In the Face of Fear

When I was 19, I jumped out of an airplane. So it might surprise you to hear that I’m afraid of heights.

I don’t like standing near windows in tall buildings, and when I’ve had seats in a suite for an event at the Civic Center, I stay toward the back of the box — because somehow it seems like I’m less likely to fall out if the whole box goes crashing into the crowd below. Driving on mountain roads near cliffs is…torturous. I don’t generally mind planes just because you’re so far removed from the earth, it’s kind of unreal.

Jumping out of the plane, though, that was a new level of terror. I didn’t really do my homework, so I found myself having to climb out onto a wing of the plane rather than just throwing myself out of a door. My leg barely reached the strut so it flapped in the wind while my stomach did somersaults. Eventually I managed to get out onto the wing, and my tandem instructor and I were flying in the face of every shred of common sense I ever had. I immediately curled up into a ball and started screaming!! After I saw the earth-the sky-the earth-the sky go by me a few times, I realized I was panicking and doing exactly what I wasn’t supposed to do.  Eventually I regained my composure and we tumbled toward the ground in a more orderly fashion. Continue reading