Day 7-13 Flying In and Out of Control

I’m skipping ahead. Way ahead. Like 6 days ahead. I was out of town last week for a writing conference, and what I didn’t account for was that I would not have access to a regular internet connection or any regular sense of time. I was crazy busy. I didn’t eat well or get much sleep, and by the time I left, I was a mess. I boarded the airplane in my pajamas at 5:30 am after about 2 hours of sleep. It was a small plane, and I had the last seat, right next to the bathroom. I hate the back of the plane. It’s bouncy, and my neurosis tells me that it’s more dangerous, that if the plane splits in half, 30,000 feet in the air, the back of the plane has no chance. As if the front might. As if the pilot is skilled enough to coast that half to safety. I never said I was healthy. Flying makes me unhealthy, so does lack of sleep. Here I was, messy and sleep deprived – I hadn’t even brushed my teeth in my hurry to get to the airport – in the back of the plane, fretting about turbulence, and then the pilot announces that we will be flying through a blizzard. I could feel myself panic. It’s a short flight, I told myself, no big deal. The pilot wouldn’t fly if it were dangerous. I curled up my jacket and rested my head on it, tucked my legs under me, and tried to sleep. It didn’t work, but the flight was relatively smooth until we got closer to Omaha. All of a sudden, it was not so smooth, and I was not so calm. As we lurched and ducked through the air, falling closer to the earth, I began to lose it. I was sweating and my heart was pounding as I clutched the armrests, my mouth dry. I suddenly missed my children and I was close to tears. Instead of guzzling the collection of airplane vodka minis, which is what I wanted to do, I kept me head to the wall, shut my window shade, and repeated the phrase, this is completely out of my control, this is completely out of my control, over and over, until I could see the ground again, until I heard the wheels drop, until we landed safely on the runway. For some reason, relinquishing control gave me an unusual sense of comfort. Once I focused on the fact that there was nothing I could do, that I needed to fully trust someone else for my safety, I felt calm. It’s a strange concept for me. Because I am so used to being in charge of my life, of managing my job, my writing, my family, I never knew how liberating it could be to give up, give in, and trust. I like it. It’s exhilarating and nerve racking, but also kind of beautiful, if you’re brave enough to open your eyes and look around. I’m flying to Istanbul in May; I’ll have to remember to enjoy it, to look around, and to breathe.

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One thought on “Day 7-13 Flying In and Out of Control

  1. Pingback: don’t panic | Out of the Chrysalis

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