Many people look at skydivers as “dare devils” and people with no fear. Truth is, that’s exactly why we do it. Something about throwing yourself out of an airplane is intimidating to say the least. I started skydiving in 2020 when I did my first tandem at West Virginia Skydivers. I was instantly hooked, and my perspective on life was changed forever. I did 2 more tandems, and started my progression to obtaining my skydiving license. This is when my FEAR became unbearingly real.
It took me almost three years to finally get my license. I was terrified, I rode the plane down many times, I cried, I beat myself up. But one day, I said enough is enough. I jumped again. Every time I jumped the fear became less and less intense. I had a female instructor who was more than kind and patient with me. Whether it was repeating the dive flow fifteen times, holding my hand to get me out the door (literally), or just simply cheering me on, she was always there. I had a cutaway (where you need to go to your reserve parachute) during my student status, and forcing myself to go up and jump again after that was gut-wrenching, but I felt so much better afterwards. The regret of not doing something because of fear is a much worse feeling than fear itself.
George Addair said, “The best things in life are on the other side of fear”.
After pushing myself mentally, asking questions and talking to others, I earned my skydiving license on July 4th, 2022. Skydiving is about a lifestyle, facing things that make you uncomfortable. It’s about the friends you make along the way. It’s about becoming a part of something bigger than yourself and experiencing bliss for the price of facing your fears. Being afraid of something is normal, and it’s up to you how it controls your life. Breathe, relax, and arch. Don’t give up. I was once very afraid too.