Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The aviophobe

Hi, my name is Kristi, and I am an aviophobe. I don't know when it happened. I was always apprehensive, but somewhere, I believe in the year 2001, I become terrified of flying. It was pretty bad right from the get go, but much to my chagrin, it gets worse over the years. I have mustered up the courage to fly on 3 occasions in the last six years, and have passed up the opportunity to a) see my nephew get married b) go see a play on Broadway and c) go on an all expense paid trip with Blaine to a job interview. The three occasions I did fly for were a) a cruise b) our house hunting trip to Austin and c) flying to Utah from Oregon to go on a girl party weekend (I think my mom bought the ticket and forced me to go).

Alright, I know you have a lot of questions. Everyone does. So let me answer them for you.

No, I have never had a terrible experience on a plane.

No, I have not always been afraid of flying.

No, I don't think my plane will actually crash or be overtaken by terrorists.

No, I am not afraid of heights. Nor am I claustrophobic.

Yes, I know it is safer than driving, walking or sleeping in your own bed. I would put that in bold and size ten million font if I could, since it comes as a real revelation to people that I am aware of this.

I have come to realize that unless you have a deep rooted psychological fear of something you will never quite understand my fear. It is deeper than logic. I can't talk it out. I can't drug it out (well, maybe! I guess I haven't tried). And I struggle to understand it myself; trust me I have spent a LOT of time thinking about it. Mostly during the durations of the aforementioned things I missed out on due to my fear.

The best I can figure is that my fear of flying is rooted in my need to have control. I don't always have to be in control of everything, I am not a control "freak". Or at least I don't think so. When it comes to my personal safety and the safety of my children, I like to be in control. I like to be the one to drive, always have. Anyone who has driven with me as a passenger knows that they would rather me drive to, just so I won't wear a hole in the passenger side flooring from slamming my vicarious brake. I am a very annoying passenger, I know. I trust myself behind the wheel more than anyone. I am not saying I am the best driver in the world, but I have to be in control. As Nick witnessed during our San Antonio trip; I only trust myself to watch my kids near a swimming pool. As much as I know I am supposed to forgive everyone for everything, I honestly don't know that I could forgive someone if something preventable happened to one of my kids, and so to cover my basis, I like to be in control of their safety. It's weird, I know. So I think it kind of bugs me that if something goes wrong on the plane, there is absolutely NOTHING I can do about it. I just have to sit there, helpless.

The best way that I have come up with to describe my fear is this: every time I am on a plane I live through every possible thing that could go wrong. Every little bump of turbulence sends my imagination off into the most violent plane crash you could imagine (for visual aides please see the plane crashes in Castaway and episode 1 of LOST). Every time someone stands up to go to the bathroom I live through my minds best rendition of a terrorists takeover. Every time someone won't turn off their dang cell phone when the stewardesses say, I assume they are working with Bin Laden [Blaine has just informed me that I should now be expecting a phone call or visit from HomeLand Security for mentioning his name]. If the pilot doesn't come on the intercom every so often, I assume he has fallen asleep and I can expect us to nosedive soon. Every weird sound--the wing is going to fly off. I just can't put it in to words but for every flight I take I live through a thousand disasters in my mind. And they all seem very real.

That being said, we really want to go home for Christmas! We found a really cheap flight out of Dallas and I am in distress!


Janssen said...

I think you should go. I'm not afraid of flying, so I'm not very good at empathizing, I'm afraid, but I do think the longer you let your fear of flying prevent you from flying, the harder it will be to overcome in the future. Just get yourself on the plane and don't miss out on a great (and cheap) time home with your family.

Plus, you'll have two small children with you - you probably won't have time to imagine any scary scenarios. :)

Melissa Ash said...

Do it!!!!! Every time a scary scenario enters your mind, think of something you will be doing with your family when you get home.

Shauna said...

You can do it! I am the queen of phobias, so I can totally relate to your irrational fears, but Janssen is right, the longer you go between facing your fears, the bigger they become. You'll have a great time, and Austin to SLC is not that long of a flight. Take dramamine and sleep the flight away.

Shauna said...

Okay, I meant to say DALLAS to SLC. You can do it!

Strong Family - said...

I'm the same way with my kids. I'd rather know where they are at all times and know that they're okay. My biggest fear in life is that they'll be kidnapped. Have fun in Utah!!! :-)

Laurie said...

We want to see you! We have snow now! Gwenie needs it!!!!
I do relate to your fear, ever since my Timp incident. Luckily most of the time we have irrational fears like that we survive the horrifying ordeal. We'll still be friends no matter what you decide.