There were a million different emotions piercing throbbing pulsing through my body on the way to Central Michigan Skydivers: Pride, fear, excitement, anxiety, happiness, fear, doubt.
But, one way or another, I was going to do it. Thank goodness Rosebud was there with me. Even though she wasn’t jumping with me, just knowing she would be waiting for me on the ground helped me keep my sanity. We had to drive a couple hours from my parents’ house to Mt. Pleasant, where Central Michigan Skydivers is located. I’m pretty sure I was a nervous wreck on the drive — who even knows what Rosebud was thinking about my jibber jabber as I tried to keep my mind off of what I was about to do.
I was shaking just a little as we pulled in to the parking lot. Not shaking so much that I couldn’t pose for a picture or two, of course.
After meeting the team and going pee twice, I joined the rest of the group of divers for our 15-minute instructional session. Since I was diving by myself, I joined a group that had an odd number of people — we went up two teams at a time in the plane (two divers and two instructors) with, of course, the pilot. I went up first so I didn’t have to wait for the rest of the random strangers to finish jumping. I also was told that I would be the first person out of the plane. Probably for the best, really.
As I tried to zip up my jumpsuit, my fingers were shaking just a little bit, and my shoes just about got stuck in the leg hole. But I got it on. In fact, I kinda liked it — Scott picked just the right color for my nervously rose-colored cheeks.
As we walked to the plane, I was a ball of nervous excitement. What the heck was I doing?! Why was I rewarding myself for saving my life by losing 100 pounds with a life-threatening jump from an airplane? But there was no backing out. I mean, I’d paid for it and I was there. As soon as I got on the plane, my nerves faded a little as the reality of the cool thing I was about to do set in. I mean, wow. I was going to jump from a plane. Who was this adventurous girl, and what had she done with her shy, scared, don’t-risk-anything counterpart?
The ride up to our two-mile jump point was loud and cramped. The plane was one of the tiniest things I’d ever had the pleasure of resting my rump in.
But Scott and Geoff made it feel more comfy/cozy than loud/uncomfortable. I mean, it wasn’t even awkward when I had to haul my butt on Scott’s lap to get all hooked up for the dive. Well … not for me anyway.
And then the time came to jump. Welcome back, nerves.
I screamed until I realized that I had a choice to make: Scream or breathe.
I chose breathe.
And then as fast as it was over, the 30-second, 1-mile free-fall was over. And I pulled the parachute open and the world turned off. It was, perhaps, the most magnificent type of silence I’d ever experienced in my life. The air was still; my breathing slowed; and Scott and I floated through the air.
I was experiencing a part of the world that is usually left to the birds. A part of the world that makes you take pause, realizing how truly small you are. A part of the world that temporarily took my worries away as gravity slowly pulled us back to the real world.
When we were getting ready to land, I made sure to haul my legs up as far as they could go. No way was I going to injure my ankle less than a week before my 15k. I’d missed it the year before due to a sprain, and I was doing anything in my power to make sure it didn’t happen again — even if it meant leg lifts in mid-air.
This was, perhaps, one of the most amazing things I’ve ever experienced in my life. It was a celebration of two years of very hard work. But more than that, it turned out to be a celebration of … well … life.
Special note: In-plane and in-dive photos are photos taken of the video that I got from Central Michigan Skydivers. If you ever dive, I highly recommend getting the DVD.