February 14, 2009
Fear of Flying explored
The past 16 months has seen my little body move across the globe as outlined below:
With every flight I think that my fear can't get any worse. I often promise the god of the air that if he just lets me land safe then I'll never step on another plane. I'll boat, I'll bike, I'll bloody walk, just land me this one time.
When I'm up there above the globe, staring at the wings functioning correctly, I reflect on being a child and how much I loved to fly. No knowledge of the mechanics or crashing issues of the world, just the amazingness of being in the air and off to another land. I think it might be that my brain has grown to be filled with facts of human-error, mechanical-failure and basic bad luck.
No matter how many times I count the number of flights taking place per year thinking statistically I'll be fine or that I'm more likely to die from being hit by a coconut, it just does not take away the fact that we are simply TOO HIGH and if something goes wrong there is no out.
It's just not right. Why can't we fly 200 metres up? How can we trust this metal structure with so many miles between us and the earth. Every little bump or shake of the plane sends my gut and mind spiralling into "is that the engine failing?" or "what if something just stops". I start to do little prayers - rekindling my relationship with God. My mind starts to work overtime as I worry my bad thoughts will encourage crashing, so I start trying to generate a positive energy for the plane, thinking I have personal responsibility for the safety of the plane, as if my brain controls what happens next.
I need the movies to distract myself.
Every flight I ask that I just make it home one more time, as i'm not quite ready for dying. I just want to spend a little more time with my partner, or just see my family, or experience this upcoming project.. there is always an excuse.
I never quite reach the point where I accept that it could be the end of me.
So I clench my butt cheeks and harness my brain power to help the plane land safely.
When we get closer to the ground I start to envisage the plane crashing, just to see if I'd make it alive. Nup, too high, not possible, oh hang on, some trees, yes, they could buffer the fall, I constantly visualise the plane crashing and how I would react in group full of strangers, right up until we are metres for the ground and then I totally relax.
Each time I land, a warm glow enters my body, yes, I made it one more time.
After my last flight I declared that I wouldn't fly for a very long time. I can't bear the idea of this fear getting worse.
But then I got an invitation to one of my best friends weddings in Melbourne. And now I'm booked to go through it again.
There's no escape for a modern woman with a fear of flying.
[current mood] Star of Bethlehem Flower Essence & The Phone Ringing
Posted by natalija at February 14, 2009 6:59 PM
good god woman, how travelled thou art!
I figured flying would be old hat for a pro like yourself!
I'm shocking with it myself, it's pretty much clench the ipod in fist and stare at the one place on the seat in front for the whole time. I wish booze would help but not at all.
Posted by: Gav C at February 17, 2009 9:05 AM
now try flying after watching "lost"... :-)
Posted by: carla at February 18, 2009 2:40 PM
Just discovered your blog and I am addicted. Beautiful work here girl. As to planes, I take them all the time and I get the exact same feeling. Lately, I have been taking a Xanax to fly and it helps somewhat...
Posted by: Yoli at February 27, 2009 12:35 AM