It is convenient to have a fear of flying when you can’t travel anyway.
All that I will tell myself (and remember in the future) is that I’m not leaving. There will be no major reason; I couldn’t and I (possibly) wouldn’t want to if I could.
It feels familiar. That’s how I spent most of my young life: watching movies, and reading about other places. Yet when I realized I couldn’t travel abroad as a teenager, I began to take note of what would repulse me about what happens “over there”.
I am little uneasy that I am growing into my older self. Growth isn’t supposed to be in circles. You’re supposed to learn and learn until you know almost everything you need to know. So by the time you’re old, everything would seem repetitive and boring because you know everything.
A few days ago, I woke up feeling terrible. I knew I had bad dreams, but I didn’t remember anything. It was helpless misery, and for the whole day I was feeling terrible for nothing that I have committed. It was one of the worst feelings.
I promised myself that I will stop my old habit of believing in the least optimistic view on things. I planned to do it, at least just to show that I’m growing in the traditional sense; growth by not being your past self.
But I’m starting to form an explanation that ties everything together.
There will be many “maybe”s in the next sentences. I don’t want to break my promise, so I’ll just express doubts that I don’t fully believe.
I couldn’t study abroad, that’s the fact.
Maybe my fear of flight is a tool I used to not feel helpless misery. Maybe in those terrible unknown dreams I was just traveling the world. Maybe I haven’t grown in all those years. Maybe I don’t know how to handle this failure better than my 15 year old self.
I have a developed a technique for overcoming my fear of airplanes. I look at the laughing children. I look the elderly. I look at the lovers and the loved ones. I conclude that no good force would allow this plane to fall, not even as a punishment for my inherent evilness.
I conclude that even if the plane did fall, I would grieve the people who had more to lose than myself.
Maybe what I fear isn’t the physical part of flying, but the memories I have in airplanes. It seems every crucial moment in my life involved leaving someone or something.
I remember the tears that forced themselves out of the face I held calm, as I left home back to college. I pretended to be sick and asked my older brother to stop at a clinic on our way to the airport. I wished they would say I had cancer, so that I could quit school and stay home without feeling like a failure.
I remember the interview with the big company. I remember saying to myself as they showed us around their building: “If everything I’ve been through was the price to get here, then I’ll gladly accept it.” The captain flew over the city and away, and my final share of that place was seeing it from afar. Nothing professional about a man with a crumbled suit and crushed pride.
But, for what it’s worth, I’ve never cried over the same cause twice. Leaving familiar places get less upsetting after a while. This is what the optimistic would call grit and perseverance. I think that’s exactly what I fear; not death, but the loss of life. With every flight I take, part of me is lost. The unfortunate way to become strong is to leave the weaker parts behind forever.