Grace Upon Grace
In 6 weeks I learned about all the horrible events that could happen on a plane and how to handle/survive those events.
I learned how to extinguish fires, assist in a medical emergency, evacuate a plane (even if my eyes were blinded by smoke), survive in a raft, and oh yeah… how to set up the beverage cart.
|Pool day was the best day!|
Graduation came quickly and I was grateful to finally be reunited with my family and Cody.
|Reunited at graduation.|
But I was nervous because things were about to change… a lot.
I moved to Los Angeles for three months because that was my original base assignment, meaning all my trips started and finished there.
I lived 10 minutes away from the airport in something called a crash pad, which is basically an apartment (or house) intended for rest in between work trips. I shared a space with 24 people from other airlines. There were 4 rooms with 6 people to each.
|Taken at my crashpad. See the bunkbed!|
I know 3 months is nothing compared to hundreds of flight attendants who’ve waited years to be based near home or who have commuted much farther than I ever did, but nevertheless those three months were so hard.
I still had doubts about being a flight attendant.
First of all, turbulence frightened me. I wasn’t used to the sounds and rhythms of the plane just yet. I kept thinking the worst since the worst is all we ever went over during training.
Secondly, I was exhausted all the time. Crew scheduling repeatedly called me in for the PDX allnighter turn. I’d leave LAX at 11:45pm get to PDX around 3, sit 2 hours, and then fly back to LAX, landing around 7:35am. Then I’d be legal for another one the next night. I did 12 of these in less than 2 months, which completely disrupted my sleeping and eating rhythms.
|My first one. Little did I know how many I would get.|
As soon as I was off of work I’d fly back to Portland to visit Cody for a day or two, snoozing on all sorts of couches, never in my own bed. I missed him a lot. I missed simple things like holding his hand.
And since I was exhausted all of the time, I grew angry with myself because I hardly wrote during this time. I was either too tired or studying for my checkride. Wasn’t this the point of me becoming a flight attendant though? I berated myself. To support my passion projects?
And thirdly, I felt incompetent at my job. One time my voice shook over the PA as I read the demo announcement, which was mortifying enough, but then this happened…
Flight Attendant: Sounds like you’re gonna cry. You gonna cry?
Me: Not on the plane...
I cried a lot during those first 3 months and wanted to quit, but my parents kept telling me to give it a year. Other flight attendants also told me that the job gets better and better.
Now just shy of a year, I’m so glad I listened.
|Sincerely love my job!|
The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to give myself grace.
How many of us are too hard on ourselves? Expect ourselves to be perfect on the first, second, or even third round in a new situation: job, relationships, parenting, etc.
Take a deep breath. You got this. You will learn.
I made a conscious effort to praise myself for the small victories and cut myself major slack when it came to my writing goals. This job is a crazy lifestyle change and I needed time to adjust.
I’m learning to give myself grace on a daily basis. Are you?