(This post was pieced together in the midnight hours during the last two days of moving and done entirely on my iphone…so just a head’s up. Please forgive the formatting and weird typing)
For my 25th birthday, I decided to go skydiving. I do not totally remember what my burning motivation was, but I recall wanting do something terrifying and to face my fear head on. Somehow my husband bravely and generously agreed to do it with me so off we went.
When the day came, we drove up to Lompoc, CA and got all suited up and oriented by our tandem professional divers. Basically, our job was to pay attention, know where the emergency pull strings were and remember to extend our legs when we landed so as not to break them unnecessarily. Since we were relying entirely on the skills and expertise of these complete strangers to keep us alive and safe, it was an exercise in complete and total trust.
I knew what I was doing was dangerous and risky, but that it just might also be a once in a lifetime opportunity. I had a relationship with fear that I wanted to break through; I didn’t want it to paralyze me and stop me from fulfilling my dreams and goals.
Of course , the reality of what we were doing didn’t really sink in until the tiny, rattley plane packed full of divers ascended to its diving altitude. There at 12,000 feet, I watched my husband silently fall out of the plane with his tandem diver, backwards from the plane’s exit hatch. There was something about watching him fall back with arms outstretched, knowing we were as high as we were, that made me want to vomit and stop the charade right there. But it was also the point of no return and before I knew it, I too was being pulled out of the exit door. I closed my eyes for that part and when I opened them we were free falling toward earth. Those seconds were the most frightening of my life; even now, just thinking about them brings hot tears of terror to my eyes. I couldn’t think or feel anything but fear and panic. There it was. The ground. My life. My mortality. Coming at me faster than a freight train. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t move, but I kept my eyes open and it felt like forever until the chute finally inflated and we were suddenly floating. I was still scared, but the velocity had shifted so dramatically that my brain could now make sense of what was happening. I was able to enjoy maybe 15 seconds of the whole thing as I took a deep breath and saw the Pacific Ocean to my left and the coastal hills to my right. Then the next hurdle was landing in one piece. And land we did.
This last year I found myself paralyzed with fear more times than I care to count. I have been pushed emotionally and physically beyond the point of exhaustion, irrational, discouraged, depressed, ambivalent and outraged. There were many points where I didn’t know how we were going to get through it.
Until a door opened.
And even then, this is such a huge risk we are taking at such a vulnerable time that it has made these last months even more tumultuous trying to prepare and transition. I nearly pulled the plug on the whole operation a number of times because the risk is so great and the variables so numerable. And the fear of the unknown–just too much.
In the end there I was again, facing all my fears, trusting something bigger, trusting myself, standing in faith, pushing through when I am “stuck” and ultimately, just doing it.
This new adventure wasn’t my first choice, but without even knowing how it ends, it was the best choice.
And here I am. Here we are. Finally.
Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I’m tired of playing by the rules of someone else’s game.
Too late for second guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It’s time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes and leap
I’m through accepting limits
‘Cause someone says they’re so
Some things I cannot change
But ’til I try I’ll never know
It’s time to try defying gravity
I think I’ll try defying gravity
Kiss me goodbye I’m defying gravity
(And you won’t bring me down!)
(My musical theatre roots are going to show right now because for the last few months I have been humming this song from the broadway hit, “Wicked”. Except now I am going to throw some pop culture into the mix of this wayward post because the version I keep singing is the one from Glee. So there ya go. Enjoy )