Many years ago, while living in Southern California, I decided to try taking swimming classes.Â You see, I never learned to swim as a kid and, because of a scary incident when I was young, I have always been terrified of the water.Â There was a class through the parks and rec department where weÂ lived that offered a swimmingÂ class for adults who didn’t know how, and I decided to give it a shot.Â I showed up, got in the pool with about 10 other non-swimming adults, and the teacher told us to dunk our heads under the water.Â The other 10 students dunked their heads and I began to cry.Â Sobbing is probably a better description.Â I realized pretty quickly that there was no way I could learn to swim.Â The teacher was very sweet and let me sit in the water and cry through the entire class.Â After it was over, I told her I just didn’t think I could do itÂ and that I should just drop.Â She was once again very sweet and said that while she hoped I would return, she would understand if I didn’t.Â I surprised her and myself when I showed up to the next class.Â And the class after that.Â And I showed up to every class over the next 6 weeks.Â By the time the 6 weeks was over, I was able to “swim” using a kickboard or some sort of flotation device.Â Although I’ve never completely overcome my fear of water enough to swim without some sort of device, the fact that I can enjoy myself in a pool is huge.Â The instructor even went on to use me as an example to others in her future classes.
So… yesterday I got to the airport and started crying.Â Now, this seemed downright silly to me because I’ve flown before.Â It’s not like the swimming classes, in which I was so afraid of the water I simply never got into a pool.Â (Actually,Â I attempted water aerobics in the past, but it was difficult to perform the exercises when you’re clutching the wall with one hand).Â I think part of it was the stress of everything else happening in my life, but the other part was from the knowledge that I was putting myself in this fear-inducing event without any kind of reward at the end (i.e. a vacation destination and a week before having to return).Â In any case, “Captain Ron” (the airline pilot who conducts the classes) was as nice as my swimming instructor and told me that if I didn’t feel like I could go through with it, I could always use the ticket another day.Â When the other tudents saw me, they expressed relief that they weren’t alone. Even though they weren’t crying, they were just as scared, nervous, and anxious as I was.Â I decided to attend the short lecture beforehand, where we were reminded of what causes the different sounds and sensations that we were about to experience.Â We ran through several relaxation and distraction techniques.Â And then it was time to leave.Â I was still crying as we walked to the gate, but I decided to do it.Â I even managed to muster up a smile for my hubby (who had been allowed to go through security as an escort in case I changed my mind and needed a ride home).
Caption Ron was nice enough to sit next to me on the flight and he explained everything I was experiencing as it was happening.Â Before I knew it, we were landing in Burbank.Â Once the other passengers had disembarked, the flight’s pilot gave us all permission to sit inside the cockpit.
I have to say that I love the fact that they have a drink cup holder just like my car has.
Anyway, once the crew changed over, we were back on the same plane and heading back to Phoenix.Â I started out much less anxious during take-off, although I freaked out a bit once we had lifted off because we immediately started banking to the right.Â As Captain Ron explained to me (because he was once again nice enough to sit next to me), there’s a mountain just off to the left of the runway, so once we hit 400 feet, we start banking.Â The flight home was pretty uneventful, except for some really bouncy turbulence once we heat the heat of Phoenix (which was hell for about 20 minutes).
After we were on the ground, we all met up in a conference room and talked about the experience.Â It ends up that we all hated the take-off and turbulence, but we were also excited to have made it through the class.Â Â Here I am after the flights with Captain Ron and one of the class facilitators Diane.
I learned aÂ few things by doing this flight.Â One is that while I think I’m a big baby and hate that I end up crying during these stressful fear conquering events, I end up being a huge inspiration to everyone in the end.Â It’s kinda like “if Nancy can do this, so can I!”Â I would prefer to have someone else inspiring me once in a while, but it’s nice knowing that I can help someone else through my tears.Â I also learned that even as I become more comfortable with the mechanics of flying (take-offs, landings, etc.), I will always hate banking and turbulence.Â Another thing I learned is that the dizziness I was experiencing on the plane might have been coming fromÂ the antihistamine I had been taking before flying.Â For these flights, I had decided that if I was going to try and conquer my fear, that I wanted to also prove to myself that I could do it without fuzzying up my mind.Â It ends up that without the antihistime, I didn’t getÂ dizzy like I normally do.Â Because I wasn’t dizzy, I was able to work on the Sudoku book that I had brought with me.Â Which brings me the third thing I learned.Â Sudoku is evil!Â I had resisted the temptation to try it until this past week, and I managed to figure out how to play it while on the plane.Â I. can’t. put. it. down.Â I’m not knitting.Â I’m not spinning.Â All I can do is play the stupid game.Â Evil!
Thanks to everyone who posted their supportive comments.Â I can’t tell you how much it meant to me that you all assumed I would brave the flight rather than chicken out!
Oh, by the way (and on a completely different topic), our offer on the house got rejected.Â There’s a bit of a long story behind the rejection that I won’t bother going into.Â But essentially, the seller won’t come down to the price we’re willing to pay.Â We were disappointed, but we were prepared for the offer to be rejected (we were offering about $25k lower than they were asking for).Â It’s just unfortunate because it was the first house we had seen in 6 months that we liked well enough to put an offer on.
I’ve gotta go.Â I have to, uh, do laundry.Â Not Sudoku.Â I swear…