How To Conquer Your Fears-Kinda

When I was a kid, my mom used to make this amazing cheesecake. “It’s for the adults,” she’d say as she watched me eye the cheesecake while she prepared for an upcoming dinner party. Invariably there’d be a bit leftover, which is where the trouble began.

My mom would give us each what seemed like a tiny sliver of a piece of cheesecake, but I wanted more. She’d warn that the cake was rich, better to have a little than too much. “Don’t let your eyes be bigger than your head,” she’d say. This never really sat well with me. I didn’t want to think things through. I wanted more cheesecake.

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Yesterday, I got my cheesecake.

See a few weeks ago I got invited to participate in Spyce Camp, a day of activities that could teach you how to spice up your life, Spy style. Spyce Camp, get it? Fox Studios wanted to invite a bunch of bloggers out to Spyce Camp in support of their upcoming movie “Keeping Up With The Joneses.” The movie, starring Jon Hamm and Isla Fisher, is about a suburban couple who finds their new neighbors are actually spies.

I have to learn how to strike a flattering pose in a flight suit. Also, why doesn't any else look terrified?
I have to learn how to strike a flattering pose in a flight suit. Also, why doesn’t any else look terrified?

When I got the invite for Spyce Camp, a day of indoor skydiving, dart training from professional dart throwers (who knew?!), and cooking classes from a world famous chef, I said, “Yes!” I was all in.

This is so cool! I thought to myself. Moments later, I remembered I was scared of heights. And near-death experiences. And high near-death experiences. But then my thought bubble replaced the heights part with a reminder that this invite was a very cool invite.

Plus, I want to be a person who goes indoor skydiving. And who knows how to do things like throw darts, or kayak, or ski, or play the violin. I don’t know how to do any of them. So I shoved the scared of heights thing out of my brain and patted myself on the back for attempting to always challenge myself to be interesting. If I want my kids to try new foods and new things, I thought, I have to be willing to do the same.

I forgot that I’d have to go indoor skydiving until I was about ten minutes away from IFly at Universal City Walk.

I started to panic.

I wanted to turn the car around.

But, I’m not one to ever bail on a commitment, even one that would force me to tackle a big fear, in this case heights. But, there was a part of me that was mad at myself for having eyes bigger than my head. Why didn’t you think this through? I thought. Too much cheesecake.

I parked my car and made my way over to IFly.

After meeting up with the other ladies and gentlemen, and after getting a quick tutorial on how not to die or, “Smash your face,” as our instructor so eloquently put it, we suited up.

Me, in my glam flight suit. I didn't have the heart to ask for a more flattering color.
Me, in my glam flight suit. I didn’t have the heart to ask for a more flattering color.

And then we entered the chamber.

I had a problem with the word chamber as usually chambers are associated with torture, but I let that slide and tried to keep up my deep breathing.

As my turn got closer and closer, I got more and more nervous. But, no one else was backing out no matter how tense they seemed. I reminded myself that a huge movie studio would not send me to my death, at least no intentionally. And that’s the thing about fears. We know in our heads there is no way anything bad can happen to us, but our bodies have other ideas.

So when it came time for me to take my turn, thankfully I wasn’t the first one to go, I took a few deep breaths and dove in.

And I’m so glad I did.

It’s an amazing feeling to fly. And an even more amazing feeling to tackle a fear and know that you can. I had tangles in my hair and drool all over my face, but I didn’t chicken out. I did something I was scared to do.

When it came time for each of us take our second turn flying the teacher said, “Do you want go up high?” (We later learned he wasn’t really asking. We were going up high whether we wanted to or not.) My mouth said, “Sure,” even though my brain was thinking, Is this really necessary?

Despite being terrified, I did it. “It” being getting sent 30 feet up in the air with nothing to hold on to except my instructor.

I can fly!
I can fly!

I will admit that when they sent me shooting 30 feet up into the air, I couldn’t look down. In fact, I had to close my eyes. I know, you’re not supposed to close your eyes while you’re flying through the air and could potentially bash into the glass wall that is keeping your from dying, but the instructor was holding on to me and I trusted he wouldn’t let me crash too hard. But, I just couldn’t look down.

At one point I did motion to the guy “driving” the wind that I had had enough of going up high, but he didn’t see me or he totally ignored me. It’s probably for the best. Sometimes you just have to suck it up and do things that are uncomfortable for you, even if you can’t take a look.

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We spent the rest of the afternoon learning to throw darts from the pros (there’s a dart throwing league, did you know?) And the rest of the group got cooking lessons from an expert chef. (I had to cut out early to pick up my kids at school.)

I left feeling proud. I’ll probably never go skydiving again. In fact, I don’t really need to. I can just go see Keeping Up With Joneses and live vicariously through them. I can keep my eyes open and I won’t have to worry about all that drool.  But, at least I did it once. Now I guess I need to learn to kayak.

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