I still haven't gotten over airline flights: the magic, the mystery, the fear. Yesterday morning we were in San Diego, two time zones away. This morning, I wake up in heat and humidity and the Central Time Zone of home. Before we lifted off, Mallory asked me, "How does the plane fly?" I said she needed to ask Daddy denying my feminist self. I have no idea how the plane works, and I ain't got time for that, I just need to take a half of Zanax, put my head down and roll with it. It has taken me several years to understand that's just what I need to do to fly. Well, truthfully I figured it out once again five minutes before she asked.
Before her inquiry, I thought, I'm not having any claustrophobia at all. A moment later, the flight attendant announced she had good news and bad news. As I looked up for the first time to the front of the plane, my stomach curled both with the visual of the rows and people ahead of me and the thought that there was bad news. (All I could comprehend now was the nightmare of being stuck on a plane for 9 hours on the runway.) I immediately got out my pill bottle and took the half that was left from the previous flight seven days ago. Mallory was telling me that she really didn't like flying. I thought, one of us needs to be medicated and I don't know what her dosage would be.
So I held her hand and Riley's hand who hates takeoff and away we went.
Even after flying for the last twenty odd years, it is still simply amazing to me. To be in one place one thousand seven hundred miles away and then bam, three and a half hours later, I am across the country.
I use to try to white knuckle my way through flights. I thought there was something wrong with me that I needed to take medicine. I have claustrophobia and I don't like being in enclosed spaces. I had several bad experiences on planes which I now know where panic attacks. And then a few years ago after trial and error, I discovered there was medicine to help. I found a primary care doctor who I felt comfortable with and have had the same bottle of anti-anxiety pills since 2011. I don't fly that often.
I also use to have a hard time having fun. For some reason, I didn't think I deserved it. I didn't put myself out there. I didn't make plans. I scratch my head now and think, why did I think that? (I wasn't worthy….)
It doesn't matter any more. I have learned to have fun. Not just in flying to California but in the little everyday things. Each day, I can make myself miserable or change my thought patterns, and accept things the way they are or change them. Once I made the choice of conscious living, everything changed bit by bit, I was no longer the victim. I now have my sense of humor back and the sense of doom has departed. I do forget every now and then though, and I need a wake up call.
San Diego was fun. Los Angeles was even more of a blast for me. Food poisoning was not. But it happened and I recovered and moved on. The beaches were utterly spectacular. They transformed me instantaneously to a relaxed space the moment we stepped out of the car. Getting away and exploring new places is a wonderful adventure. It has taken me years to know that traveling is my right and privilege and I'm so grateful that I can do it. And… it doesn't have to look perfect.
And I'm so grateful to know that every day is an opportunity for white knuckling fear or for love. Most every day I choose love now.