I’m not one to travel anymore. I’m not one to take a risk. I’m not one to leave my family and be ok with it, like many other people I know. For a long time I thought this is what separated me from the rest of the world and I was perfectly happy to be different.
But here I am…alone in a hotel, at a new job, away from my family on work…but still not ok with it. At 32 I really feel like I’m finally growing up, meaning I’m doing what I don’t want to do but putting a smile on my face for the bigger picture, my career.
The last time I had to fly on a plane with short notice I was kicked off. It was a very last minute trip due to a tragic family emergency and I could not get myself together. A full-blown panic attack lead me to running off the plane, crying, leaving a disappointed family and terrified passengers who thought I had some kind of crashing premonition.
As unnatural and uncomfortable that flying is to me I don’t want that to be my experience every time…so let’s try this:
What happens when you are 40,000 feet in the air, in a crowded cabin and can’t find the motion sickness bag in the pocket in front of you? Your body is sweating and you’re anxious. On top of you head being punctured with a pounding headache, your stomach says wants in on the fun and says, “Nope!”
Vomit. Flys. Into. The. Aisle.
Across the aisle to my left, the poor passenger’s eyes grow wide as he consciously avoids looking at me. The body builder to my right, who is squished between a barfing, crying woman and a business man is doing everything he can to pretend he is somewhere else. I don’t blame him. This work trip is not fun and I’m debating on quitting as soon as I land.
After the flight attendant brings me a vomit bag and we begin our descent, I continue to throw up 9 more times. Quietly crying, I’m embarrassed and hating my life choices but there is nothing else I can do other than avoid eye contact.
Again, I find myself racing off the plane in tears. Darting towards the bathroom I hunker down in a stall to gather myself and figure out how to tell Jolly I can’t do this. Tell my new boss I’m not the girl for the job. Tell this airport I need to leave, but not through my connecting flight, in a car.
A few minutes and few breaths pass as my crying slows. My mind slows down while the self-doubt is pushed to the back of my head.
One thing at a time. One thing at a time. Step one: put something in your stomach and take Dramamine. Then you can figure out the rest.
I pull myself together and leave the restroom. After finding my connecting flight I grab some crackers and motion sickness pills, I sit down and think about getting on the next flight to my final destination, Kansas City. The drowsy side-effect of the pills set in and all I begin to think about is a nap.
Oh Dramamine. You are a life saver. You make the next flight vomit free as I snooze away and arrive in no time. All is better once I’m on the ground to rent a car and drive 40 miles to my hotel.
A week away from my family and anyone I know is tough when I love being at home. I’ve created a beautiful family and little utopia that I CAN NOT let go of…and there in lies the problem.
I’ve been told the true path to a happy life is to stop worrying about things you cannot control, because then you are free to live.
I can control the outcome of an event about as much as I can control the weather. Of course I can watch the predicted forecast and do the best I can but whatever happens will happen regardless of all my fretting.
So in the scheme of things I guess it doesn’t matter if I’m at home crying about my fears or toughening up and owning my career…but I may learn more from getting on the plane, so I think I’ll try the latter.