The One Jump at a Time skydiving event to raise money for the American Heart Association was a success! I am very grateful to everyone who participated and donated money to help me reach – and surpass – my fundraising goal! To date, we have raised $1,150.00 for the American Heart Association.
After dealing with a rough landing and a little bit of hypoxia prior to my set date for jumping, I made the decision to split my jumps up over the weekend instead of trying to do it all in one day. I was still getting over a chest cold and my head wasn’t completely in it like it should have been. By Sunday evening, I had made 6 skydives and reached my goal!
On Friday, I went speeding out to the drop zone after work to try and make the sunset load (did I say speeding?…Sorry, dad!). I hopped on the plane, and exited after another jumper at around 5,500 feet without double checking the spot – like an idiot – and wound up smashing myself in outside of the landing area. In the cornfield. That was the first time that has happened at my home DZ (the cornfield part, not the smashing myself in part). So needless to say, when I woke up the next morning thinking about starting the charity jumps, I had a small bout of pre-jump anxiety that began to pick up along with the wind.
I was not up for anymore corn.
So I chose to do a tandem skydive to start off the day. Easy, right?
Not that day, when my body decided to start getting hypoxic at 6,000 feet.
Hypoxia again? Are you kidding me? This seems to strike at the most random of times. I had just done a full altitude jump in Phoenix and was fine.
This time, I managed to hold it together until full altitude and we made the jump, but I was pretty discouraged when my feet hit the ground. I debated if I should even try again. I must have sat on that DZ couch for about 3 hours before putting my jumpsuit back on and manifesting myself on a load for another hop n pop.
Checking my pulse ox and heart rate between jumps
As I walked out to the plane I was more nervous than I’d ever been.
I don’t like this hypoxia issue. It’s really hard to control, it’s completely random, and I was terrified it would happen in free fall and really screw me up. As I got on the plane, and we began the climb to altitude, I thought back on a quote that I had read a few weeks ago in Felix Baumgartner’s blog.
“The only thing standing between you and your goal is the bullshit story you keep telling yourself as to why you can’t achieve it”
At that moment, I realized that I needed to make this jump for ME. I was still focused on jumping for charity and getting the jumps made that weekend, but this jump was going to be for myself.
I needed to prove to myself that even after a bad landing, even after being a hypoxic mess, that I could still do this. I’m a skydiver. I love to fly. By letting myself worry about hypoxia, and fear things that I cannot control, I was giving up.
I was looking at myself as the sick girl, the one who can’t keep up. What I had failed to see, and what I realize now, is that I was beginning to let this heart condition make me weak, when in reality it should make me stronger.
Maybe I can’t keep up with everyone else all the time, but by keeping up at my own pace, by doing things I’ve been told that I cannot do, by following my dreams and stepping around an obstacle that others may view as a wall – I become stronger, more confident, and I grow within myself.
The only thing stopping me from making more skydives and getting out of that plane was me. It wasn’t the hypoxia, it wasn’t the sinus tachycardia – it was me telling myself that I can’t, or I shouldn’t – when all along, all that I needed was to tell myself that I CAN.
So I jumped.
I landed softly, on target, with a smile.
The next day, I made the rest of my charity jumps – solo. All of my jumps that day ended with perfect, soft, on target landings. No hypoxia, no corn. 🙂
There’s no end to what you can achieve just by simply telling yourself that you can do it.
“It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not.”