Thursday, March 02, 2006

overcoming fear of flying

Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain.-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today, I made yet another small step in overcoming a longstanding fear of flying, of teeny weeny planes and being at the mercy of the raging unknown land where I do not have "control".

I flew in a Cessna Skyhawk across Houston and it was an absolutely glorious ride!! I absolutely LOVED it. Takeoff and landing was a breeze! I thought it would be scarier or more bumpy than a jetliner, but in fact it was smoother and easier. It surprised me how quickly you take off of the runway, and how smooth the landing. I am sure it is not always this way, but today it was the perfect flight.

When I first got to the airport, standing outside the plane the size of a car, I thought, "What have I got myself into?!" Earlier in the week, I seriously considered just letting the videographer go with the pilot and I'd stay with my feet safely on the ground.

What you have to understand is I had a paralyzing fear of planes and flying for many years. As a kid, I flew back and forth between my parents by myself, from age 8 or so. After I met my then-husband and sometime after the big massacre in Luby's Cafeteria in Texas around 1992, I started to let fear stop me from doing certain things, including flying. I'd fly, but very very rarely. My ex and the kids DROVE 10,000 miles - to Alaska and back - if that gives you an idea of the preference I had to drive than fly!

They were certainly irrational fears. You could recite the statistics about how planes are safer than driving until you're blue in the face. Yada yada yada. Whatever. It didn't matter. When I let the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see grizzly bears up close at Alaska's McNeil River slip away because of my fear of a float plane, soon after, during my divorce I vowed to not let my fear stop me from doing the things I love. Which meant I better get my little hiney into some airplanes. And fly I did! I have flown a dozen legs, in the past 2 years since my divorce, to the Bahamas, to visit my dad in Oregon, to ski in Colorado (also a first), to New York City, to Virginia, to Florida...

But the little teeny weeny Cessna? Now that is a different story. I truly thought I was going to hurl - before we left the ground. But I said a prayer, crossed my heart, and felt lifted as on the wings of an eagle as we soared slowly up above the Addicks Reservoir, above the trees, across the suburban sprawl. What a rush. We flew up the San Jacinto River to view the sand mining devastation from the air. It was a bit hazy, but I think we got some great footage. I enjoyed it so much, I seriously considered that perhaps one day, I might just take flying lessons.

1 comment:

Sus said...

I've always wanted to go up in a small plane to get a more intimate view of the earth then what you get from a regular passenger plane. Glad you enjoyed the ride!