Give Me Wings


I wish that I could fly
Into the sky
So very high
Just like a dragonfly

I’d fly above the trees
Over the seas in all degrees
To anywhere I please

Oh I want to get away
I want to fly away   –   Lenny Kravitz

I started writing this in the air about about four and a half hours into a flight to Phoenix which was the first half of our trip to Hawaii. I pulled out paper and pen and wrote like a mad woman because that is exactly what I was. I think I made it clear that I don’t fly well and I was so screwed up in my head that the idea of pulling my laptop out of my bag felt like it would take Herculean effort…so I went old school.

I forgot how much I love to write by hand.

I had been up since 3:00 a.m. to get everyone ready to catch a 7:00 a.m. flight. Although exhausted and medicated sleep on a plane is next to impossible for me so this seemed like a good way to pass the time.

Preparing for this trip, seven days and five thousand miles away from home, had been a nightmare. More accurately, I had been a nightmare. The whole process seemed to be comedy of errors right down to the email opened at 11:00 p.m. to check in and get our boarding passes, five hours before we left for the airport, only to find the word in panic inducing bold…NOT BOOKED.

It was the wrong email.

Leaving our home, I inevitably believed I forgot to pack something vital or left another something plugged in or switched on that should most decidedly be unplugged or switched off. I made my husband stop at a shady convenience store at 4:45 a.m. so I could break every rule that I have about public restrooms and be sick.

Since the gods of travel apparently have me marked as public enemy number one, my twelve year old daughter set off  the alarm for an apparent random inspection which required the TSA agent to shout, “There! That’s her mother!” and pull me aside to search me and wipe down every single electronic device in my carry on. (I would have this happen twice more in two different airports on this trip but by the third time I was prepared to just strip down and fly home naked.)

For a bit my anxiety seemed to have fled. Until we sat down at the gate. I became aware of the cold drops of sweat forming on my upper lip and the steady increase of my heart rate. My stomach began to churn as the six of us took our place in line to walk what I had come to view as my own personal Green Mile.

I told my husband to board the plane with the kids and I turned and literally ran for the bathroom. I locked myself in a stall, my entire mind and body involved in the throes of intense and unrelenting panic. I knew without a shred of uncertainty that there was absolutely, positively no way I was getting on that airplane.

Rewind to a few days before when my husband and I were looking up the locations of the activities we wanted to plan. We pulled up Google Earth, the wondrous tool that shows where all the places are. Curious, I wanted to zoom out and see just how far Hawaii actually is from Florida. How, after years of schooling and a fair amount of intelligence, I didn’t realize the Hawaiian Islands are extraordinarily tiny spots of land in a very, very large expanse of the Pacific I will never know.

The thought of being on an airplane with nothing, nothing, nothing but water, water everywhere terrified me.

I had never been to Hawaii and it was on my bucket list. An opportunity arose and we decided to pull the kids out of school, even our college freshman, and make what is usually a getaway for Jeff and me a family vacation. It was a first for all of us and who knew if the chance would come around again? Our kids are still young enough to experience wonder that is simply magical…hell, so am I!

We planned free range horseback riding and a helicopter tour over an active volcano, waterfalls, and other botanical sites. Jeff was taking the older kids zip-lining over some of the waterfalls and a rainforest. We were really looking forward to snorkeling with spinner dolphins in their natural habitat, not a man made site with trained animals. (The unexpected bonus was that it was whale season and while we were underwater we could hear the whales singing and even caught sight of a few breaches from the boat. I’ve never seen anything so breathtaking.)

I told myself many things while locked in that bathroom stall, willing my heart to slow and my breathing to return to normal. I wiped my sweaty palms on my jeans, stood up and opened the stall door. I went to the sink and washed my hands. Not minding anyone else in the room I took a long, hard look at myself in the mirror and said out loud, “You have done brave and amazing things, some far more frightening than getting on an airplane and flying to paradise. Your family is waiting for you. Get your ass on that fucking plane.”

I went to the gate and walked the gangway, taking every step and every breath with intention. I was the last person to board and as I made my way down the aisle I caught sight of my family, watching for me, their relief evident. I swallowed my fear, got on that plane and the one after that…..

and I flew over the deep blue sea.



Photo credit: Ryan Jacques/

Learning to Fly

As you read this I am likely on a plane, medicated and trying desperately to focus on the destination.

I’m not a good flyer. I never used to be afraid to board an airplane. I loved everything about traveling. Well, not the packing. That just sucks. I can never get all the shoes I want to take to fit in the suitcase. And as I type that I realize that not one of you cares about that first world problem.

I remember in days gone by loving the whole experience; arriving to the airport, schlepping bags in, managing through security, and finally…finding enough time to grab bags of peanut M&Ms and a few useless, trashy tabloids to wade through on the plane. Never in the terminal. No. That was reserved for Starbucks and people watching.

Today, I am terrified and I have been for days. I have been a raging banshee despite my resolution (and failed attempts) not to be. My family probably hates me a little right now.

But they’ll get over it.

Won’t they?

The last time I flew, which was this same time last year, I had a god-awful panic attack mid-air that had tears streaming down my face and an absolute conviction that I couldn’t swallow or breathe. I was wild-eyed and convinced at any moment that I would fly out of my seat and scream for someone to let me out, let me out, LET ME OUT!

At 30,000 feet.

I never left my seat and I am really hoping that won’t happen today and have taken steps to insure my sanity stays intact.

In all honesty, I had this exact same reaction on the monorail at Disney when it stopped on the raised tracks for ten minutes so my uneducated guess is it is not only flying……it’s being stuck in a tin can full of people. 

Wish me us all luck.

So, having said all of that, I have put up a couple of recycled posts for the coming week. Some of you wonderful folks who followed me here from my first blog have already read them. I do notice that  I have a few new people who have joined the ranks (for which I am incredible grateful) and these may give you a deeper look into my psyche.

Have a wonderful week, friends.



Photo credit: Liane Metzler/



And I’ll let it be known
At times I have shown
Signs of all my weakness
But somewhere in me
There is strength    –    Relient K

It happens every time I am getting ready to leave on a trip far from home. Something in my mind just trips the switch and I get crazy. Angry crazy. Stupid crazy. Irrational crazy. Paralyzing crazy.

My perfectionism, my need for control, my need for all people and all things to be in all their right places, and my ability find and throw a monkey wrench into every aspect of a plan……

These things are my kryptonite.

As an introvert, I don’t stray far from home. But every once in a while, as a member of a family who craves adventure and amazing new sights I must leave the safe confines of my home and my five mile radius. I love the idea of going somewhere new; seeing lovely sights, eating decadent and different foods, seeing wonders not in the above mentioned five mile radius and making memories with my husband and children. The actual doing is a whole different animal.

I am weak. I am afraid. Of what?

Outside these walls, I have no control. Without it, my imperfections are visible and I am vulnerable, a state I find most unpleasant and completely unacceptable.

While the ‘suck it up’ and ‘never let ‘em see how you really feel’ mentality I grew up in has its advantages at times, it has done nothing to serve me in learning how to deal with uncertainty and how to take risks. Sure, I do both of these things. But I don’t do them well. At least not on the inside. You see the smile in the photos, maybe even a little campiness. The internal picture is much different.

It is a fight. Each and every time.

I realize that this need for perfection is limiting. It causes anxiety, depression, and isolation. I manage to make it through most situations with an attitude of ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ but the cost is immense. I feel like I have gone five rounds in the octagon and afterward I am spent and suffer true post-traumatic stress.

This makes me sound insane.

Mostly, it makes me angry.

These ridiculous issues have the capability of stopping me from enjoying every moment of a life that is likely half over. I spent the first half standing up against the wall declining nearly all offers to dance, rarely stepping into the arena. I don’t want to live like this anymore.

I want to be all in. I want to know that I can do things and if I fail, I have failed triumphantly. I don’t want to care what other people think of me because in reality, it is none of my business. I want the smile to be genuine and the laughter to be so lengthy and strong that the muscles of my belly rebel. I want my children to look back on the photos one day and say, ‘That was the greatest trip ever.’

About every single one of them.

My perfectionism, control, and cynicism? It’s all shield and armor.

From fear.

Fear of failing.

Fear of never trying.

Fear of regret.

Fear of death.

Fear of life.

Today I am making a conscious decision to wield my sword and smash the bloody kryptonite. I will run and leap into the arena and should I stumble and fall, I will get up, dust myself off and leap again.

I am not fool enough to think that I can smash what has been building up for years upon years in one fell swoop. I may only take out a chink or two.

But, oh, what if I can?