My heart races and my hands shake. I hear the ding and feel the rev of the engines as they are fired up. We gain speed, pushing down the runway, faster and faster until I feel the lift, reaching for the sky. I am breathing harder now, heart a flutter in my chest, as we shoot upwards. I’m frightened and a little bit exhilarated, but not sure which is the stronger emotion.
Some days, getting on an airplane is the easiest thing to do. The ability to travel for free, to go to new cities, see friends and family all over the country, is a gift. A gift that I have been blessed with for most of my life. My father was a commercial pilot, my mother a flight attendant, my husband a commercial pilot as well. I grew up in airports, on airplanes, traveling the world.
And sometimes its a curse. Because I can’t control the irrational fear that overtakes me sometimes. I can’t control the shaking of my hands, or the pounding of my heart. I can’t control the tears that sometimes come unbidden, embarrassing for someone so seasoned at this. And I know it’s irrational, unwarranted. That it is more dangerous for me to drive the hour to the airport than it is to fly. But still, sometimes it creeps up on me, surprises me as I board the plane on shaky legs.
I know that it’s safe. I know that my husband does it 3-4 times a day, 3-4 days a week. I know that he wouldn’t let me take the kid if it weren’t. I understand the physics, understand the safety measures in place. But it doesn’t matter. Because one day, I’ll be totally fine, and the next I’ll be a total basket case. It’s a crap shoot.
But the thing is, I’ll never stop flying. To me it is a necessity, my way to keep in touch with my family and friends. It can scare me all it wants, but I will never stop doing it. And hopefully one day? I will make this irrational fear my bitch.
What irrational fears do you have? How do you face them?