I grew up as an only child, but I was never a “lonely child” because my parents were managing a group home and we got to live there for free.
Although I was never alone, it still wasn’t what you’d think was normal.
I lived with my parents and six other women with develop mental disabilities. (High-functioning adults but with brains not fully developed.)
So, for the most part, I still played by myself.
One of my favorite things to do was jump off this big green couch we had.
I’d climb up on one arm of the couch run across the board of the couch to the other arm of the couch and take a big jump with my arms extended.
I pretended that I was flying!
My flights wouldn’t last very long but I was quite the active kid with lots of energy, so you can only imagine how many times I did this in one sitting.
As a kid, I never thought, “I wanna go sky diving!”
But I knew I always wanted to feel like I was flying, so I’m sure once I learned what sky diving was, I wanted to do it!
But that’s the thing, I WANTED to do it.
That didn’t mean I thought I’d do it.
Fast forward to my adult life…
I did it!
I felt what it was like to fly.
I never thought I’d have the audacity to do it, but I did it!
And the crazy thing is, I had the audacity to do it, but I was terrified.
Subconsciously, my desire to fly probably contributed to my desire to skydive but good gosh! I, truly, never thought I’d get myself to do such a thing because all my life, from what I can remember, I always thought I was just a dreamer, just…timid.
But I took a chance on myself, dragged my mom along and jumped out that plane!
My skydiving instructor, Dan, said I made it easy for him.. That I wanted to jump out and he was just there to give me a little push.
Back story: It was quite crazy that my instructor’s name was Dan because last year, I lost a mentor who was slowly starting to become my friend- Dan Dan.
Dan Dan was one of my managers at the gym I used to work at. He was the first person I met there.
I went into my interview 10 minutes early. He looked at the time and said, “10 minutes early, you’re on time. Have a seat and I’ll go get Randy.”
Randy did not interview me that day.
Dan and my other manager at the time, Star, interviewed me and I thought it was going well up until Star had to go take care of a homeless guy-wandering-in-the-gym situation and I was left with Dan.
In that moment, Dan proceeded with the interview and he called me timid.
That was a hot button type-of-word for me because I’d been working on that and here was this guy that I hardly knew calling me out on my biggest insecurity at the time!
After the interview; after what he’d said to me; I didn’t think I’d be getting a call back.
But the next day, Dan called me and asked me when I could come in again and the rest was history.
Dan and I had a rocky start and I was actually kind of afraid of him but he started mentoring me along with my other manager, and before he passed, he started working on Sundays which were always my shifts and we got to talking more and he began helping me overcome things in my personal life, and he never knew how much it meant to me.
I talk about Dan Dan so much in this post because my instructor didn’t just have the same name, he had the same spirit.
Before jumping out of the plane, we talked about happiness and it felt like, for a second, I was talking to Dan Dan.
And honestly, I think Dan Dan would’ve pushed me out of a plane, too.
But Dan, my skydiving instructor, made me feel so comfortable and he said this to me in lieu of my anxiety, “It’s pretty arrogant if you think we’re going to die after doing this 6,000 times.”
That made all the sense in the world to me.
So, I jumped.
At first, I was thinking “OH GOD WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING?! I AM NOT ENJOYING THIS, OH MY GOD” while clinging onto the straps attached to Dan.
Before jumping out of the plane, Dan told me to lift my arms up in a cactus like position when he tapped my arm, but I was too busy being scared to remember.
After several taps later, I released my arms and it was happening. I was in the air with my arms extended.
I was flying!
I felt that same child-like happiness I felt diving off the big green couch.
When it was time to just glide in the sky, I was mesmerized by the open sky and high altitude.
I was looking around at all my surroundings trying to take everything in.
Although I was in the sky, I felt so connected to the world around me.
I was in a higher altitude which broadened my own mental attitude.
And before even remembering that I used to imagine flying as a kid, I thought about why I wanted to go skydiving for my birthday in the first place and WHY it HAD to be on my birthday..
I wanted to celebrate the fact that I was alive when there was a chance of me not getting to experience a moment like this had my life actually ended 5 years ago.
I wanted to learn to let go.
I wanted to let go of the Kat that was timid and self-loathing.
I wanted to let go of my doubtful thoughts toward Christ and KNOW that I am loved by God.
I wanted to LEARN what it FELT like to let go so that I could have a physical feeling to remember every time I forget and fall back into self-loathing and over performance.
I just wanted to let go and feel like a kid again- pure and free.
This day meant so much to me. I did this 13 days ago and I’m finally finding the words I feel in my heart that are the most honest about this experience.
This blog post isn’t perfect, but it’s from the heart and I’ve learned to let go of my need to have it all together.
I will probably talk about this experience from time to time because I still don’t feel done talking about it because there were SO MANY things, I was processing that day!