Something strange has happened to me lately.
I noticed it creeping up on me for the past few months; or rather I noticed the absence of it creeping up on me.
That fear that would start a week or more before I knew I was soon to board a plane. It’s a fear I’ve had since my first flight to Bali in 1995. I’ve flown hundreds of times since then and my fear never lessened, getting worse with time and when I became a mother.
Since writing those posts for the past 6 months, I have noticed that the fear has slowly started to dissipate. It was nowhere near as bad as what it once was. In fact, I started to feel a little silly for having it. I mean, thoughts of death don’t plague me when I get into a car.
We flew to LA a couple of weeks ago for our Carnival Cruise to Mexico. I was elated. Not just because of the fun we had on the cruise, but because I was not scared flying at all.
Not in the weeks leading up, not in boarding, not in the pull back from the gangway, and not when the flight took off, usually the moment when I fall to pieces (unlike this lady who thought going to the toilet during take-off is a good idea).
I didn’t even need bourbon, wine, or a bop to the head to knock me out. (Although I did have a gin, a wine, and baileys) And on the way home, I slept for a good six hours, waking every now and then with the rattling of the turbulent plane. No thoughts of falling out of the sky, I just felt like I was on a bus in Cambodia.
Last weekend I was slightly nervous about flying a small twin propeller regional airplane. I think I was slightly nervous through habit. As the plane took off and rattled a bit, I stared out the window enjoying every second. I was at peace.
I thought long and hard as to why now. Why after all these years and flights have I finally gotten a grip and the fear has left me?
I think it is simply because I chose to own my fear and control it.
When we bury our fears deep within us, we give the fear the power. We allow the fear the space to bury itself and take control. We let it dominate our minds and do stupid things like hide in our bedrooms, wave goodbye to our dreams, or drink bourbon for breakfast.
When we stand up and admit our fears, we take our control back. We own it and in the owning we refuse to let it tell us how to run our life. Once you own the fear its power starts to melt away.
What fears have you learned to own and control?