So, remember that list I have of completing 101 things to do in 1001 days? Yeah I haven't forgotten about it and have been slowly crossing things off....and managed to cross off #31 yesterday.
# 31:Do An Extreme Sport (click on the link to see photos)
So my one friend is a skydiving instructor. The one I have had Grilled cheese & costume/bondage sex with. And from the first time we met I have harassed him to take me falling from the sky and he has agreed to do so. But circumstance has always prevented us from doing so, and honestly I have always been relieved as to not have to actually go through with it. It sounds badass to say "I want to go but we just haven't managed to find a date that works."
But earlier this summer perhaps in drunk (post coital) bliss, I insisted that this is the summer we should go. Unfortunately he set a date around my schedule and held me to it. As any normal person would do to someone asking them. Well played. I'm not sure why I am surprised but when I got the text on Monday to say "Plane booked see you on the airfield Sat at 9am" it suddenly struck me in a peal of nervous crying and laughter how absurd it is.
I'm scared of heights. Always have been. And I'm a nervous flyer. With anxiety disorder. And so why not pay good money to jump out of a plane at 3000 feet all my myself (screw tandem) hurling towards the ground at terminal velocity. It was at this point that I questioned if anyone had ever peed in the jumpsuit before and said goodbye to all the guys I never had a chance to make out with before death. And made a will leaving it all to my cat including the shoes. No lie.
And yesterday.......................I did it. I fucken did it.
It was the hardest thing I think I've ever done physically and mentally. First off having "known" the instructor for other reasons made me really nervous as well as the fact that I was the freaking remedial kid in the class and kept freaking out and forgetting the steps. At least ten times I thought of backing out. Seriously. But while the others kicked back and chatted and waited for their turn, all day long in the hot sun I practised my jump. The course lasted all day going through everything from what to do if the plane goes down to emergency procedures to what to do if you go off course and hit a building. We went through best case and worst case scenarios. It was around lunch that K asked me how I was feeling and I gave him my most honest answer.
"I'm terrified. Absolutely terrified. I'm scared of heights. I'm scared. But not doing it is not an option."
He smiled and said it a great answer as real courage isn't not being scared. You should be scared when you jump out of a plane. Courage is being scared and doing it anyways. I've never been called courageous before but you wanna know what? I'm gonna take that compliment.
And so I practised. And kept practising. And kept practising. And finally it was time to suit up and jump. The parachute weighed about as much as me, the jumpsuit was stifling hot when in a dusty and insanely hot airfield. And we went up in the plane. The two other jumpers jumped and suddenly it was just the two of us in the plane, jumping at sunset. I was almost crying, I forgot to breathe (sounds ridiculous, but it happens) and almost hyperventilated, but we just looked into each others eyes and slowed breathing and held hands for what seemed like an eternity and then the door opened.....
And as much as they tell you in the class that it's an insanely strong wind, nothing will prepare you for it. It's like standing up in a convertible going 100+km an hour with a 40 (?) lb backpack and nerves. And you climb out on the wing, taking every ounce of brute strength to a certain point and on the cue, you let go. Except I didn't want to let go. So I ignored the command. Again on the second time. Sorry, but gut instinct told me not to let go and I was quite okay with keeping a death grip on the plane wing. I finally did let go, but found out afterwards he was about to pry my hands off anyways.
And then I forgot the proper arching procedure so almost flipped which would have screwed up my lines, but didn't and because of my screw up I actually got to see the moment my parachute opened. And after that, the view. It was hard to steer as it takes tons of strength to do so, and it takes a lot of trust in your flight coordinator as it seems like you're going way off target. But with no wind to help I managed to glide down and had what is considered a 'soft' landing despite faceplanting in the end.
And the feeling.......like nothing I can describe, despite the fact that over 12 hours later I can still feel the adrenaline pumping through my body. It was scary, but I did it. It was terrifying, but I did it. I almost chickened out, but I didn't and I fucken did it.
And it got me a thinking yesterday....I'm not the same person I was a five years ago. I'm not even the same person I was a year ago. Honestly I doubt I would have gone through with the jump at either points. Getting suddenly dumped was soul crushing in a way that has stung for longer than words can get into. But I built back up even stronger. If not for that I wouldn't have jumped on a plane with my best friend on a sudden trip across the globe. If not for that I wouldn't have dated some of the weird and wonderful men that have come in my life this past year. Honestly, if not for that I don't know if I would have jumped out of a plane yesterday.
But I did it. And it was amazing, and I am changed because of it. I feel scrappy and I don't feel like I can do anything right now. I know I can. The feeling of independence and power that I have right now is ethereal.
Oh and this totally gives me Bad Ass credibility too, right? Thought so.