WELL. I was away longer than I had anticipated. I was originally going to come back on Monday, but I was just so tired that by the time I’d get home from work, I’d knock out for the day. I think it’s partly jet-lag and partly not having slept much while I was away. Anyway, I am back and things should return to a daily posting schedule! 😀 I missed you all and hope you’re doing well!
Since it’s my big return, I figure I should make this post worth it! It helps since I had a mini life-changing experience when I was away, and I feel like it’s a nice welcome back post.
I’ll be talking about Fear. Or, more specifically, facing said fears. Being scared of something can paralyze you and prevent you from doing something you might actually really want. It can be over trivial things, like spiders (I normally can’t sleep in a room I know a spider is currently residing in), or something pretty reasonable like dying or being alone.
Letting you in on a not-so secret of mine, I’m terrified of spiders, clowns, heights and falling. Also, being a human-being, I don’t like setting myself up for rejection whether it be from a job, school, or maybe a relationship, and sometimes, that fear stops me from going for something I want. I’ve been working on that and so far it’s been going alright :). What’s life without a little risk right? Besides, getting rejected is part of life, you can’t always get what you want (unless you’re extremely lucky, which I’m not, but that’s another story for another day).
Now that you know what I’m scared of, let me elaborate on two of my fears: heights and falling. I can’t stand on a balcony/roof (even if it’s one floor up) without feeling nervous. I’ve been working on this fear by going on roller-coasters and airplanes etc, but it’s not the same. An airplane doesn’t feel like you’re X feet high and could plummet to your death should something go wrong. A roller-coaster goes way too fast to even register the height. For me, on a balcony/roof, you can see the distance from the ground and know you put yourself in that high position… and willingly too.
So before I get into the nitty-gritty stuff, let me tell you a story:
While I was in California, the topic of skydiving came up. For some odd reason, despite my fear of heights I decided, hey! I should do it! As a result, for the rest of the week while I was there, I’d ask my mother: “Am I jumping out of a plane on monday?” At first she was like: “sure”. I think it’s because we were both joking about it. But then I kept asking and it just made her nervous and her answer changed to maybe.
My thoughts and feelings about skydiving for the week were pretty nonchalant, like: yeah I can do this!
No biggie! It’s like I forgot I was scared of heights or something. Then when I asked for a final time that monday (the day I would have gone if we were home and not driving back to the city), part of me jokingly, part of me serious my mother asked me if I was sure because if I was, she’d drive me to the parachute center the next day (my last day in california).
I said yes, but really… I wasn’t. Next thing I know, she called the place and asked if she had to make an appointment but they said to just drop in between so and so time. That’s when I started getting extremely nervous. I mean, for someone who’s terrified of heights like I am, skydiving is a serious thing.
How did I expect myself to get a good night’s rest when I know after I wake up the next morning, I’ll be jumping out of a plane. At 13,000 feet. WHAT?
Before going to bed I browsed youtube and watched other first-timers tandem dive and that just made me much more nervous I started to shake and my palms started getting really clammy. I wanted to back out. I really did. I ended up messaging my friend saying: Hey. so. I might do something stupid and crazy tomorrow. Wish me luck.
I didn’t tell her what just in case I chickened out hahaha. I had nightmares that night about collapsing bridges and world destruction and when I woke up in the morning I was super quiet. I’m not saying I’m a morning person, but after at least an hour of being awake, I’m fairly talkative. My mother asked me one more time if I was ready. I couldn’t talk so I just nodded. By this time I started feeling really ill. Then I was getting ready and soon enough we were on the road. It’s supposed to be a 30 minute drive to the center but it seriously felt like two minutes.
I could barely walk straight but I get into the place, was directed to the front desk, paid for my jump and a video+photo package and next thing I know, I’m watching a horribly yet hilariously made intro video and I’m signing my life away. I will admit I barely read the contract, I couldn’t concentrate on it and all I knew was to sign my initial in the little boxes and then my full signature and date at the bottom.
Once I handed my paper in, the workers there told me I could sit outside and watch others jumping. At first I was too nervous to watch but I knew I had to brave it out. I think it just made me more nervous to be honest. The whole time I was thinking: “SAM!? WHAT ARE YOU GETTING YOURSELF INTO?! WHY DO YOU DO THIS TO YOURSELF YOU CRAZY CRAZY CRAZY GIRL!!!”
I was soooo close to backing out, I’m pretty sure I was near tears and possibly extremely pale at this point but I think I managed to hide it. My number is called, I head to the other room and suddenly everything gets so so real. I’m geared up with the harness, I’m introduced to my partner: Paulo, and my cameraman: Yuriy, I’m instructed on the how’s and what’s of tandem diving and then, I’m headed to the plane.
No turning back now.
Up and away we go and unfortunately, being the first to board the plane means you’re the last to dive. That means you watch everyone else fall out of the plane seemingly to their death and then it’s your turn. At this point, you don’t have time to be scared and even if you hesitate, it means nothing because your partner will just dive anyway and being attached to him or her means you have no choice but to go along for the ride.
There’s this moment, when I’m at the edge of the plane’s door staring out at the world knowing I’m 13,000 feet high up in the sky about to dive out and the only thing I can remember feeling is acceptance. Acceptance of what I’m not too sure, accepting my fate? My fear? Over-coming it maybe? It’s a little unclear. That might be because my thoughts were interrupted when Paulo decided we enjoyed the view enough and we were free falling for a minute and a half.
I can tell you now the experience was amazing. There’s no funny dropping feeling in the pit of your stomach. Since I’m not a bird I can’t compare it to flying, but it must be a pretty close comparison. I think the best word would be floating though, especially when the parachute is up and you’re just sailing.
The whole point of this long story is if you can move passed fear you can pretty much do anything humanly possible. You might not understand how proud I felt for myself, and accomplished too, but I was. I mean, the night before and the whole morning before my turn I doubted myself. I was in a world full of self-hate and that’s a pretty crappy place to be in because you feel horrible. In my head I wanted so badly to back out but then I’d get angry at myself, calling myself names none too pretty. I’m really my own worst critic but because I managed to push all that negativity aside and set my mind to this goal of overcoming this fear, I felt like I was on top of the world.
My mother says if I put myself in this mentality for everything in life, nothing can stand in my way for what I want. It’s true. It doesn’t mean you will get everything, but at least you’ve given everything you’ve got to try and get it. And like I said earlier, what’s life without a little risk? It’s the same as a life without dreams. Boring. A person will just sail through life, living but not really experiencing what there is. If you’re living this life once, why not make the most of it? Why not challenge yourself and figure out what your limitations are? If fear is holding you back, think about what you can do to over come it. It’s obviously easier said than done, like many things in life, but would you want to live a life full of what-ifs and maybes or the feeling of being proud of yourself?
My skydiving experience was a real eye-opener. I realized the limitations I thought I had were wrong and it’s all about what you can and will dedicate yourself into doing. I don’t think I had ever felt so proud of myself before that moment and that feeling is so overwhelming but so amazing I want to feel it more often. I mean, it’s one thing having someone feel proud of you, but to feel it for yourself because you did something is another feeling all together.
Am I making any sense?
I hope so.
I think it’s a little funny how skydiving had to be the event to make me see this, but hey, it’s different for everyone, right?
So, if you’re scared of heights, I definitely recommend skydiving (and even if you’re not scared of heights, skydiving is definitely something you should try if it interests you!). The next time life presents you with an opportunity to face your fear, whatever it is, take it. Take it and run! You’ll regret it if you don’t, and even if the outcome isn’t what you wanted, at least you tried.
It’s good to be back!