Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Skydiving for the First Time.

This is the face I make mere moments before I jump out of an airplane for the first time with a gorgeous man (named Aaron) strapped to my back. I have decided that fear of impending and immediate death makes me look like my Grandmother on my Father's side, except not as pretty.

At the very moment this shot was snapped, I was looking out the "door" and realizing I was high in the sky and in a very short time, I was going to be asked to step outside into the sky. I found this disturbing.

This is my camera man who jumped moments before I did. He was Australian and the way he said my name, "Shurry," made me want to have his Australian babies. Had I not already been in a committed skydiving strap relationship with Aaron, we would be married right now.

See the leg in the purple jumpsuit with the Black Sketcher on the end? That's my leg. This was a millisecond after jumping. You should know that the term "jumping" is not nearly as accurate a word as "pushing."
Aaron pushed. My only job to get myself from inside the plane with my toes on the edge and nothing between me and the Earth but air, was to lean back into Aaron and allow him to push us out into the sky. Just that act alone - the act of folding my arms across my chest and laying my head back onto his shoulder knowing full well that I was surrendering to whatever came next - THAT was huge for me. As a woman with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, control is a precious companion. Giving that control to Aaron was powerful.

This is the face I make when I have experienced, in a matter of seconds mind you, what freedom feels like. Freedom from fear; freedom from expectations; freedom from OCD; freedom from who I believed myself to be.

When I first saw this picture, I saw someone else for a moment. The Sher I have known these 45 years was incapable of such a smile.

So skydiving for the first time, then. What do I think of sky diving for the very first time? For myself, I found it therapeutic in a way that defies explanation... at least a really good one. When I left Kansas to go to Florida to do this, I left in fear. Much was going on that terrified me. A mad man wanted to hurt me; most of my friends and family felt I'd never be able to actually make the jump; and pretty much everything in my world with the exception of my love for my kids, was shifting and moving and feeling very scary.

But in the six or seven minutes it took me to fall from that plane back to the ground, I threw off all of it. I wasn't making conscious choices to release it, of course. Looking down and around and across what was below me and feeling the rush of wind on my face and body - nothing mattered. Only that very moment. Only trying to swallow whole everything around me.

For me, skydiving was symbolic in every little way. I can do this now. I got this.

Swallowing whole one little moment at a time.

Copyright © Sherri Bailey
This blog may not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express written permission of the author.

Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape


Up2DaRack said...

Spectacular pictures of a spectacular experience, willingly shared (or is it Sher'ed?) by one spectacular woman! Very inspiring.

Sher said...

Thank you. It was incredible. Completely.

Aha! It's The Obnoxious SAHM said...

you are amazing SHER!! I am still in awe of your courage. Seeing this picture makes me have a tears in my eyes. (i am being serious) to have that kind of courage and feel freedom like that must be a life changing event.

i can only live vicariously through you. (for now) :)

amazing lady you are!

Dawn said...

This is quite possibly the coolest thing I have seen in a long time. Isn't it amazing that we are always stronger than we think we are? With all the bullshit surrounding us on a daily basis, it must have been wonderful to let it all go for a few minutes. What a memory you made. Fetus-britches has one bad-ass, inspiring grandma. Congrats.

Sher said...

Bless your heart. Thank you!

RickGriffin said...

I'm so blessed to have been along for the ride and experience your transformation up close.

I honestly can't remember the last time I been this happy for another person. Glad I was wearing sunglasses, I think you made my eyes leak.

I'm sooo proud of my Moonpie eating little sister!

kjax said...

I am so proud of you! Even if I do have to give Mr. Buble back now. Dang it.

I love that picture of you smiling. Not in a creepy way, either. In a good way.

Up2DaRack said...

One more thought. I can't help but notice that ear-to-ear smile in the last picture, and then look at the name of your blog. Now that's what I call, "Wiping the Crazy Off My Face!" You rock!

Anonymous said...

Cara Mia,
Well, you made it OK. I guess that means I won't be receiving my bequest.

Seriously, I'm happy the jump went well. Next will be a solo jump.....right?

That is a BIG smile!

Sher said...

Rick it was a blessing to look over and see your face there.

Kjax - Thank you sugar. And God bless our Buble.

Up - Right??? The FIRST time. You are the only person to have caught that. Reason #745647 why I love you.

Rob Brown said...

Great blog Sher! Jumpers all know the unbelievable feeling you got from the jump. Is there anything more emotionally powerful in a positive way? Skydiving, it's the real thing!!!
Rob Brown - A skydiver who shares the unique experiance you had.

Sher said...

Thank you, Rob! It was a defining moment in my life - sort of everything that happened PRIOR to skydiving and everything that happened AFTER skydiving.

red said...


I love reading your post.

Happy blogging!

red said...


I love reading your post.

Happy blogging!

Sher said...

TSG - Thank you Sweetheart. It means so much to me to know you're happy for me.

Red - Thank you! I'm very glad.

Sue said...

Great job Sherri! I recently did my own tandem and am almost through the AFF course for my license. I did 2 tandems with Aaron before going for AFF. He's the best! I felt the exact same way you did afterwords and loved the way you described it. I was going through my own changes in life and never thought I would be able to go through with it. It has made all the difference in my life. I'm completely addicted to skydiving now! Going back to Zhills this weekend. Hopefully one day we'll meet. I'm Sue Roberts Boyle on Facebook if you'd like to talk some more. Congratulations!!

Sher said...

Thanks, Sue and back atcha! Aaron was just such a doll. I wanted to marry him (and divorce him) before I even hit the ground.

You can find me under Sherri Bailey on FB.


Skydivers said...

Of course skydive experience is the Unmatched Thrill And Excitement!c