I’m sitting in the airport restaurant after my flight to catch my self. Fears are something I always try to conquer, and I have conquered my fear of flying, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
My heart raced. My palms were sweaty. I could feel every bump, jerk and bounce the plane made as it cruised thirty-nine thousand miles above the ground. My heart is still in my throat. My fear is not a mild fear, oh we are going to crash mentality. No, mine is soul crushing memories that spike my anxiety.
My first memory of flying still haunts me. I can feel the crushing pain of it all. For a five year old child scared out of his head the worst possible thing could have been to make me fly on a plane. I’ve told Margo the story a billion times over. It never changes, the memory is seared into my head.
I had just sparked – the curtains caught on fire and my mother spat at me sending me to my room and violently packing my things and hurrying me out the door into her truck and we hurled down the highway to the airport in Denver. I watched the mountains slip past us. I remember feeling lost and confused. My mother was glaring at me, yelling at me for every little sound I made that I stuffed my face into my little stuffed Mushu dragon from Mulan and I cried and tried not to let my mother hear me.
My mother dragged me kicking and screaming onto the plane that I was certain would crash to the ground in a fireball of my own creation. She didn’t understand as she shoved me into my seat and strapped me down. The belt was so tight it felt like it was crushing my legs and hips. I remember squirming and getting smacked for my attempt to escape. The growl and firmness in my mother’s jaw informed me she meant business. I held my tongue and my body close to me as I whimpered into my only friend. He at least would help me through this time as I lost everything I’d ever know, ever loved.
The jerk of the plane as we ascended into the sky made me scream and my mother covered my mouth with her rough smoke covered skin and I did all I could just to breathe and not vomit all over the place. When we leveled out, I felt like the world was pressing in on me, I could barely breathe, my ears hurt so much my jaw ached. The landing wasn’t any better. I bit into Mushu’s plush skin and held my scream for fear of the beating my mother would give me for being loud again.
The ground was hard and I nearly fell into it as we started walking inside the terminal. My mother stood around waiting, she roughly pushed me into a chair and I sat and waited, watching the crowd go around and around. Never saw the same person twice, until a man came to me. He smelled like my mother of cigarette smoke, but where my mother had nothing but contempt for me he had a kind smile. The thought of that smile gives me shivers now. The universe was shitting on me and I didn’t even know it yet.
This trip was not traumatic. I didn’t scream or even squawk. I was grateful for not having super human strength or the arm rests could be permanently damaged from the grip I had on them. My breathing was increased and the people next to me were keenly aware of my fear as I drowned in the music of my iPod. But it was uneventful, I conquered my fear.
So now I sit catching my breath, drinking a beer and eating a small meal before I go to my new home for the foreseeable future. Here’s to conquering another fear!