It’s been awhile since I have actually sat down and wrote.
The book I have been adding to is a complete mess as I began writing it before the walls of my life came crashing in. I’m sure if I actually sat down and wrote everything out it would probably be a best seller.
It has all the elements of a great book.
Seeing that I have taken nearly every step to avoid even thinking about what happened, it seems stupid to write it down and relive it.
There is a story in it though. It’s about ghosts. Ghosts that haunt you every single second of the day.
This week the ghosts weren’t just haunting me, but screaming at me.
I had spent Friday night shooting a wedding with my ex-husband. Now I say ‘ex-husband’ loosely. The fact that we haven’t filed any papers yet to make that official is kind of strange. When asked why we haven’t started the process I point out that I skydive now and there isn’t a shadow of a doubt that I will at some point need more medical care than I have ever needed in my past. There hasn’t been a time that I landed my chute and haven’t fucked something up. Toes, fingers, tail bones. Nothing is spared when falling from the sky at 120 miles per hour and then trying to land a massive canopy with no formal training. I say formal and I mean something more than, “flare here and you’ll be fine.”
This wedding was a lot nicer than I had expected. It was near by and who ever decorated it did a good job. It wasn’t over the top like some that I have shot. My ex-husband and I have this lame after-you-left-me-for-someone-else ritual that we seem to do. I get there after he does. He meets me at the car to carry the enormous case I have for the camera gear. He says I look nice, which is always taken with a grain of salt, because his new girl friend is a marathon runner and dresses nicer than both of us ever could muster. “thanks.” I mutter as I try to find the reserve to not punch in the throat and call him a cheating douchebag. After we get our gear hidden away he shows me all the places he scouted out for pictures. I half listen and go find my bride. She always looks beautiful. Her girlfriends are always beautiful. Everyone is so happy.
The wedding I shot alone a couple weekends before, I was expecting to not be able to do without wanting to strangle myself with my neck strap. It turns out when my ex-husband isn’t there, i’m not nearly as stressed out. It was one of the most awesome weddings I had been to. It snowed, it rained, the sun was out, the bride wore a short dress, the groom was a complete jokester. I loved it. Best wedding so far. When it was over, I told the bride that she had something that no other wedding has had so far…every single weather condition.
The wedding this past weekend seemed to hit me in a place I wasn’t ready to face. The ghosts were there and they were working double time.
During the wedding, the part I don’t listen to is the vows. I mean, really…I could now write a book entitled, “The Cynical Wedding Photographer” and the first chapter will talk about how I do everything in my power not to snort during the vows and roll my eyes when the words say, “For better, for worse. In sickness and in health. Forsaking all others.” are muttered by the minister. I should get a tip for not grunting, “Yeah, right…you buy that and I have a bridge I’d like to sell ya!”
Now I just walk away and find something else to do until it comes to the exchanging of the rings. This part is even a joke, but it makes for beautiful pictures. Sliding on that most precious ring.
I’ve actually thought of writing the book and this chapter would be titled, “Girls, pick an ugly ring that you hate. That way in 3 years when you find out he’s fucking the office whore and you have to remove that ring, it won’t hurt so much.”
During the reception, we have our rituals here too. He goes one way and I go another. Wow, that sort of sounded like how our marriage turned out. Anyway, we sometimes meet up in the middle and exchange cute things we saw. Now I shoot him daggers while the best man talks about ‘how when so-in-so met his new bride they knew it would be forever’ because I am reminded of how his son stood up and gave an awesome speech at our wedding and how my daughter brought the place to tears when she talked about how much she loved her step dad and we would always be a family.
Normally I don’t even hear the music. This last wedding I heard the song he had chosen for his parents to dance to our wedding. It was paying homage to a marriage that has stood the test of time and distance. It ripped my heart out and try as I might to avoid it, the tears came. Never did I imagine as we watched his parents dance that 2 and half short years later, I wouldn’t even talk to them anymore. The fear of hearing a single thing about his new life and family has kept me from calling to see if they are okay. It seems harsh, but hearing his dad would probably do me in. I remember times when Shaun and I were in the middle of a rough patch that I would think about just giving up and I would think of how much I loved every single person in his family and I would see his dad’s smiling face and I was reminded that every marriage has it’s bad times and it’s sometimes easy to take the easy road, but in the end when you get to wake up to your next best friend every morning and you’re promised to laugh through the tears.
Near the end of the wedding, they played another song and the whole crowd joined in the singing of it. The bride was very animated as she sang to her new husband. He looked at with all the love in the world. At that moment, no on in the world existed but her and her adorable singing. She laughed at him and he pulled her close and then looked at her again as to make sure she was really there, really his. He laughed and smiled and sang along with her.
That was the part that I realized I don’t think I have ever been as happy as those two people on the dance floor were at that moment.
The ghosts led me out the door to the chairs that were still sitting on the lawn from the ceremony and I let it out. I cried. I cried for the loss of my best friend. I cried because no matter how much I can hope to love again, I will always walk around with the ghosts that he left me with. The insecurities of who I am and what I have to offer. The feeling that I can’t ever shake…that I am just not enough.
I drove home too fast that night on a road that should be given a lot more respect than I showed it. I rounded a corner going too fast and the fear of losing control of the car ripped away all the pain I was feeling. My head was straight again. I slowed the car down enough to still feel the electricity of speed, but able to control it.
When I got home, the girls were excited to see me and they were goofing around. Instead of joining in like I normally do, I snapped. “NOT TONIGHT!” The ghosts didn’t want me to end the misery I had been in…they were enjoying me as I twisted every day of my eight years with Shaun wondering at what point exactly it went so horribly wrong.
People always tell you when you’re in this situation, “It wasn’t your fault. This is something HE did.”
The reality though is it doesn’t matter who is right or wrong in a situation like this.
You can sit and point fingers, “Well, I wouldn’t have done this if you had done this.” all day long. The person that was done wrong, will not only feel like shit because of what was done to them…but wonder at what exactly was the thing that drove the other person into someone elses arms? Was it the way I looked. Did I dress wrong? Was my hair too short, too long, too dark, too light? Was it the new tv show I started watching or was it because I blinked too often? There isn’t a damn thing that I still don’t wonder about. Nothing is left unthought of.
The next day I promised to not let the night before bother me. A friend and I packed up the kids and took them on an adventure. The one thing that I have found that clears my mind. Getting in the car with a destination in mind, getting lost or enjoying the unexpected traffic jam.
The ghosts followed me there too. The ghosts will follow you to all the places you had gone to with the person that left you.
I would like to end this with some sort of ‘i’m doing better now, and I am working on getting rid of my ghosts and I am going to be fine’ but tonight I just don’t feel like I can.
I have a few ghosts sitting next to me telling me that I need hide, run, go, flee. My chest hurts from the fear of rejection even when I’m not being rejected. My heart feels like it’s going to stop when I think about allowing anyone in.
I had a panic attack.
It’s been a few days since it happened and as much as I wasn’t going to say anything about it, I realized that you have followed me on this journey and some are even on it with me. It wouldn’t be fair if I put a false face on Random and Odd.
Saturday I was exhausted after jumping, and honestly I was a little freaked out by the parachute being twisted up on my first jump out. I had jumped several times before that with someone and each time I looked up at the chute, the lines were exactly where they spose to be. If you would have told me, “Oh yeah, you’re going to have one of those malfunction we just watched on your first jump alone”…I probably would have walked out.
When I got home all bruised and hurting.I laid down and all the things that have happened in the last few months hit me hard.
“Holy shit Kristine! What the hell? What the hell are you doing? What you trying to prove? You could have died today! Is this what you want to do? Oh, and while you’re at it lets think about EVERY DETAIL OF YOUR LIFE in high def with surround sound!”
And so I sat there and had wave after wave of panic wash over me. Each time one would hit, I would wince with actual pain from one of the many places that hit the earth at a high rate of speed.
I looked down at my throbbing toe. It was red and black in places and I kept hearing what people had said, “Well, it could have been worse.” Dear God it could have been much worse!
What the hell am I thinking? That is just fucking insane.
Now I am going to take a moment to talk about how if you’ve never done this, you will never fully comprehend what I am saying. There is nothing more surreal in this world than being in the back of plane with the strange energy of skydivers. Sometimes you have the tandems with you. They look terrified of the unknown and I have to look away from them to avoid being sucked into their vibe. The last jump I had I wanted to laugh and say, “Yeah, that ain’t shit! Just kick back and relax sweetie because as much as you would like to think that is skydiving, it’s not. It’s being attached to a skydiver…you haven’t done anything until you’ve actually climbed out onto the side of this plane with no one attached to you, look out at the propeller and know you have to get yourself right because no one is going to do it for you.”
The plane is so loud as you’re boarding and the smell of burnt jet fuel gets in your hair, clothes and in your nose and you carry that sound and smell with you for the rest of the day. There is a quiet moment when all the sky divers are going over their jump in their heads. I usually spend this time looking around and counting how many times a jumper looks at his altimeter. It’s also the time I start singing in my head the theme to Sesame Street. Sunny Days. Sweeping the clouds away. On may way…to where the air is clean. Only 3 thousand feet…must check all my straps, harnesses, cutaway, reserve, pilot. I start to get that sick feeling when I grab my goggles and put them on. Goggles mean “Go time”. I’m certain that the helmet strap is going to cut off my breathing so I hold on to it to and finish off the song. Can you tell me how to get, how to get to Sesame Street? Check the altimeter even though I know it’s time to go because everyone has moved around and readied themselves to go out the door.
“OUT! OUT! OUT!” Gets yelled and jumpers make their way out of the door. Having the seat in the front of the plane means I get to watch them as they fall into the sky. The doorway is mine now and I grab the bar and swing out. Five seconds is all I have and that is pushing it. Ready? out, in, OUT. And now i’m falling. Are my eyes open? Am I really paying attention in those first few seconds? I will have to check the video when we get back to the hanger. A few seconds in free fall is a lifetime, I can’t waste it.
It’s at this point that I am the calmest. The anxiety that has built up from the moment we manifested, geared up, waited outside for the plane, got on and that long ride up is finally gone. This part is easy. Arch. I forget to arch for a split second and my body reacts. Relax. They keep saying that and I keep forgetting to. I would be so much better at this if I could just get over the time BEFORE I get to this point.
For the life of me I want to be able to remember everything we had talked about doing in this dive, but I can’t. I want to spin. I want to push my shoulder into the wind and spin again and again. I want to stop and do it all over again. I can’t, there is only so many feet and I am already at 7,000 feet and I have to hold for 5 seconds until I drop to 6,000 and then reach back and throw out my pilot. Remember to look where you’re throwing. I don’t remember. I just grab, throw and stare up and count the seconds before the chute opens.
I remember that being the relaxing moments during the tandem as the master gets the toggles and does a couple of spins. Now I am the one grabbing the toggles. I’m in awe of myself as I start talking out loud now. No one can hear me. “Open. Open. OPEN ALL THE WAY.” and the sound a chute makes when it opens is heaven. SNAP. How do I know where where these ‘toggle’ things are? This was not covered in any video. It’s in those first seconds that I realize how little I really know. Instinctively I reach up and pull the yellow straps from the place they are stored and I do my checks.
I’ve never done this before on my own, yet here I am doing this as if I have done it a million times. Check my altimeter again. Four minutes of floating that’s not floating. Take a moment to look at where you are…can’t. I have to check my altimeter again and make sure I am where I need to be. Check for other chutes.
The first check point I can nail. 1000 feet above the earth I am exactly where I need to be. The second check point seems to get there too fast as the hot air comes up and shimmies my chute and makes me nervous. I do my turn and now it’s time to land this thing. “It’s like driving a car and coming up on a stop light. Do not slam on the brakes a mile before you get to the light.” What do I do? I slam on the brakes and the chute thinks its time to stop. I crash into the ground and I can feel every bone in my body rattle and resettle back into place.
After the first landing, I got up and gave my instructor a wave to let him know I was okay. How he could see me from that far away, I will never know. As I was walking back with this enormous chute slung over my shoulder and my body shaking from the whole experience I let myself cry. “I did it.” I let the tears come. “I did it.”
This anxiety attack I had scared me. I was so afraid of losing the ability to do something as wonderful as skydiving. I figured out what it was that was scaring me. My brain went into flight or fight mode somewhere in the middle of the evening. I wasn’t able to calm it.
For the record though, I’m not giving up on it. I just have to remember to not think, just do.
Today on the way to work looked down at my ring finger and waited for the pain to wash over me, but it didn’t happen. I actually had to think back to the last time I has rubbed my fingers together to ‘rotate’ the ring back into place, even though the ring was no longer there. The instinctual habit had somehow stopped.
In the first few days of not wearing my wedding ring, when I would do that, it would be like being stabbed in the heart and I wondered if a day would come when I wouldn’t miss the weight of the ring and all that it had stood for.
“There is a luggage limit for every passenger on a flight. The same rules apply to your life. You must eliminate some baggage before you can fly.”
I’m ready to let all that baggage go if it means that I can live the rest of my life without anxiety, frustration, what ifs and not allowing the outcome of my day being dependent on the mood or behavior of another person.
For once in my life I am finally free…and I won’t let myself get in the way of all the joys that come hand in hand with it.
I’m making mistakes. I’m not learning from them. I’m stumbling. I realize that I am going to do this and I just really hope that in the end of all of this, I’m going to be alright. That’s all I ask…just let me be alright.
In February of this year when I could finally leave the house without fear that my bladder would explode or decide to shut down on me, I started planning various trips.
The library gave me many good ideas. Yosemite, walking trails, San Francisco and a couple on camping. YES! I could go camping!
I googled, I plan advisored, I read the local campsite reviews on a daily basis. After a few days I decided we would take our family to Rollin’s Lake. They had everything we would need.
…and then the world came crashing in.
When all the plans I had made for my life came to the forefront of my mind, the camping trip was a big one, “DEAR GOD! I ALREADY PAID FOR MY CAMPING TRIP IN JULY!”
Megan and Nancy took turns making sure I wasn’t alone those first couple of days. It happened to be the changing of the guards when I envisioned camping all by myself.
Over a short period of time, they had learned to communicate through glances and slight hand movements as to not spook me. I saw Nancy grimace and look at Megan for help.
“We will go!” Megan offered.
“Yeah, you guys can go.” Nancy is, hands down, an awesome friend…but she doesn’t camp. Her camping involves free bottles of soap and fresh towels in the morning. You can’t wrong her for that.
As the days passed and I found myself doing all the things I planned to do…I started to get excited about the camping trip.
On Friday I packed up all my gear; my lantern, stove, mummy bag, tent, air mattress, hammock and the kitchen sink. We headed out to Rollin’s Lake with 2 packed cars, 3 adults and 5 kids.
How was it?
The first night I made my way to the kids tent, narrowly avoiding falling down the hill. Once inside I changed my clothing and grabbed the zipper to let myself out. I zipped the screen. I zipped the main flap. It did not open. I grabbed the zipper and slid it over and then grabbed the other zipper and slid it down to the first one. Nothing…i’m STILL in the tent and it’s no closer to being open.
“how the fuck?” I try the zippers again with the same result. “are you freaking kidding me?” ONE MORE TIME. Same thing.
The embarrassment of having to ask my daughter to get me out of the tent is up there on the charts. This won’t seem so bad when she’s changing my diapers when I am 98 years old, but right now…it just sucks.
We ended the night with S’mores. I didn’t even hesitate when I made one for myself. It has been since the middle of March since I have ate chocolate. I was oddly proud of that fact.
Megan’s son ate his own body weight in chocolate and talked non-stop for 4 solid hours. Scott would randomly say, “7 seconds of silence please.” we would turn down the stereo and listen to him in the tent with the girls telling stories about how his Dad’s house was eaten by bears and that he had only a t-shirt and underwear to his name.
Saturday morning I was awoken with what I can only describe as low flying pterodactyls. After that, things can only get better.
That afternoon was spent floating on the water and watching people zoom by on their wakeboards. We would all look at each other and silently wish we were either in the boat or gliding behind it. I had to remind myself that even though I wasn’t on a nice boat, I was healthy enough to be out of the house and exactly where I wanted to be.
Walking back to the campground it started to rain. IN JULY. I was tempted to yell out, “IS THAT ALL YOU’VE GOT!?” but didn’t want to piss off the god of rain and start a monsoon. “I am not trippin’ on the rain. No stress. It’s just water falling from the sky.” I was trying to remember if I packed the cover for the top of my tent and sad that I wasn’t going to be able to fall asleep staring up at the stars like I did the night before. The rain stopped and the blue skies peeked around the trees. “thank you, rain god.”
We found out that modern technology is a good thing when needing to call to check on the dogs…not so good when your teenagers had google at their fingertips and found out that snipe hunting was nothing but a practical joke.
That afternoon, Shea asked if she could ‘cuddle’ with me at night, and I was excited to be camping with her for the first time she could remember. “Of course, Princess!”
I never realized what a cuddle bug she was. She snuggled in right next to me and as we were starting to tell stories, I fell asleep.
Sunday morning I woke up to more rain and decided to just stay in my tent until it was gone and when I got up I wouldn’t complain too much about the mud. Strange as it sounds, the only sign of rain was the drops on our cars. We packed pretty quickly and headed home.
Now I had said this on my facebook page, —skydiving, scuba diving and sex don’t beat a hot shower after 3 days of camping. I was flooded with, “then you’re not having sex right!” to which I responded, “then you’re not camping right!”
I swear when I got into the shower today I was shocked by the amount of red dirt that filled the bottom of the tub. When I shaved my legs, I had more dirt than hair come off in the razor!
When I took my ponytail out, my hair didn’t even have the courtesy of falling down! It stayed there until I got it wet, and when I did I could smell campfire and bacon grease!
Now the weekend is over, the girls are mom’ed out and went to stay with their daddy.
I’m hoping the unloading fairies come to my house and unpack my truck. I’m not thinking it’s going to happen, but a girl can hope.
So, many of you have asked, “What’s next?”
Thursday I have my wind tunnel training. A trip to the ocean. 2 weekends of AFF training so I can sign off to jump out of a plane without my instructor there with me. A rafting trip down the Truckee river. Another weekend of jumping out of planes. A trip to Oregon (crossing fingers) to run a 5k.
Then I am going to spend the next 4 weeks looking for 2 more jobs to pay for all of it ;)
My life…is good.
I am having more fun trying to push myself farther and farther.
On Sunday I headed out to the drop zone to meet up with Natalie and Kim to do our 2nd dive that weekend. It would be my third dive in total.
After my second jump from the plane I hurt myself. I don’t know what I did to cause me to lose feeling in my right hand, but I dealt with it so I could pull the chute and learn the navigation in. It was more annoying than painful.
In the second jump there was more for me to learn and Jeff wasn’t going to let some stinking pinched nerve get me out of what he had to teach me. “Lets gets the direction of the wind and find the drop zone.” I turned the chute around to the East and felt our bodies stop moving. “got it.” I looked around to find the drop zone and was disappointed that it was that close. I wanted to be way far away so I could spend more time in the air. Being cute and adorable I recited the t-shirt I had been reading all weekend, “Jeff…swooping is not a crime.” He laughed and showed me how to swoop. My body responded to the spinning and diving and I couldn’t control my child like giggling. “Oh man, you are trouble!” I think he might have a sense of relief that he isn’t going to be my AFF instructor!! He did agree that after I am certified he will dive with me. I’m sad that he won’t be strapped to my back anymore after this, but grateful that he was so professional and fun and was insistent about making sure that each dive I learned something and mastered it.
This last month has been one of the best things that ever happened to me. It feels like all the things that mattered before are just slipping away. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, “I don’t care…whatever…that shit don’t matter anymore.” And I’ve realized how important it is to have boundaries in my life. I’ve spent too much time letting people be a part of my life without boundaries. I’m not angry at people because the life I had before because I didn’t show people how I wanted to be treated. That would have required me knowing what really mattered.
So what matters now? Being honest with everything that I am feeling. Being present in every single minute of this life. Not even thinking about the ‘what ifs’. Laughter caused by being alive. God that laughter is fantastic! Just letting go.
I believe that this July would be rough. It marks the month that I got very sick. It also marks my anniversary and also our first marriage counseling meeting. After the month of June being what it has and all that I have done and seen…July is just another month. Do I expect a phone call or an “i’m sorry”? No. Do I care? Not really. He didn’t. And I have never been more grateful that someone could care less about the outcome of our life together. So grateful!!
From July 2nd 2009 to December 28th 2009: I promise to myself, my kids and my friends to make up for those exact dates from last year. All the stuff that has happened in the last few months was just getting us to this point.
I wrote a post about going scuba diving last weekend and wordpress ate the whole thing.
4am: Leave for Monterey
8am: Get on boat to go scuba diving.
8:30am: arrive at first dive spot. Listen to dive master run his mouth for 30 minutes while in full body wet suit and 30lbs of weights.
9:00am: Ruka and Lester get in water.
9:04am: Ruka and Lester get out of water.
9:05am: Dan gets into water.
9:07am: Kristine gets into water.
9:08am: Dan gets out of water.
Ruka got sick and Dan said he needed a refresher course before he felt comfortable diving.
So I went down sans a dive buddy to 72 feet for 14 minutes. Freaking awesome!
That was LAST weekend.
This weekend has been a little more crazy. Saturday went on my 2nd jump (sky diving) and I get a call asking if want to go again this morning. Ohhh, without a shadow of a doubt I do.
Should I even tell you that we lost two jumpers yesterday about 10 minutes before I got there? Their chutes got wrapped up. *sigh* It was a sad day at the drop zone, but it clearly didn’t stop the old jumpers…or this new one. ‘Cita went with me and she is just as hooked as I am.
I called her husband this morning and said, “Ask ‘Cita if she wants to go again today” and he said, “Are you fucking crazy?”
You know…I have been getting that question posed to me on a daily basis for the last month.
I finally have a good answer to the question: Why would I jump out of a perfectly good airplane? because the door was open.
Heading out to jump again!!! Yes, crazy….crazy GOOD.
At 5:41 am tomorrow the sun is going to rise in California.
I have always enjoyed watching the sun rise, but with insomnia it was more of a reminder of my inability to allow myself to fall asleep. Wait, I just reread what I wrote. Let me clarify; Enjoying watching the sun rise and enjoying having to be up that ungodly hour is two totally different things.
When it’s because you’re headed somewhere to do something you love…heaven! When it’s because you spent the whole night on the phone with someone your getting to know better…awesome! When it’s because your newborn was up crying all night…heartbreaking.
For me, it’s because I am going somewhere to do something I love. When the sun rises tomorrow morning I will be sitting in the back of a car with one of my wonderful friends that I have known a life time, camera in hand with a goofy, excited grin.
It’s been said to me on Facebook that I am a 50 year old man going through a midlife crisis that I am doing so much at a break neck speed. If that’s the case, bring on the Corvette and young chicks because I have no plans to slow down!
Rumi wrote something that has been running through my head since I decided to live this part of my life for myself:
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.
I remember the alive feeling I had when I lost my mind all those years ago. I was feeling so many different things that I had never thought I would feel again. The sad part was it was mixed with guilt and shame of what I was doing to the people I loved. It was a bittersweet freedom that I was holding on to with both hands. The heartbreak I was causing mingling with the joy of feeling totally alive was causing me to not be able to sit alone with myself and I couldn’t allow myself that joy. The guilt had won and even though I didn’t go back to the old life, I did fall back asleep and pushed aside the bees and butterflies that had taken up residence in my stomach.
This time around, I am having to find that awake feeling instead of it being thrust at me. First was the spontaneous trip to Yosemite. That was more for me to be able to get out of the house that the ghosts of my life were walking around in. I couldn’t stand to be here. I kept waiting for my step kids to burst into the room with a question or to look over and see my husband sitting at the computer working on some sort of design. Every thing in this house was haunting me and the only way to get out of my head was to drive. When I got there, I sat in my own silence and the hurt of knowing that it wasn’t the same without them there was painful, but I realized that even though I was there without half of my family, It didn’t kill me. I was going to have to make new memories without them.
The last few weeks have been whirlwind for me.
Every Wednesday on my way home from work, something catches my attention and I decide, “I need to try that!”
1. Get on a motorcycle again. 2. Jump out of a plane. and this last one was this Wednesday’s bright idea….
3. Go scuba diving.
Hopefully this is just the start of the many new memories I will make. Dan is nearly finished with the Ninja and I will take my first lessons through the county on how to ride by myself. Next weekend is my second of 7 sky dives before I can begin to start jumping out of a plane without a man strapped to my back.
So tomorrow when the sun is rising in California I will be half way to Monterey to go jump off a boat in a 77mm wet suit, BC and Reg with a tank of air and a dive buddy.
This new life suits me well. I won’t be going back sleep anytime soon.
On Wednesday I was driving home from work and thought that another ride on the motorcycle might be fun, but then realized it wasn’t as thrilling as it could be if I actually drove it myself. Knowing I have to wait for the Ninja to be finished, there was going to be no way that Dan would let me actually drive off on his bike, I tried to think of something as fun.
Maybe it was the way the sun was shining through the windshield or a song on the radio, but I said out loud, “I’m jumping out of a plane.”
About 14 years ago I paid for Dan to go ski diving. I knew for a week he was going and I decided to make it a surprise. Each time I thought about him doing it, it made me physically ill. The first thought was the plane so far in the sky and then my stomach would lurch thinking about him jumping out of it. The hours before his jump my head was spinning and I was sure that he would die and leave me a widow. When it was over, he was smiling and swearing he would do it again. He made it out alive and in my opinion, he was NEVER going to put me through that again.
I picked up the phone and started to call Dan to see if he would want to go with me. Wait! What if something happened to both of us? Who would raise the kids? Bad idea. Let’s call…and I went through my phone list. NO ONE would jump with me.
“Are you freaking nuts?” “OH HELL NO!” “Seriously, are you retarded?” Cita was the only one that said she might go.
Okay then. I shall go on my own!
I found out that a friend of Ruka and mine was going to be in town for the weekend.
“Nat, you wanna jump out of a plane with me on Sunday?”
“ABSOLUTELY!” I waited for the “not” to follow and when it didn’t I squeeeeeeled with excitement. I was certain she might puss out on me, but I put down the 25 bucks to do it anyway.
For 4 straight days I had that nervous excitement stirring in my stomach. “Holy shit. What am I thinking?” would cross my mind about 5 times a day. Each time it would be followed up with a big grin and a burst of laughter. “I’m DOING IT!”
This morning when the alarm went off, I grabbed the nearest clothes and asked the girls if they wanted to go.
“Mom it’s 6 in the morning….we will watch the video when you get home!” the little ones said.
I’ve never seen Kara move so fast, “I’m not missing this!”
I was waiting for the normal Kristine to surface and talk this crazy Kristine out of this madness. I guess at six in the morning, crazy Kristine runs the show.
We got to the airport and joined our class for the hour of instructions. I can break down the instructions to 15 seconds:
1. Arch your body when you jump and deploy the chute.
2. Tuck your legs in.
3. Hold on to your harness when you jump.
4. When you get to 6,500 feet, pull the cord.
Out of the five things on that list you will only remember one. Smile.
We got to our gear on. I heard my instructor tell me the five things again and I shook my head as if I was really listening to what he was saying. “Got it. arch, hold on, tuck, smile. LETS GO!”
The plane was going to be the biggest obstacle to this whole ordeal. Here was a plane on the ground. The plane was going to go way up in the air. We were going to leave the plane behind. STUPID.
I got on the plane and waited for the, “tell me there is a bathroom I can go to and hurl in.” moment. It never came.
Then the door opened at 13,000 feet.
“Someone opened the fucking door!” I state the obvious to the people on the plane.
“That’s part of what you pay for.” Natalie’s adorable instructor laughed. “She said that you’re going first.”
Damn right I was.
I eagerly made my way to the huge hole in the side of the plane, put on my goofy goggles, grabbed my harness and jumped out of the plane.
Waiting…waiting…waiting…where was that feeling in my stomach? It wasn’t there. No Fear. I had none. I was just falling and it was the most beautiful feeling I have ever felt in my whole life. The world was spinning around and around and I was trying to do everything in my power to not start laughing. HOLY SHIT, I just jumped out of a plane! Every time I thought about it, I would smile and all the air in the world would rush into my mouth.
My instructor tapped my hand to remind me to check where we were. We were already at 7,000 feet and in less than a few seconds I would have to end the fun and pull the cord that would save my life.
I reached down and when I thought I had no strength left inside of my body, I pulled the cord and all the sound fell away and I was floating.
“Well?” my instructor leaned in. “were you scared?”
“Not even for a second!” I needed an explanation for this madness!
“Oh no…you know what that means? You’re one of us.” He explained to me that there are people that will jump once or twice in their life. They would show the video to anyone that will watch it and then be able to say they went ski diving. Then there was people like me that will spend all their spare time getting certified so they could dive alone.
That thought gave me that butterfly feeling. “YES!”
Ski diving was my biggest fear in the world. It’s stupid, reckless, immature. Why would anyone even think of jumping out of a perfectly good airplane?
Now I truly feel there isn’t a thing in this world I can’t do.
I’m going back in 2 weeks to do it again. ‘Cita is joining me. Nat is flying from Portland again to do it too.
I was re-reading my 2009 goals: “Once upon a time there was this woman who loved her life…let’s go find her again. If we can’t find that woman, let’s fall in love with the new woman that is on her adventure to get back to good.”
Forget that woman...this woman is so much more amazing and I am falling more in love with her every single day!
I had to reset all my passwords and like a total dork, forgot them.
It took a few hours, but I found them and now I can’t remember what it was that I was going to say.
In the great delete of 2009 (deleted 19, 873 pictures) I also deleted all my mail. I now have lost all the requests for the other place I write at. Soooo, if you’re mad at me for not giving you the email…just email me again.
Things are going alright. My weekends are busy as I realized that being at home is what I would guess HELL feels like.
Cita and I found this awesome place to go have breakfast on the weekends and I would give my left arm to not miss it.
I booked a rafting trip in a few weeks. Every time I have gone I have enjoyed myself so much and that is exactly what I want.
Ruka is killing me with her, “I’m going run THIS …and this…and THIS one too!” so I am having to train harder and harder to keep up with her. So far she has two she’s running and that means, I have two I am following her in.
Two miles a night isn’t bad, but according to this person I run with that I met about 2 weeks ago, “You have to push through to the fourth mile! Tonight we shall run HILLS!” This is coming from someone who had knee surgery recently so I can’t exactly complain, “Yeah, well my heart was ripped out of my chest and stomped flat.” without feeling like a wussy, so I keep running. How that person keeps talking during running, I will be glad to know.
It’s strange when you start running you realize how many other people do it too. Honestly, I think it’s the most moronic thing in the world. I run. I run. I run. I don’t get anywhere. Last week I was tempted to not go, but I realized it wasn’t the running I needed, but the structure of doing it every night. Oh, and I run like a girl. A girl with no balance what so ever. I actually SWERVE while running. Last night I tripped over a dog. True words. Not just saying that to make you laugh. Big Doberman got in my way.
Work is going good. The drive is a pain in the ass. I have moved on from the Spanish stations to music on my Ipod (thanks Maria for the charger!). There is music I still don’t listen to, but that might come back in time. It’s still the angry, I hate you, die, die, die variety, but at least I understand what they are saying.
AND OH MY GOD…I rode the motorcycle again! I had my first lesson in actually driving it myself.
Wanna hear my progress? Good. I can start it, put it in gear, stand it up right.
Next up, getting brave enough to put the kickstand up.
There was a dead body found by the dumpsters by my work today.
Shaun’s not answering his texts.
I swear to God I didn’t do it!