As this is the culmination of the story, I want to begin this with ‘Reader, I married him’. But as a) that would be a lie, b) I’m not quite sure who ‘he’ is and c) it is entirely unrelated to this story – unless you had a fear of commitment – I’ll desist.
Reader, I got on the plane. Even more importantly, I stayed on the plane. And as you can gather from the fact you’re reading this post, I survived my trip on the plane. Here is a photo journal of my trip on the EasyJet Fearless Flyer flight before some slightly more meaningful thoughts…
So now I’m really going to have to board this plane? My ‘what was I thinking’ moment. My amazing friend who came to fly with me couldn’t believe how early everyone was at the gate. All passengers at other gates look bored to tears.
We haven’t even been pushed out the gate yet…
Realising that I really wasn’t bothered about the height and enjoying the view of Sussex. Being super brave by sitting beside the window.
The moment the plane started banking. It’s this I hate, as you can probably tell from the fear in my eyes.
And back to actual land…palpable relief from me, and back to discussing what to have for lunch.
As my brother sagely pointed out to me after yesterday’s blog post, driving round the M25 to see where you end up is a moot point – it’s a circle – you just end up back where you started. My arrival back on solid land was much like a journey around the M25; circular, high speed and alongside a bunch of people as het-up as I was. Yet while I literally ended up where I started – Gatwick to Gatwick with just a hint of sunshiny shores from the window – I was figuratively miles away. I had, despite my teenage protestations and many train trips to mainland Europe, got onto a plane. I arrived mentally changed, and physically exhausted, and emotionally satisfied. I wasn’t the same scared person that had got onto the plane; I’d faced my fear and won.
Conquering fear, seems to me, a state of not living quite in one’s own mind. While the fears themselves may be entirely irrational, or larger than any realistic threat would justify them to be, they are present. Conquering these fears required me to absent myself from the fears and therefore parts of my mind. I didn’t entertain my terrible videos of plummeting to the ground – based as they are on unrealistic projections of a fractional probability – as that wasn’t helpful. Rather than being in a plane crash I am, apparently, more likely to become Prime Minister, and while I have lots of excellent (in my opinion) ideas, I think that the level of stress there would be even higher than getting on a plane and my political ambitions do not currently extend to party leadership. But then thirteen years ago I swore I was never getting on a plane again, so watch this space.
To conquer a fear is to choose a new and conscious thought path, and to boldly move, in spite of fear, on a path towards them and to a greater goal. It is choosing to think new thoughts, and to “take captive” as the Bible suggests, all thought patterns that are unhelpful to the new way of thinking. My fear became manageable when I reminded myself what was true.
Feeling this fear, the adrenaline rushes (which I think may be partly responsible for a three day headache) and continuing to step towards the goal is an empowering feeling. I can see why people step out of planes, scale mountains and base jump: the verb ‘conquer’ really does describe the emotion of not letting a fear stop you. And while I won’t be jumping out of a plane anytime soon – becoming PM is probably more likely – facing my fear head on feels like an opening up of the world and a new beginning. On which note, hello 30…