Thursday, February 19, 2015

Indiana Jones and the Flight from Hell

I used to be a great flier. 

Left my bag in California? Whatever. Delays? Cool. Oh, you want me to sit in the middle seat so you can have the aisle? Heck yeah!

But not so much on a particularly bad time in my life, a few years ago, I happened to be on a flight back home. I had broken up with my not-so-nice boyfriend, I was still mourning for the lose of my grandmother and brother and I was ready to quit my very stressful job.  And that's the exact moment we hit turbulence. 

It was the roughest flight I've ever been on. A drop would come so deep and sudden that the rest of the passengers would gasp or let loose a small cry and grab the walls or the seat in front of them. We were instructed not to leave our seats (no really, not even to pee...) and to put anything heavier than a short paperback novel under our seats. Flight attendants, stay seated; no drink service today. My normally steel-stomach was suddenly not but jello. I had a death grip on the arm rests and had my feet wedged under the seat in front to keep me stable. And for the first time in an airplane, I felt gripped by a paralyzing fear. I felt like I was going to die. I couldn't breath. A panic attack. I had had one before so I knew what I was in for. 

I allowed myself a few tears, a couple gulping breathes and then with everything I had, I pushed it way, way down. Not healthy, not happy but better than getting tazed by the air marshal. I held my breath until it subsided enough so I could get control. I took a puff from my inhaler. Hold. I repeated a mantra that I still use to this day. "Smooooooooooth" over and over again under my breath as I breath out through my mouth, in through the nose. It was 3 hours of hell. 

I never quite recovered from that. I'm still not a great flyer. I fear dying and leaving my parents and friends behind in a horrifying grief that I know so well. I fear the pain of a violent death. I fear not having control over my own end.  

I have to remind myself of some important things. First and foremost, travel is worth it. It's half a day of stress for 3-4 weeks of wonderful adventures.  Second, I think about Indiana Jones.
Indiana was flying to far off lands in the 30's and 40's. Commercial flights back then were so very different. Malfunctions, crashes and other terrifying statistics were much higher. (Something I won't get into since I am currently flying as I write this...) And not to mention the fact that commercial flights didn't use the jet stream until after the war which meant much rougher air and much longer flight times. (On my last trip to Hawaii, I found a framed advert from a 50's magazine claiming "LA to Hawaii in only 10 1/2 hours!" Woof.) 

So when it gets bumpy, I think of Indy and how he wouldn't think twice about these little ups and downs. He would just tip his hat over his eyes and fall fast asleep. At least until Willy starts screaming.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Love. It's a motherfucker.

Want some love advice? Too bad cause here it comes.

Here's some things I've learned that I wish someone had told me and then I had actually followed their advice. What can I say? My heart is an idiot.

(Quick qualifier: are you hurting yourself or others? No? Excellent! In that case then...)

Don't you change; do what you do.
You are weird, it's nothing to be ashamed of. Rock out to Taylor Swift AND Slayer... at the same time. Roll that D20 and dress up like Legolas! Get your Furry on, get out there and find yourself another Furry to skritch around with. (I don't get it but whatever floats your boat!) There is no shame in what you are.

By the way, gender doesn't determine what you should or shouldn't like either. Does anyone remember Katie? Rock on, Katie.

A couple tests

  • Do they ask you questions? Ask about your life, how you are, how you are dealing with things? Do they seem interested in you as a person? I know that sounds really obvious but sometimes it's not. I found myself on a girl's weekend, friends who I haven't seen in months, when one of them turned to me and asked,  "So how are you, really? What's going on in your life?" and I was struck dumb. I realized that no one had really asked me those questions in a long time. This person in question should want to know about you.
  • If this person judges you, criticizes you, looks at you funny when you wear that hat, thinks you are way overdressed for the party, makes a remark about the way you talk, laugh, do your job and/or live in anyway, drop them like a rock. A big stupid heavy rock that isn't at all shiny or fun.
  • The first time you are vulnerable and/or cry in front of that person, notice how they react. If it isn't 100% with understanding and care, they are not the one for you.
  • Lastly, they should make you feel like you and what you have to say are important. If you don't feel like they hold you in high esteem, time to move on.

Celebrating You
Dave Grohl of The Foo Fighters once said, "I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. If you fucking like something, like it." So with that very wise comment, I'm officially coming out of the closet. The dance music closet. I love dance music. If you can shake your ass to it, I love it. I also love board games and puzzles. And I really want to learn to play D&D cause it sounds like fun. I love Disney and Harry Potter. I will put a rhinestone on anything because I love glitter. I'm tired of hiding all that stuff so I'm going to celebrate it instead. This person should do the same.

I'm not saying it will be easy. In fact, it's almost impossible. To find someone who likes you exactly the way you are is a monumental task. Someone who loves you even though you are crazy, forgetful, confused. Someone who treats you with respect and care. Someone who doesn't need you to change. That is a large feat.

Good luck. You'll need it.