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It's Our Turn: My attempt at flying

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columns Alexandria,Minnesota 56308
Echo Press
It's Our Turn: My attempt at flying
Alexandria Minnesota 225 7th Ave E
P.O. Box 549

I have always wanted to fly.

Ever since I watched Peter Pan it was my goal to soar through the sky.

I used to lie awake when all the lights had gone out, hoping that Peter Pan would knock on my window, take my hand and sprinkle pixie dust over my head.


And when it didn't happen, I took matters into my own hands and would jump off the top of my bunk bed into a pile of blankets and clothes, hoping that perhaps I would fly.

It seems like this is what it is like for children. They live under a false illusion that anything is possible and that anything can happen.

When I was younger, I would read fairy tales and imagine myself as Belle being prisoner in the Beast's castle. I would lie by the stairs on Christmas Eve, hoping I would get a glimpse of Santa Claus.

I believed it all.

But as the years have gone by, I've forgotten what it feels like to live under this false sphere.

I've forgotten about Peter Pan and the unrealistic hopes I used to have.

Until I tried to fly again.

Strapped in a black harness, I squatted in a rickety old white plane, 10,000 feet in the air.

The world looked perfect from where I squatted, a perfectly designed city made out of plastic.

This awe was replaced by instant fear as the door of the plane slammed open and wind started rushing about the small compartment carrying the frantic whip of the engine.

"Put your right foot outside of the door!" the man attached to my harness yelled in my ear.

He wanted me to put my food outside of the door? Where there was nothing but 10,000 feet of open air between me and a solid? He couldn't possibly be serious. What if the parachute didn't open or something went wrong? What if I slipped and hit my head on the wing?

I was scared. I was scared to roll out of the plane and fall into nothing, even though there was someone strapped to my back with a parachute.

Apprehension froze my muscles. I couldn't do it.

But when did being afraid ever stop me as a kid?

At 5, I was never scared. I used to dance around in public and sing at the top of my lungs without caring if I embarrassed myself. I would jump off my bed without a sliver of apprehension that I may fall wrong and break something.

What happened to those days?

Now I'm riddled with fear. I'm scared that I may not do well on a test, that I may embarrass myself or do something out of the social norm.

Wasn't life simply more fun when I wasn't afraid? Wasn't it more creative and more exhilarating?

Frozen in the airplane, the logical side of my brain was screaming at me about how illogical it was to throw myself out of an airplane and how many things could go wrong.

Then I thought back to my 5-year-old self. Even though it seemed incomprehensible to jump out of an airplane, she would have done it simply because there was a sliver of a chance that she would be able to fly.

So I decided to be illogical and jump.

Taking a breath, my foot left the safe haven of the plane and was instantly caught by the wind. Quickly, my other foot followed the first and before I knew it, I dropped like a rock into nothingness.

I can't say skydiving made me a different person or landed me in the hospital. But I can say that it helped me realize that you don't really live life if you are scared about everything.

If I had continued to be scared, I wouldn't have rolled out of the airplane and wouldn't have known what it was like to fly.

Because in that moment that I was hurtling through the air - I swear I flew.

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"It's Our Turn" is a weekly column that rotates among members of the Echo Press editorial staff.

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