Wednesday, 13 May 2020 / Hinton Airfield, Steane, Brackley NN13 5NS, UK

What skydiving taught me about fear

A black and white landing shot from my skydive
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” - Franklin D. Roosevelt.

I remember watching Will Smith’s video on what skydiving taught me about fear and I was left feeling inspired. Will said, “God placed the best things in life on the other side of fear” and now I can confirm, he’s not wrong. Think of all the things you want to achieve in life but your fears are holding you back. the things that would leave you feeling more fulfilled are on the other side of your fear-filled thoughts. This video is how I came to say yes to doing a charity skydive.

Back in September, my friend Ibraheem asked me if I would do a sponsored Skydive for charity, I said yes despite being petrified of heights. On Saturday, I jumped out of a plane from 13,000 feet to raise over £3,000 for British Blind Sport.
A black and white falling shot from my skydive
I may come across as being brave and fearless on my socials but I actually have a lot of fears, I’m just good at masking them. The art of faking it until you make it has got me this far in life but there are still so many things that I want to achieve that my fears are likely to get the better off and stop me from doing. One of those fears is heights, don’t take it lightly when I saw I am petrified of heights, those who know me in real life will tell you that I am the biggest wuss, I don’t do rides or anything more than a few cms off the ground.

You don’t register what you’re about to do when they’re strapping you up, taking you through safety procedures and you board that plane. The shutter goes down and that’s it, the plane is getting ready to take off and before you know it, you’re 13,000 feet in the air, above the clouds and the only way down is by jumping out. Your instructor goes through the safety procedures with you again, the shutter goes up, the light turns green, you slide forward, hang your feet over the edge of the plane and it's your turn to jump. For about 45 seconds, you’re freefalling with no parachute at 220 mph through the sky. I can’t describe the feeling, it doesn’t feel like the way falling feels in a dream or that feeling you get in your stomach on rides. The best way to describe it is a euphoric sense of freedom, at this moment, I burst into tears and said “Keith, I just jumped out a fucking plane, I can’t believe it” and he replied with “You did it, Fran, you’re amazing”. 

My nerves started to kick in as we got closer to the ground because you realise just how fast you’re going and the fear of death starts to kick in, “what if we don’t slow down enough to land”, “what if Keith accidentally steers us into a building” and then you land and you’re overcome by a feeling of relief, happiness, tears - a real mix of every emotion. 
A black and white shot with my tandem instructor smiling with our thumbs up
From a girl who had a panic attack at the top of the Manchester eye to jumping out of a plane at 13,000 feet. I couldn’t have done it without the encouragement of Keith and Simon, even if they were taking the piss that I was going to slip out the harness.

I hope my story encourages one if not all of you to push yourself and conquer your fears. Now I’ve conquered my fear of heights, what should I do next? I’m thinking a bungee jump.


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