13,000 ft of Pure AWESOME

Skydiving: the sport of jumping from an aircraft and performing acrobatic maneuvers in the air during free fall before landing by parachute.

Yes skittle-dee-doo that's what I did last Sunday!
And what do you know... I survived! I mean, yes, clearly I survived, otherwise the zombiefication process would currently be in affect.


But why skydiving Amanda? You may ask. 

Me: Well, why the heck not? I've only got one life to live and I want to live it well. Meaning I will safely and thoughtfully do some dangerous stuff...

Daredevil: a reckless person who enjoys doing dangerous things.

There you go. 

Here's the thing (Erika J.'s favorite saying), I've wanted to go skydiving since I was a little tater-tot--probably even dreamt about it during my dark and aqueous fetus days... but seriously now, the fact of the matter is I was born a daredevil... as my mother can (without any hesitation) attest to. 

Here is a small sample of my daredevilry:
  1. 9 months: Began walking. 
  2. 8 years old: Road my bike down insanely steep mountains of dirt. 
  3. Always did flips on the monkey bars during elementary school (sometimes without hands).
  4. Did backflips off the diving board.
  5. Loved jumping my horses over cross country courses. 
  6. Raced my thoroughbred up a hill bareback on a dare (couldn't pee for a week).
  7. Huge roller coaster and crazy-steep-wedgie-inducing water slide junkie. 
  8. Love trying to break the sound barrier on the ATV.
  9. Done acrobatics in an airplane with an open cockpit. 
  10. Donate blood even though I absolutely loathe needles with a fiery passion. 
  11. Backpacked across Italy, Switzerland, and Germany all by myself. 
  12. Went paragliding in Interlaken, Switzerland. 
The list goes on and on. 

At fourteen-years-old I asked my mom if I could go and she answered: On your eighteenth birthday. 
FOUR YEARS?????? I thought in bitter agony, that's like FOREVER! 


So, I patiently waited and waited and waited and waited. 
And guess what happened two years later?
BAM!
Back surgery. 
Um, ouch. 
Yeah, that's what I thought too. 
But I knew that after two years of intense recovery I'd be fit to go ride a horse again as well as jump out of an airplane because as you (hopefully know) 16 + 2 = 18.
Well, I waited a year and four months and guess what happened?
BAM!
2 of my 4 titanium screws cracked completely in half!
Mega ouch!
Your telling me. 
Had the second back surgery a whole freaking month before my 18th birthday. 
Skydiving was cancelled. 
Thus, I had to wait 2 more years. 
Very sad... but let me tell you something: IT WAS WELL WORTH THE WAIT!!!

Now, let's stop reminiscing about the past because the here and now is pretty dang sweet my friends. 

Some people were a slightly trepidations when I told them of my skydiving adventure. My response lies in this dorky video.


People, relax! I saw it in the witch's eye and that's not how I go (Bonus Points if you know what movie that comes from).

Here is a list of the MOST LIKELY WAYS OF DYING: 
  1. Heart Disease (Lifetime odds 1 in 5)
  2. Cancer (Lifetime odds 1 in 7)
  3. Stroke (Lifetime odds 1 in 24)
  4. Motor Vehicle Accident (1 in 84)
  5. Suicide (1 in 119)
  6. Falling (1 in 218)
  7. Firearm Assault (1 in 314)
  8. Pedestrian Accident (1 in 626)
  9. Drowning (1 in 1,008)
  10. Motorcycle Accident (1 in 1, 020) 
So, there you go. Some fun facts. By the way, #6 does not include falling out of the sky. (Yep, I know that's what you were thinking, you sneaky smart aleck.)

So, Saturday Mom, Mike, and I drove to Molalla, Oregon to go skydiving at Skydive Oregon. 

 We signed all the paperwork, which morbidly made me giggle (case in point: PARACHUTES DON'T ALWAYS WORK), and got some training in. We learned the proper body positions before, during, and after jumping out of the airplane and to put it mildly, I was excited, like smiling-so-wide-you'd-think-I-peed-my-pants-and-enjoyed-the-warmth-it-brought-me excited. But, unfortunately, the weather was not cooperating with us (clouds, clouds, and more freaking dastardly clouds) and we did not get to skydive that day. I was MAJORLY bummed out as you can probably imagine. 

So (I need to stop introducing my paragraph's with "so"), we got up early the next day and...
BAM! 
Sunshine!
Holy crap!
Guess what we're doing today?
Yes skittle-dee-doo, we're goin' skydiving!

My madre and I suited up and met our tandem partners. Mom's, interestingly enough, was the guy who trained us the day before. My tandem buddy looked like a cross between a Cheeto Puff and Jesus. I hung out with two guys, actually, because I was getting pictures and a video taken. 

After I suited and geared up I went outside and Mike (my step-dad for those of you who don't know) and (dang it I forgot his name) the photographer dude took some pre-skydiving pictures.

Funny thing: Two of the guys that went skydiving with us had never ridden a plane before. 

My Smurf Suit!

Let's do this thing! 

Momma, Mikey, and Me.
Clearly, I am not aware that I am being photographed here...

Momma. 

Helmeting up! 
Jerry Seinfeld: "...Skydiving was definitely the scariest thing I've ever done. Let me ask you this question in regards to the skydiving: what is the point of the helmet in the skydiving? I mean, can you kinda make it? You jump out of that plane and that chute doesn't open, the helmet is now wearing youfor protection. Later on the helmet's talking with the other helmets going "It's a good thing that he was there or I would have hit the ground directly."


(Told you!) Cheeto Puff + Jesus = My Tandem Partner

Grin: smile broadly, esp. in an unrestrained manner and with mouth open. 

DORK ALERT!!!!


I was the last one to load the plane, which means... yeah buddy... first one out of it! 
BOOYAH! 
We sat on these squishy blue balancing beams (at least that's what they looked like), while the plane took off from the runway. The Cheeto Puff Jesus Man began strapping me into him, so that I, thankfully, would not fall to my death.

The whole plane ride I was grinning like a madwoman and I was also kind of concerned... and probably not for the reason you think. You see, my heart rate was perfectly calm. I was ridiculously relaxed. More so than when I go donate blood. 
BUT YOU ARE JUMPING OUT OF A FREAKING AIRPLANE AT 13,000 FT!!!!!!
I know, and that's why I was concerned. 
Because I wasn't freaking out. My heart wasn't pounding out of control like I had hoped it would. Just beating a tad bit faster than it does in my physics class...

And I guess the reason is because I just let go of all my fears and had faith. I did this, too, when I went in to the operating room for my second surgery. I just relaxed because, honestly, fretting about it is only going to make the journey that much more painful. 

In the book that I'm currently working on getting published there is a scene where the protagonist, Juna, almost drowns as a young girl when a heavy cloth snags her foot and pulls her deep beneath the lake's surface. Her best friend, Max, ends up saving her life and becomes livid at her for panicking. He tells her: Panic is the enemy. You panic you die. 
Which is true. When you panic, you can't think, and bad things happen. 

And you definitely don't want to panic when skydiving...

That suit was quite comfy by the way. 
Mommy!

SO RIDICULOUSLY EXCITED!!!!

ONLY HALFWAY UP!!!!

Pumped!

Pro Skydiver went first!

WEE!!!!!
And of course... I forgot to slide my goggles on. 

Saw how high we were jumping and STILL my heart rate remained calm! 
Before we jumped out the Cheeto Puff Jesus Man asked me if I wanted to skydive (it's regulation) and I was like: HELL YES!!!!
So, we squatted by the plane's opening and I crossed my arms over my chest like I was trained and stared down at the ground. The whole time I was thinking: Let's go! Let's go! Let's do this!!!!
And then we jumped and the next thing I knew I was free falling at 120mph.

Here's the thing about free falling at that speed. There is a BRUTAL amount of air resistance. The first couple seconds I literally couldn't breathe. That freaked me out as you can probably imagine. I thought I might pass out. I forgot to breathe through my nose (I was trying to inhale through my mouth). But remember: Panic is the enemy. You panic you die. I cleared my thoughts and inhaled sharply through my nose. Eventually I got a hang of it.

As I was falling the Cheeto Puff Jesus Man tapped my back, meaning: You can put your arms out now.  I also made sure to arch my back and keep my legs bent. He also slid my goggles on. So kind.

In addition to remembering all that, I had to be on the lookout for Mr. Cameraman and appear entertained (I mean, don't get me wrong, I was, but I had to consciously make sure that my face portrayed that too). I screamed for the video's sake.

Skydiving was like nothing I've ever expected. I thought it would as exhilarating as a roller coaster. You know that feeling in the pit your stomach when you blast down that first hill? Yeah, well, I thought it would feel like that times 100, but it wasn't.

It was rather peaceful, however.

And I think it's because we were in equilibrium... (see I learned something in physics!)

It's funny because all these things I assumed to be crazy adrenaline rushes (ex: acrobatics in a plane, paragliding, skydiving, etc.) turn out to be surprisingly and utterly peaceful.








STRIPED SOCK!!! (Gift from Sara Hoffman)


Pretty shot! 







The Cheeto Puff Jesus Man and I made it!!!
We landed and no harm was done!!!
Before we landed I got to steer the parachute around which was both easy and a lot of fun.
I was laughing like crazy in the end.
I wanted to do it again and again and again!

Oddly enough, this song played in my head as I fell from the sky (slightly morbid if you think about it).


Later, I went home and had to do homework and if I thought physics homework was mundane before just imagine my thoughts after skydiving... yeah... it was brutal!!!

My left lung was hurting the rest of the day and I think it was due to the whole oh-crap-I-can't-breathe moment. But I was perfectly okay the next day.

If you are thinking about skydiving I TOTALLY RECOMMEND IT! And do it through Skydive Oregon too because they are both amazing and have a great reputation.

I am seriously considering getting my skydiving license. I would love to be a full-time author and part-time skydiving photographer. Now that's the life, my friend!

Okay, blog to you later!
A lot more frequently, too, I'm guessing since school is out!


Oh yes, and I will post my skydiving video as soon as I receive it in the mail.

Sincerely,
Amanda Yancey: The Skydiver

P.S
I eventually found out their names which, coincidentally, are not the Cheeto Puff Jesus Man and Mr. Photographer Dude, but rather Pete and Brian. 

Comments

  1. HAHA the last part made me laugh so hard! I liked your nicknames for them better. Glad you had fun :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Haha. Thanks Ellen! I like my nicknames for them better too! Glad you enjoyed reading this. :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I know this is a tad bit delayed, but... Big Fish! Now in what form are these bonus points given out? Haha.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yes! Correct! Ding, ding, ding! You get AWESOME points of smartness! :)

    ReplyDelete

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