not sure. It depends on what he’s like in the rest of life, I guess.
I’m not sure I could’ve been pushed. I do know I wish I would’ve known more options, and then maybe I could’ve been nudged to take bigger, more creative steps. ;-) I know I enjoy the fact that my kids are more adventurous and mostly jump on their own.
Yes, I think trust would definitely be an issue after something like this. Would she ever be able to take him at his word again??
And sure you could’ve been pushed — everyone can be pushed. It’s just a matter of whether you’d appreciate it or not in the end. ;) (And guess what? I bet your kids have a wee bit of initial pushing on your part to thank for their adventurous spirits. Own it!) :)
I would have tied myself to another rope. Made the jump first. Yell Out….See..No Problem.
I hope you’re good at tying ropes!
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