I had a flight on Sunday and it was the first time I didn’t feel my heart beat too fast or my palms sweat or my lungs construct or my mind panic; I was perfectly calm for takeoff, a state foreign to me on an airplane.
Many people fear flying. It’s quite common. My own fear is a recently developed one. There is a lot of terror associated with planes since the millennium, and especially recently, with planes disappearing left and right, some still unfound. I internalize these terrors to the degree that it was the inspiration for the story I wrote last year and have been tirelessly editing and querying for.
When I was abroad in 2013, a plane crashed at SFO and I became obsessed with knowing every single detail, trying to uncover why it crashed- I became consumed by it partly because there was seemingly no reason, and yet the outcome was terrifying.
That’s the thing about terror- it’s random. Our world is filled with random terror, and to me that’s the most horrible kind because it’s wholly unpredictable. You can be having a coffee at a Lindt café and find yourself suddenly at gunpoint, held hostage for hours, praying for some sort of outcome because this waiting is killing you.
The saddest thing to me is that some people spend their entire lives making others’ lives miserable. It is such a waste, with all the good the world has to offer. And instead of seeing the beauty of this world, we are forced to live in an altered state, a state of terror that can creep up behind you like your own shadow at any moment.
Perhaps I felt so calm in the plane, finally, because I was up in the atmosphere, close to space, away from it all.
I don’t think escapism is the solution. There are people who can’t get away. So we don’t runaway to the moon nor cling to a fantasy of blasting off into a rocket to colonize some dead planet. We remain here and we try to help as best we can, whatever way that might be. Perhaps by just remaining here, and staying, and not running away, we are standing up to the randomness. We create our own altered state, one that cannot be broken.
Just some thoughts I had today after reading a really incredible article on ISIS in The Atlantic.