Big, Easy Flight | Misadventures in the Dark

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Big, Easy Flight

Posted By on Wed, Dec 10, 2008 at 7:05 PM

The holiday season can inspire a great deal of wonderful, however, it also induces stress for many. I was among the many last December, a time which proved to be particularly trying for me. People often enter our lives for unexplainable reasons. They enter through the cracks in the window regardless of the barrier we place in front of the door. I’ve heard we are most self-centered when in a depressive state. As a mostly happy person, I struggled doubly in that pervasive sadness. In the midst of the sadness and chaos, I befriended a man named Chris. It was an easy friendship. I didn’t feel judged, critiqued or speculated.

On December 29th, Chris journeyed to New Orleans with his brother and his brother’s then-girlfriend. Chris contacted me mid-afternoon to inquire of how my weekend was going. I remember it well. 2pm and I was in bed watching “Forensic Files,” which was a common occurrence, more than likely fueling the destruction of my happiness. Negativity breeds negativity. He said, “You should get out of town. Join us here this evening.” I’m sure my response was mere laughter, but Chris insisted. He called to check on flight times, while I continued watching television, convinced I’d remain in this position until I was forced to move. Chris called moments later to alert me I was leaving (on a jet plane) in two hours.

 

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Chris and me in the French Quarter.  The background gives an illusion of wings. We were unaware of the background effect at the time.

I don’t like to fly. I am phobic. To define my intense distain for flying, I’ll paint a picture. Years ago, I was scheduled to fly to Chicago to visit a friend. While waltzing down the terminal (a horrible word) I felt pressure in my chest, a dizzy sensation, panic. I stopped a moment, feet pivoted 180 degrees, as I rerouted myself back to my car. I regret allowing the fear to win. The fear of flying is a real monster for me as I love to travel. It’s like a mermaid being afraid of water. I’m medicated these days when aboard a plane. The beauty of my flight on December 29, 2007? I flew alone. Alone without pills, alcohol, or obsession. Perhaps I didn’t have enough time to allow my thoughts to spiral towards the fear.
My friend Kate dropped me off at the airport. As we drove, she played a song titled “Taking Chances,” by Celine Dion. It summed up the moment well. Kate encouraged me. She said, “These are memories. Go. I wish I could go with you. It’s random and memorable. Enjoy yourself.” It didn’t feel real until I arrived in New Orleans. The weather warmer, yet rainy. I met with Chris and his entourage at a restaurant in the French Quarter. We spent the next several hours eating, drinking, and gambling too much. I was in the Big Easy less than 24 hours, but I was happy with the decision to go. This level of spontaneity was out of character for me, but it inspired change, and a new foundation.
2008 was the year of putting myself out there in the traveling sense. I flew to New Orleans again in January. February sent me out of the country for my first time. February also placed me in Chicago (another spontaneous, 24 hour excursion) and so on.
It’s true, we typically regret what we don’t do rather than what we do. Fear is a natural superglue, keeping us grounded and wishing. Wishing we had the courage to break free. I use my New Orleans plane ticket as a bookmark in my journal. It is a constant reminder of my ability to transcend above my fear, my own worst enemy.
Chris, thank you for forcing me on the plane.

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View through the window of the plane. One of the most beautiful sunsets I've ever seen.

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Picture of the city and rain....

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