Fear Factor

I believe facing your fears makes you a stronger person by building up your self esteem and helping you overcome dealing with the fear of a lack of control. For us control oriented people that is a big one. That is how I became a scuba diver even though water was an element I never felt comfortable in because I never really learned how to swim properly. The other problem I have in the water is I don’t float very well which I believe is due to my inability to feel comfortable in the water. When I was getting certified to scuba dive, one of the things we had to do was tread water in the deep end of the pool for ten minutes which I could not do. As a result I didn’t get my certification until I had made three dives which I was able to accomplish because I wore a buoyancy compensator that helped me stay afloat.

Another one of my fears is of heights. So of course when my Husband asked what I wanted for one of my big birthdays, I said a skydiving lesson. Fortunately he bought me one that didn’t expire because it took me 6 months to build up the nerve to take the lesson. The day of my jump, I was very anxious but I just kept reminding myself how great I was going to feel after it was over. My Sisters met me at the course so they could take pictures and after a short review with the skydive school about what to expect during our jump, we got suited up.

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My first jump was a tandem one and I was introduced to my jumping partner, a young man who immediately put me at ease. There were about 10 of us jumping out of the plane and after getting to 14,000 feet in the air, our jumping partners, who wore the parachute, hooked up to our backs with the harness we wore and each of us moved closer to the open plane hatch to get into position to exit the plane. When the jump light turned green, my partner told me to lean my head back and we launched. The feeling as I soared through the air at 120 miles per hour is indescribable.

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The instructor tried to do some free fall maneuvers but I was feeling a little nauseous and asked him to stop which he did. I was losing all sense of time during my jump but after only about 60 seconds of a high adrenaline free fall, my instructor tapped me on the shoulder to pull the cord and activate my parachute. The parachute deployment had a big kickback which I wasn’t prepared for but I was able to overcome the discomfort immediately as I looked down and saw the ground coming closer and I just prayed that I was going to land on my feet and it wouldn’t hurt.

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I landed on my butt and it was incredibly smooth. After it was over all I could do was just sit on the ground for about 15 minutes and bask in how great the experience was and the incredible accomplishment of facing another fear.

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