Shake Gently Before Opening

(This was written in my Notes as I was getting jostled around. I am okay and next time I use this airport I am confident I will not be so afraid.)


As I sit on my second flight to Wellington, I am doing my best to unknot the cord of fear spanning the length of my torso. When I was little, nothing about planes scared me. I liked the turbulence. Then sometime in the past six months, that shifted.

On my way to Dominica, there was a flight with the worst turbulence I could remember, (which in the grand scheme of things wasn’t too bad). Without any understandable reason, I was shaking uncontrollably as I curled up in my mom’s lap trying to tell myself this was no different from any other flight that I had taken. Flights crossing the continental United States are frequently windy.

From that flight on, I could not help but feel the adrenaline that shot through me the second we hit bumps.

My mom is the kind of person that inherently sees the best in everything and everyone. Her philosophy on a bumpy plane is something along the lines of “Well. I’m on the plane and can’t do anything about it so I’ll just be in a good mood and sleep.” Not me. My way of seeing the world is finding why. I like finding the best, but I want to know why there is the worst.

Before our last flight home from Dominica, I found a co pilot and a few flight attendants waiting for their flight to arrive. I walked over and first told them thank you for all of their work. Then I asked the pilot what turbulence is. “Think of air kind of like water. The turbulence is where the cold air and the warm air meet and consequently it’s a little rough. Also wind.”

There was more, but that’s the gist. It helped me immensely. While on my flight from LAX to Fiji, I was able to think through it all again and come to complete peace.

Even yesterday when we got turned around because it was too windy, I was alright as I sat next to two women who were strong and unafraid. This was normal.

But after having done it once, I am sitting in bad turbulence again near one of the windiest airports in the world, trying my best not to panic. Let me describe this Wellington turbulence to you. *ahem* your stomach and brain switched places, switched again, and are being gently shaken as though you are a bottle with a little label advising that you do just that. I am currently watching the tops of heads in front of me bob in synchronization from side to side. Oh hey I can see the ocean.

I wish I could easily switch to my “Oh it all works out” place. Because I know it will. Worst comes to worst, we pull up quickly again, and go back to Auckland…or you know we plummet out of the sky and all that jazz.

That is the tiny voice that causes my fear. Or maybe it’s the fact that I’m not in control. Or both.

All that being said, I feel a little better having written this. I’m going to be at my final destination shortly and I have my bag now so that’s even better.

Now we are landed. And I have a new story and an increased heart rate. I think I can wait a wee bit for my next flight though.

5 thoughts on “Shake Gently Before Opening

  1. I love the title you chose for this piece, Shake Gently Before Opening. It’s like you were literally shaken (and probably a bit figuratively too) before opening into this new, independent experience.

    Liked by 1 person

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