changes, fear, reflections, transformations

on learning to fly

I thought I’d be terrified, but it was the least scared I’ve ever been in my entire life. I remember a group of middle-aged women on the ground shouting out, “You’re brave!” but that may well be my imagination as much as anything else. I know I felt it, though, but it didn’t feel like normal bravery; it felt like peace and freedom and acceptance of life in the moment and wanting my life always to make as much sense as it did in the three minutes (or fewer) in which I flew through the air.

When I came down, I was speechless, so much so that my son (who took the video) didn’t know what to make of it; he hasn’t seen me at a loss of words barely ever over the past decade-plus of his life. It didn’t help a half-hour later when we found ourselves a few yards away from James Spader as he filmed scenes from The Blacklist and heart palpitations nearly had me keeling over. [That man exudes a deadly and unnatural proportion of pheromones and must be studied by science when he dies. I’m serious.]

In any case, this makes me wonder what else I’ve been afraid of for so long that, if attempted, would turn out to be exhilarating rather than traumatizing. Probably a great portion of my fears are imaginary, or at least manufactured; after all, the only person holding me back from accomplishing anything in life (including conquering fear) is me, and it has been for some time now.

So let us think of this video not just as evidence of a woman who took a chance and went bungee jumping because it looked like a fun carnival ride but also as an example of a person who decided to let one less fear prevent her from trying something new, one Thursday evening in Brooklyn, with her son as witness to a certain sort of transformation that neither one of them would ever truly appreciate except in retrospect, if and when other fears were laid aside.