When I was little, I was so scared of flying that the second I got on the plane, I would curl myself up into a ball in my seat and force myself to fall asleep.
My rationalization? It would be better to die sleeping during takeoff than awake. Because, like, if the plane were to crash during takeoff, I’d totally sleep during it.
Now when I’m really stressed out, I force myself to take a nap. BECAUSE SLEEP IS AN EFFECTIVE MEANS OF STRESS CONTROL, and also, it’s amazing and wonderful and I love it more than I love boobs. And we all know how much I love boobs.
Last week I went back to New York for a writer’s conference. My flight there was delayed four (FOUR!) hours because, like, stupid airplane stuff. Mechanical issues. You know, like, something would’ve exploded if we were to fly. And I’m sitting in the terminal, stewing, because I hate delays and I’m mad at the airline for not fixing the plane fast enough when–
You do realize, Whitney, that if they bring the plane out and you fly in it now, you’re totally going to crash? You should be thankful for this delay. It’s what’s keeping you alive right now.
Then I have to tell my anxiety to stop being an asshole, though, in this case, it was perfectly right. Why the fuck do I get so mad when there’s a mechanical delay? If they’re trying to fix it, they’re trying to keep me from that fiery death that I fear every takeoff. I should be giving them awards and stuff. Maybe a slow clap? Maybe that scoop of Hagen Daaz I was so intent on eating?
On the way back, I was afraid of more plane delays. And that’s when I start making deals with The Devil, or like, anyone who’s listening.
See, there’s a moment when the plane takes off and it’s gaining altitude, when it has that first little dip. You all know the dip I’m talking about, right? Well, the second that happens, my Anxiety Voice kicks into full gear.
I bet this plane is about to crash. I wonder what that will feel like. Does it hurt to burn alive, or will I die instantly? HOLY FUCK WE DIPPED, WE AREN’T GOING TO MAKE IT. HOW DO THESE THINGS STAY IN THE AIR IT’S LIKE SO HEAVY AND I ATE THAT GELATO AND JESUS WE ARE PROBABLY OVER THE WEIGHT CAPACITY AND I DIDN’T EVEN GET TO TELL MY MOM I LOVE HER AGAIN I’M A TERRIBLE DAUGHTER ALSO IF I SURVIVE THIS I NEED TO BUY GROCERIES
So, how do I calm myself down at that moment of panic, you ask? Well, I justify my survival. And usually I do it in the dumbest way possible.
No, I don’t use platypussoi to justify my survival. That would be awesome, though. Note to self: Do that in the future.
I realized while I was heading to the airport that I lost my eagle necklace in New York. It’s this cool little eagle head that’s hollow, and I would occasionally stick my pinky in it and pretend I had an eagle for a finger because fuck you, that’s why, and it was amazing and I loved it and now it’s gone.
So when the plane did that first dip and my Anxiety Voice went, YOU’LL NEVER GET LAID OR EAT CHOCOLATE AGAAAAINNNNNNN, I fought back with: No, I’m going to live because I lost my eagle necklace. A trade for a trade. Right, Universe? I think that’s fair.
And my breathing returned to normal.
I justify my survival like that a lot. Or good news. I’ll be like, Oh, wow, this person really likes me. It must be because last week I pooped my pants after that really sad movie. Or, The reason why Emma Stone is totally hitting on me right now is because I lost my credit card.
They’re dumb trades, is what I’m saying. But somehow The Universe is totally cool with them.
It’s probably because it wanted to have a tiny eagle finger. The fucker.
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