Okay guys, I said I fell out of the plane because by this time I think we all know I can’t jump. But, I really guess most people, even the walking kind, actually slide out of the plane. All that’s really pointless, but I felt like I had to explain my title. But yes, I went skydiving after my accident!
Back track a few years before the fall, the slide, or jump, whatever we wanna call it. I had met a guy a few years before and we had become the best of friends. He was an MMA fighter who was no longer able to fight due to a back injury. No paralyzing factor like mine, but his dream career had ended. We both had the same fighter mentality along with the stubborn hard heads we both carry so proudly. This guy is still one of my very best friends who will always be family to me and his name is Justin.
Well, he has a best friend. Another guy that is also like family to me now. He’s probably more stubborn than Justin and I combined, but I have a great love for him no matter how aggravating his ways can be at times. I’d put a winking face in here if I could because I’m only half joking and hope Casey knows that! 🙂
Casey lived in Nashville so Justin and I decided to go visit him. As we were planning out our trip we realized we had all previously discussed sky diving together. Justin of course, the one that always gets us into stuff, got online, found a place and booked it. There was no backing out for anyone at that point.
We went up to Nashville to celebrate July 4th in 2014. Why we thought it was a good idea to book the jump on July 5th, I have no idea, but we did, or I guess Justin did since he did the booking. He is most definitely known for making very rash decisions with little to no planning, so this shouldn’t have come to a shock to us. Although, I think it really had to do with our very short stay and the companies availability! I’m just picking at Justin here. 🙂
If you’re anything like me, you love fireworks. And I have to make Nashville shine right now. We were in downtown Nashville when the fireworks went off and they seemed to be coming from everywhere. It was the most beautiful firework display I have ever seen! The night was fun and it was a night well spent with buddies but it lasted much longer than I had hoped for!
The next day we woke, I was tired. REALLY tired! You guys will soon find out, I’m obsessed with sleep. And if I don’t get at least 7 hours, I move slower and I need naps. I was running on maybe 4 hours of asleep. So I laid down in the back seat on our drive to the jumping site which was about 45 minutes away. I thought I would be able to nap, but my nerves wouldn’t allow for that!
At some point when we were almost there I sat up, I can’t even recall what I said, but they knew I was nervous. I just quickly started putting on a tiny bit of makeup so maybe no one would know how tired I was.
Not long after we got there they suited us up. I had decided to pay for the video of the jump. If I was jumping from a plane, I needed to document this!
They had suits we could put on and Casey decided to but Justin and I just went in our clothes. After they got us all suited up we were hanging out in the hanger for what seemed like a while waiting our turn. It was probably less than ten minutes though.
I had to have help up on the plane, but I honestly don’t recall how that part went. It was a small plane so it really wasn’t much getting me up there. My jumping guide and I went on the plane last, because we were going to be the first ones to jump. I never thought about it then, but I wonder if there was some sort of safety precaution they were following by making me be the first one out of the plane. They told me it was because I didn’t have to go very far into the plane. Who knows, and quite frankly, who cares?!
Up we went. I guess I could add here I know these are not the best pictures of me, so please don’t judge how funny I look in these types of adrenaline moments in my life! The pictures you will see are those moments of true happiness captured on film, so catching my right angles were not a priority, sadly, for me.
As we start going up Justin, who is afraid of heights horribly cant keep quite in his panic. As for me, and I guess Casey too, I am very quiet. I don’t have much to say because I am just in my head calming my thoughts and telling myself everything is going to be okay. I am a true believer in mind over matter. But Justin, he is a bit different. I could imagine him fidgeting back there and the picture below somewhat is proof of that. He was constantly yelling and at one time he even screamed, “We’re all gonna die!”. It didn’t bother me because I know he is dramatic, but I would like to know what all of the strangers on our flight thought!
So, I previously said I was the first one out of the plane. That’s not all the way true. There was a solo jumper that was going out at a lower elevation than us. And as the person sitting right in front of the door, I was able to watch her disappear from the plane. I watched really closely because I knew I was the next one up. After she went out we continued to fly up to our destination altitude. We climbed up to 15,000 feet to where we would jump.
You know that feeling you have when you are at the top of a roller coaster. Most people call those butterflies. You know how as soon as you go down the high point it fills like gravity is ripping your stomach out?! I had the butterflies of nerves going for sure, but I never had that gut-wrenching pulling feeling as we went soaring through the air.
Free falling. What a weird experience. You guys would be surprised, more people than you realize are so much more against skydiving than I would have ever imagined. But, I’m kind of like the person that will try almost anything, so maybe that’s why it shocks me. I want to experience as much of life as I can!
Here’s what I try explaining to those people that are scared. When you come out of the plane all you can see is the Earth below and the clouds floating under you for the first time. That will be the first time you have physically been that far away to a single object in your entire life. And for something to kill you, it has to be near you, right? Death is not even a thought in your head. How alive you are however is, because you are going fast! Faster than you’ve ever gone and it an AMAZING adrenaline rush! I highly advise trying it out some day.
Now, when your tandem jumper pulls the cord and you automatically slow down to a float before you even realize it, you could maybe get a little scared then. That’s when it slows down to a rate at which you have time to think. So this would be the moment when you start really hoping the harnesses are not going to break. That thought did come into my head once or twice. Mind over matter. I shoved that thought right back out.
He pulled the cords and let me see how it was to spin around. That part made me a little sick kinda like parasailing did. So we didn’t do it much because I told him I was cool with just coasting!
Now to the landing. If you noticed in the previous pictures I have what looks like duck tape around my legs. If you didn’t notice scroll back up and take a look. That is actually a belt wrapped around my legs and duct taped to my pants. That was our makeshift idea of how I would pull my legs up for the landing.
He made me practice this once and it was a long reach and I had to really stretch to get it but once I got the belt it was easy peasy pulling my legs up. I felt confident.
We started getting closer to Earth and it seemed the closer we got the faster it started coming at us. I began thinking, I think it’s time I pick these legs up! So I asked, when do I need to lift my legs?! He said NOW! So I reached down as quickly as possible and grabbed my legs and yanked them up! As we know, I’m good at yanking things. A few moments later, we had calming seat on the ground with ease. Not even a thud or a bump. I was rather impressed myself!
I would never take that experience back. I hope to go again one day very soon! So from me to you, if you have ever even thought about skydiving, go do it! If you hate it you never have to go again but if you love it you may find a new hobby!
Another bit of advice I will give you is, go with people that you know you can have a good time with. These are two guys that have a good time no matter what and don’t bring rain clouds to anyone’s parade. I’m happy I got to experience this for the first time with two amazing gentlemen! They made the experience better than I think anyone else could have. Thanks guys! 🙂
We only get to live this life we have once. Don’t miss out on things you want to try because of fear! 🙂