Facing Your Fears: A Milestone!

So this weekend I was fortunate enough to be able to overcome one of my biggest fears. I have always been afraid of airplanes, flying, and just heights in general. But with everything that has happened in my life recently I have decided to not waste anymore time being afraid to live! So what did I do this weekend?

I flew in a HELICOPTER!

That’s right. And not just any helicopter. Oh no, the one I flew in was downright dinky. Like smaller than my car!

Our ride, an R44 helicopter

Our ride, an R44 helicopter

Let me tell you, I was terrified at first. I put on a brave face though because I was with my boyfriend (who I’ll call D for the blogs purposes). Well, D is taking lessons to become a helicopter pilot, so he obviously loves to fly. And he has a wonderful instructor who is very good at what he does!

Anyways, we pulled up to the hangar where they keep the helicopters and they got me all strapped in. Let me tell ya folks, I was hanging on for dear life. I was so distracted trying not to pass out that I don’t remember much of the beginning of the flight. But eventually, and with many hand-squeezes and encouraging smiles from D (bless him), I calmed down and started to enjoy myself.

Do I look nervous?

Do I look nervous?

This guy. He's pretty awesome.

This guy. He’s pretty awesome.

Dare I say I have become a lover of flying?! It was so much fun, I felt like I was riding high all day, even after we landed. I owe D a lot for talking me through it and to his instructor for making it a very smooth ride and for helping me feel comfortable.

Our pilot, Dennis

Our pilot, Dennis

Moral of the story, do your best to face your fears because it might turn out to be not so bad as you thought. And if you are as lucky as me, you could have the time of your life!

I cannot wait to fly again, I am hoping to ride along with D next time he takes a lesson.

In the meantime, I am settling for looking at the pictures I took while we were in the air. So I hope you enjoy them as well. Michigan really is breathtaking.

(Click on the pictures to make them bigger)

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Our tiny shadow

Our tiny shadow

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Thanks for stopping by! Hope everyone is having a great day/night!

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Getting to know yourself again

It’s funny how much a person has the capacity to grow and change in the span of just 5 years. I recently celebrated my 23rd birthday and it got me thinking about the girl that I was when I was 18. It’s amazing how little I can relate to her now. I mean, fundamentally I am the same person I suppose, but I feel so different. 

When I was 18 I was in a pretty bad relationship. It wasn’t abusive in the physical sense, he never hit me, but it was very emotionally abusive. We started dating when I was just 15, a child still. I was with him for basically all of high school, and all my teenage years. That is a critical time for a girl, when you really start to build your identity and figure out what you like and who you are. It is a very impressionable time.

I had always been plagued with very low self esteem from an eating disorder that I suffered with all through grade school and high school. He took advantage of this, and played upon my insecurities. I was made to feel like I was not special, that I was boring and stupid.  He had convinced me that all I needed was him and that all my friends were against me. In doing so, he got me all to himself. Because of course I believed him. He loved me, why would he lie? Ha.

But dependency is not love, and it took me a really long time to figure that out. I finally ended the relationship when I was 20. 5 years of my life dedicated to him, to his needs and making sure he was happy. In those 5 years I slowly lost almost all my own personal identity.

I’m not sure exactly what my breaking point was. I just woke up one day and was done. I realize now that it had been a long time coming and I only stayed with him because I was afraid to be alone. Even still, leaving him was one of the hardest things I have ever done in my life. But you know what? As I was driving home from his house that last day, I didn’t feel sad. I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders, like I could breathe again. 

You know that saying, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life”? That day was it for me. Once I was free from his influence I was able to be myself. The only problem was that I had no idea who I was. For 5 very long years I had been “XXXX’s girlfriend” I didn’t have my own identity. I barely had any friends left either, most of the friends I had before didn’t want anything to do with me. And I really can’t blame them, who wants to be friends with a doormat?

I had an opportunity to start over, to get to know myself again. These past few years I have been able to do just that. I changed colleges, moved 2 hours away and started discovering what it was that interested ME. It is a strange feeling after so long just trying to please myself and not anyone else. And even 3 years later, I still hear his voice in the back of my head sometimes, telling me that I can’t do anything, that I am weak. It has been an uphill battle replacing his voice with my own. 

I have a loud voice now. I know what I like and don’t like. Don’t get me wrong, I am still growing and changing, we all are. But I am more sure of myself that I ever have been in my life. I realize that I don’t have to like something just because someone else likes it. I don’t have to be afraid to try new things. I have learned that I am awesome just because I am me, and not because someone else is dictating my actions or thoughts.

That relationship left some big wounds. But in the process of leaving and finding myself, I realize that wounds heal with time and that I am a stronger person because of it.

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Warrior Dash 2011

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Horseback riding in Virginia 2012

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Solo trip to Washington DC 2013

I like the person I am now, and can’t wait to see how much I grow and can improve in the next 5 years. Life is an adventure and I am finally living it.