I have felt truly free once in my life and have not yet recaptured that feeling. By truly free I mean without any other thought besides surviving. The freedom that lets your soul soar, your heart race and every emotion evaporate in a primal scream, you are so free when you think you are about to die. But you are not concerned about dying because the exhilarating freedom you feel makes nothing else matter.
This freedom came to me with my first skydive with Top End Tandems, a very professional outfit.
Shakespeare said, “A coward dies many times before his death, the brave man only once”. So I was going to be courageous. My now husband and I had only known each other a couple of weeks and I blithely mentioned I’d always wanted to skydive (but never really done anything to make it happen). With that he got on the phone and booked a tandem jump for both of us that coming weekend.
I was terrified and spent most of that morning in silence. I wanted to back out but burdened by a recent bereavement, I thought this would be an ideal way to prove something to myself and blow off some steam.
My hands still sweat at the anticipation I felt during the 20 minute flight to 12,000 feet. Mr magentfrog looking excitedly over at me and squeezed my hand in reassurance as this was his second jump. I could not believe I was willingly going to jump from a perfectly good plane. My face was pale and my throat very dry but somehow I still wanted to do this. The door was opened and it was my turn to slide to the edge with my tandem instructor clipped behind me. I looked over at Mr magentafrog to find an uncharacteristic look of dread on his face that said ‘I am in deep shit if this doesn’t work out’.
But it was too late now, as I had slid out of the plane and was sitting on the wheel with my feet resting on a very small metal ledge with nothing else between me and a beautiful beckoning silence below. I could see forever, the impossibly azure coast giving way to the dry cracked savannah lands in the distance and the gentle curvature of the horizon. I was rigid with fear and my instructor pushed in behind me and counted 1, 2, 3 in my ear and then pushed us away from that little ledge of hope . . . we were falling, falling so fast and it was amazing . . .
I emptied my soul into the air with continued screaming. Every ounce of pain, regret, self-consciousness, loss and fear emptied from my soul into the atmosphere and was gone. I had found a peace in my heart that gave me a solace I had not felt before. I was light, I was alive and I was free . . . for just those few seconds of free-fall.
I wanted to do it again straight away such was the adrenaline rush. I can see how people become addicted to it. But that occurred before I became a mother and I fully understood the importance of being there for my children which meant taking less obvious risks with my life. I will do it again but not right now.
When are you truly free? How do you cleanse your soul?