My skydiving experience started as mundanely as expected— I reluctantly wound up at a drop zone with coworkers for a tandem jump. I jumped at the chance to get on an earlier load than my coworkers because 1) I wanted to get it over with and 2) I was still grumpy about having to get up at 6AM on a Saturday to meet early and then drive 1.5 hours with my group.
The jump went like any tandem, and was uneventful to any professional skydiver (I might have proposed to my tandem instructor under canopy, also a likely regular occurrence). While I waited what seemed like hours for my group’s load to turn, I got the chance to relax and watch the bustling activity around the DZ. I saw what always goes unnoticed…the resounding female and African-American under-representation. Like most African-American women, I saw it as an opportunity to conquer multiple fears at once. Besides the obvious fear of falling from the sky, there is also the enormous social fear of entering spaces where no one looks like or relates to you.
Fast-forward 10 years, and my skydiving experience has seen a few phases. My gregarious “visit as many DZs/boogies as possible and befriend everyone” phase has long gone, my “do ALL the camps” phase was short-lived, (and may revive) but holds some of my favorite memories. My “SIS-boogies-only” phase is another phase I would revisit— I had the most fun and was inspired by some of the most marvelous and humble skydivers at SIS boogies.
Photo By Mark “Trunk”
I’ve been in an extended phase I call “love on my tribe”. This is where I tend to jump with those in the sport who resonate with me beyond skydiving, who I love and care for the most, and I like to believe vice versa. I don’t care if we are doing a belly jump, wing-suiting, or free-flying, I just want to have the experience I have come to love so deeply with the people I know and love the most. I married a skydiver, took a pregnancy break in 2022, and we now have a newborn who stops crying whenever her dad takes her outdoors. I find that promising! My sincere wish for other women who enter skydiving is they achieve the level of personal fulfillment they seek, as different or similar as it may look from mine.