Have you ever seen the movie "French Kiss" with Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline? In that movie, Meg plays an uptight woman with a terrible fear of flying who, upon finding out her fiance is leaving her for another woman, boards a plane to France in an effort to win her back. One of the funniest scenes for most people is at the very beginning when Meg is trying to cure her fear of flying. Let's watch it, shall we?
When I watched this scene for the first time I didn't find it funny so much as I found it to be exactly how I feel when flying. I've always had a flying phobia and no matter how many times I do it I am still terrified. My parents and brother love to fly and don't understand my fear which just makes things worse. It is so bad that my mom will not fly with me unless absolutely neccesary. When 9/11 happened, it was like the terrorists knew my greatest fear and exploited it, now I have to worry about someone taking over my plane in addition to the fact that unless I watch the wings they will fall off.
I was content to never fly again but then I became friends with some really great women who live all around the country. I realized that if I wanted to ever spend time with these great friends, I would have to get over my fear, any way that I could. I don't like people telling me that I can't do something and by avoiding air travel, I was telling myself that I couldn't live a full life. No way. So, I went to a therapist who gave me some helpful tips and imagery exercises to use and most importantly, permission to take a Xanax when the panic attacks and terror got to be too much. I learned that phobias happen but how you learn to cope with them is the most important thing. With my therapist's help, I've gone from someone who would tremble at the mere sight of an airport to someone who sees air travel as a neccesary evil. I used to sob before I had to board the plane but now I pop a Xanax, turn on the special calming playlist I have on my iPhone and read. I'll never like flying but I'll do it, even if it means kissing the ground like the Pope when we land.
I'm going to visit some friends in NYC (Hi Kelly!) in June and I had to buy my ticket today. I'll admit to some fear as I completed the transaction because this meant that I was really going to do it, I would really be boarding a plane. Sure I can get out of it if I really feel scared but I love being with my friends and I love NYC and I don't want to miss out on all the fun we are going to have. I want to show my boys that it is okay to be scared of things but you have to try your hardest to overcome those fears otherwise they'll run your life. I'm also really cheap and don't want to waste any money- which is probably the biggest reason why I won't cancel. Ha!
So, while I am just getting on a plane and not running into a burning building, I have learned that sometimes the smallest acts of bravery mean the most.