I have a confession.
A fear, actually.
A number of them to be exact.
No, I don’t have a fear of flying in the most common sense of the term, the fear that affects about 40 percent of the worlds’ population. Pretty sure, as a flight attendant that if I displayed the phobia; white knuckle gripping my jump seat, hyperventilating, or Xanax bliss, I would quickly land myself in unemployment.
On the contrary, call me crazy, but I find turbulence entertaining, if only at times annoying when I am trying to walk through the aisle pulling a cart and hitting every passenger with my, what are really, not so big hips (If I got a dollar for every time a passenger accidentally bumped my derriere…).
I like watching planes take off and land. I like flying in small planes. My dad taught me to fly in our family’s Cessna 150 when I was sixteen. I’ve grown up in a family of aviators; dad’s a pilot, brother’s a pilot, mom’s a flight attendant. I remember at 4 years old my grandpa taking my brother and I for rides in his Cessna 182, taking off from the sod field next to our house. Oh the benefits of growing up on a farm. I guess being exposed to flying at such a young age gave me an opportunity to love it before I knew that it was something that I could fear. Flying is very safe, and to give perspective, the odds of being killed in an airplane are about 1 in 11,000,000, while the odds of getting killed in a car are just 1 in 5,000.
But, as I mentioned, I have these fears, fears that I hope to never experience.
(FYI, I’m not trying to make light of those that are legitimately afraid to fly. I acknowledge that my fears are not exactly in the same category as Pteromerhanophobia (thank you wikipedia), but take it for what it is. There’s my disclaimer).
I work with this Captain, and he always says, “There are those that have, and there are those that will…”
One time, I was walking down the aisle, carrying a passenger’s crutches, on a mission to locate an overhead bin with space to stow the awkwardly sized walking devices. As I walked my left foot caught on the strap of a bag that was sticking out into the aisle way, causing me to launch forward, the attention and gasps of five rows of passengers hooked on the drama unfolding. With my arms wrapped around the crutches, I stumble forward, gasping myself, barely catching my fall and the slew of expletives that were moments from impact. Immediately I turned to locate what, or who was responsible for the excitement. Locating said culprit, I leaned down, saying in an exasperated tone, “That is EXACTLY why we keep our bags OUT of the aisle.” The very apologetic older lady cowered like a puppy, quietly nodding an apology.
Another time, I fell flat on my bum, in the middle of a sidewalk at LAX, while waiting for the employee shuttle. The reason? My suitcase doubles nicely as a seat, but this time I wasn’t expecting a rolling, swivel chair. The pilots, crew members, and other various people observing the scene must have gotten a laugh out of that one. I was too embarrassed to check to see if anyone was laughing at me…or with me. I just assumed, how could they not?
If falling could be a talent, I wouldn’t be doing half bad…
So, do I have fears when it relates to the actual safety of flying or being on a plane? I have had moments where I feel an anxious pulse in my throat due to a diversion, a medical situation, or a possible emergency landing, but I trust my crew, my pilots and other flight attendants, and I have confidence in my training.
Mostly, I want to live my life in possibility, not in phobia. We all have fears and areas in our lives that we hate to face, but they don’t need to cripple and control, and honestly, most fears have little relevance, and our just products of vivid imaginations.
One day, on my way to work an afternoon trip, I had stopped to grab lunch. Walking back to my car, the warm, engulfing California sun shining and a light breeze blowing a few stray blonde hairs across my fair skin. Looking up, I squinted into the light, and thought:
“If this day was my last day ever, have I lived it? Have I done everything that I wanted to do today? Have I appreciated every moment?”
Make the answer Yes every time.
“Do one thing everyday that scares you.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt
Curious. Bubbly. Creative. Curating a life I don't need an escape from and inspiring you to do the same.