Hello! Hello! It’s me… I’m sorry I vanished for a week without telling you all about the JUMPING OUT OF A PLANE business. It turns out that a month of full-on fear facing is EXHAUSTING and last week was spent in the Priory. Only joking, I was just tired and busy and not capable of putting together a good post. I am happy to report I am now back on glittering form. Ha!
So, where were we?
Well, many of you will have seen this picture:
it looks like I’m having the time of my life, right? Well, I wasn’t. Despite the crazy grin on my face (the result of gale force winds) I absolutely HATED it. I know, I know! Sorry to end the month on a downer but it’s the truth.
As ridiculous as this may sound, I had thought that jumping out of a plane would be relatively easy after the stand-up comedy, chatting up strangers stuff. After all, there was nothing I could really fail at (my biggest fear) or embarrass myself with (my other fear) and anyone I spoke to who had done it said it was AMAZING.
So even when I was up in the plane, strapped to my lovely instructor, I was quite chilled. And when I was hanging out of said plane, ready to jump (well, fall), I was still relatively calm. And when my instructor told me to scream as we jumped because it would help me to breath, I nodded like it was the most normal thing in the world.
Then we jumped and I completely PANICKED. It was only then that it hit me. I WAS FALLING THROUGH THE SKY. AT 13,000 FEET. THAT’S 2.5 MILES UP. WTF??!?!
The cold air and wind was a shock like no other. The actual temperature was minus 15C but with wind-chill it felt infinitely colder. Me ears were screaming in pain with the change in air pressure. The noise of the wind was deafening. I was trying to scream but nothing was coming out.
it was like being in hell, if hell is a deep-freeze wind tunnel.
Shock horror, the human body is not designed to free-fall from 13,000 feet. At least my body isn’t.
After 50 seconds of falling (t felt like an eternity and a split second at the same time) we opened the parachute. The wind stopped and everything was silent (apart from the ringing in my ears). I could see miles and miles of fields. I think this is the bit you’re supposed to like but I was so shaken up by the first bit I couldn’t relax. I thought I might vomit. Really.
And then it was over. We were floating for 4 mins but it went in a daze. My bum landed on the ground.
My first words on landing: ‘I am never doing that again.’
So there! Sorry, as I said, not very upbeat.
BUT despite the fact that it was all fairly traumatic I am very glad I did it. It made me realise that there are two fears in life: physical fears (fear of heights, spiders, sharks etc) and psychological fears (fear of failure, rejection, embarrassment).
Almost all of the fears that rule my life are psychological fears and so I got very little out of facing a physical fear. While I have a healthy fear of heights (I can see they are dangerous) it doesn’t affect my life and so it didn’t feel like I’d achieved anything.
For other people it would be different. One of my co-jumpees, Alan, loved it so much he’s thinking of signing up for a course so that he can jump out alone. ‘It was a rush,’ he said, his eyes literally dancing. ‘I want to do it again, now.’
The guys at UK Parachuting say that people go either way. They love it or they hate it. They also said that some people do it to get over their fear of heights. I find the idea of that absolutely horrific. Try a step ladder, people!!
But if you think jumping out of a plane might be your thing – then the guys at UK Parachuting were very kind and encouraging. http://www.ukparachuting.co.uk, it cost £180.
Each to their own….