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skydiving as a way to conquer one’s fear of heights…

April 17th, 2010

I’ve long been afraid of heights – for example if I’m standing on a rooftop in Manhattan and edge too close to the edge I will hyperventilate. I also cannot stand climbing up ladders or standing too close to windows in high-rise buildings.

What better way to face my fear of heights than skydive? Brave, or totally foolish?

A good family friend, Brett, has gone skydiving many times and talked me into going. Late last year one of the places he frequents was selling discounted skydiving certificates, so I bought one and of course put off using it until the last minute.

I scheduled my first skydiving experience for last Wednesday, just a few days before I was to fly to New Orleans and start my Great Escape. What better way to start traveling than face my fear of heights and jump out of a plane? Good idea, right? In the weeks leading up to skydiving I felt very nervous and scared about it, but since I had so much to do anyway (packing, selling stuff, moving, etc.) I didn’t focus on it too much. As the day to jump neared the fear dissipated and gave over to excitement.

Brett and I arrived at Sky Dance Skydiving and I went through my training. I was feeling excited about jumping until I discovered I’d be jumping out of a tiny Cessna. My tandem partner walked me through how we’d be jumping out and that’s when I started to feel a twinge of nervousness. I’m a big girl and maneuvering my substantial six-foot frame out of a tiny Cessna with a man strapped to my back, at 9,000 feet in the air, did not seem like something I particularly wanted to do. However, it was too late to turn back.

We piled into the Cessna – myself, my tandem partner, the camera/video guy, and the pilot, and flew up 9,000 feet. The flight up was peaceful. I didn’t start to feel nervous until the door to the Cessna opened and the camera man stepped out. That’s when I started to freak out a little. But I obeyed my tandem partner and followed his directions and stepped out onto the wheel, put my hands on the wing and threw my body back into the wind.

The only way I can describe the free fall is intensity. An intense feeling falling through the sky, feeling the wind, gasping for air, heart in my throat… a huge adrenaline rush. And then the parachute was pulled and we floated peacefully down to the earth below.

I definitely want to skydive again! And again, and again, and AGAIN!!! I loved it. I think everyone should do it – even if you have a fear of heights – it’s totally fun! I can’t wait to do it again!

3 Responses to “skydiving as a way to conquer one’s fear of heights…”

  1. morgan says:

    !!

    I hear you about putting the dive off for the lat minute…and putting the fears out of your mind until you were about the walk out of that wee Cessna.

    I’m not afraid of heights, but I think I’m afraid of stepping out of a plane at 9000 feet up. Some part of my being recoils at the very thought.

  2. The Zodiac says:

    I am soooo doing this sometime in the summer!! There are a miliion places out in the PHX area that have skydiving. There’s no way I’m NOT doing this. That and buying a motorcycle. :D

  3. Rebekah says:

    Shit yes!!
    I’ve always wanted to do that. Its so awesome that you went through with it despite your fears.

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