Sunday, August 30, 2009

Terminal Velocity



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.

19 comments:

Amber (Girl with the red hair) said...

SO badass. Way to go! That is some scary shit!!!

Melissa W said...

Meghan, you are the ultimate badass girl right now! I am so impressed and amazed you did it.

Lanette said...

You may possibly be my new hero(in). Congrats!

Kelsey said...

Amazing!!! My friend Shelby is going and has been trying to convince me to tag along for weeks.

You may have inspired me enough to just do it.

Atta girl!

Candy's daily Dandy said...

OH WOW!!

You sooooooo bad ass now!

Congrats!

Tricia said...

Girl, YOU ROCK!!!!! That is awesome and terrifying and I could not do it.

miku said...

OMG! I am terrified of heights. The fact that you conquered your fear makes you not only badass, but mega awesome too.

I really want to face my vertigo too, but I still can't muster up the courage.

Slyde said...

you are fucking awesome! i cant believe you did it!

SplitRock Dozer said...

You are badass!

LiLu said...

I actually went once, but it thunderstormed and we couldn't go.

I've never been so glad.

You are braver than I, lady friend. Good for you. ;-)

FoggyDew said...

Strong work! A friend of mine has a couple hundred jumps and keeps trying to get me to go. No joy on that one...yet.

Congrats! You da Woman!

...love Maegan said...

omg YES TOTAL BADASS! How'd you do it? I've bungie{d} but never this. I'm not that brave. Congrats on facing so many fears at one.

Taylor said...

Wow, you are DEFINITELY badass now. That's pretty impressive :)

And I love your profile, especially "pirates are my homies" and "funny=sexy". It's so true.

Lad Litter said...

Congrats on doing what I never, ever could. Not without brown trousers, anyway. And I loved your vivid descriptions - anyone reading your post would get a great idea of just what it's like.

mike said...

Next time, you should totally add the extra two elements of making a sandwich and screwing just after jumping in mid air.

Not that screwing while in costume making a grilled cheese sandwich isn't like, cool.

It's just that you're with the same guy and you could SO do a topper. Really.

I wonder if guinness world records would induct that? Now that would rock ;)

Meghan said...

Amber- thanks!

Melissa- thanks, so am I (amazed)

Lanette- that's so sweet :)

Kelsey- do it!

Candy-thanks!

Tricia-if I can do it, anyone can do it ;)

Miku- you'll be glad you did :)

Slyde- I can't either!

Splitrock- Totally bad ass :P

Lilu- you totally would have done it if not for the thunderstorm, right? Right?....

Foggydew- do it!

Maegan- the thing is I'd never bungee jump...to each their own I guess!

Taylor- you always want pirates on your side, I suspect.

Ladlitter- thanks :)

Mike- who sez we didn't? I don't blog about everything you know :P

Andy said...

Can I just say my heart when right up to my throat just by READING this? So proud of you, girl!

Racquel Valencia said...

Jesus. I never could have done that. Congratulations!!!

Bruce said...

Every since I read the older post that you were going to do this, I thought, 'Yeah Right'.....another hair brained idea. But now that you have done it, Bravo. I did it in my youth and so has my wife. You have joined an exclusive 'bad ass' club. You will never be lacking for interesting stories to relate at cocktail parties.

Most of the time life is measured in baby steps....but once in a while it is measured in 3000 foot steps. Congratulations.

(you might want to consider getting serious with the grilled cheese dude....he sounds like a keeper)