Oh man, the number of hours spent on writing over the past several days has been revealing and therapeutic. The power of creativity and putting your emotions into words has to be the rawest and most rewarding process.
Motivating people is enjoyable for me. I like being positive. I’m the eternal optimist. Is my life perfect? Absolutely not. Some people complain that Facebook is fake. Of course, it’s fake, to some extent. However, I don’t believe it’s because people are trying to fool anyone. That’s certainly not my goal. There aren’t many people that really want to see me participating in the day-in and day-out duties of life. Isn’t it a given that no one’s life is always picture perfect?
My goal is to encourage others. There is always something to be grateful for and there are good things happening. I realize everyone is living life and there are ups and downs, no matter what kind of pictures they post for all the world to see. There are about fifty thousand people that follow me on various social media outlets, through my website and newsletters. Every one of these people has problems. That’s a fact. One of my favorite quotes (which is repeated to myself almost daily and to my kids) is: “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.” If you’ve ever seen one of my talks, it’s often included.
I’m not interested in bringing people down with my problems. I want to cheer people up! When you see happy images, you generally want to smile. That’s my goal. There are many times when I have to paint a smile on my face. Sometimes people notice. I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. It does feel nice when strangers reach out, probe a little and provide encouragement to me.
Social media is like a giant family without all of the baggage. Most of my interactions with “followers” have been great. There are a few nasty comments here and there but those people can bite me. 😉 There’s no ill will towards them. They are probably just dealing with their own crap. I get it. Why not be their punching bag? It’s fine. I can usually handle it. The good thing is our paths will probably never cross. If they do, I’m going to kidnap them and force them to put on a flyGIRL t-shirt. Hahahahaha! Or I’ll just tickle them until they laugh. That works on my kids.
CFI Training: Aeromedical 101
My CFI training began months ago. My written exams had to be taken and passed (there were two). Then, my ground lessons began. There hasn’t been any flying as of yet.
Last week, my assignment was to prepare a lesson to teach my instructor about Aeromedical Factors. There are many parts to this lesson. One section, in particular, is very familiar to me. There’s an acronym used, IMSAFE, to help pilots evaluate their ability to conduct a safe flight. It’s basically these items:
I-Illness. Are you not feeling well or are you sick?
M-Medication: Are you on medication that could impact your abilities?
S-Stress: Are you under a lot of stress or emotional pressure?
A-Alcohol: Are you under the influence of alcohol?
F-Fatigue: Are you adequately rested?
E-Eating: Have you eaten lately or are you eating healthily?
I haven’t been flying solo very much over the past few months. The blame is often placed on the weather. Want to know the truth? It’s actually because my mental capacity has been nearly zilch. My answers to some of the above questions wouldn’t pass muster for flight. Only recently, have I felt comfortable flying again and been able to enjoy it with others. There’s no way I would fly anyone, including myself if I didn’t feel 100% confident in myself. It’s foolish and not worth it to take any risk whatsoever. There have been numerous flights and trips canceled because of this.
The truth is my personal life has been wrecked with change and pain. People want to see me being “real” and vulnerable? Here it is: Debilitating heartbreak as I’ve never known or experienced. There have been lonely, agonizing moments and emotions that words can’t possibly illustrate. What does one do during the most difficult time of their life? Trudge on. One day at a time.
This is what I tell anyone that comes to me experiencing struggles. This is what I’ll tell my students. We have to keep going. We have to keep chipping away and working towards our goals. My progress has been delayed, but I’m not dead yet! There are times when giving up seems to be the best and easiest course. It’s not at all! Knowing myself, it would make me feel even worse to let someone or something keep me from moving forward.
Going through this difficult time has led me to something very powerful. Fearlessness. I have no fear because there’s nothing really left to fear! What’s the worst that could possibly happen now? I know I can face anything and survive. Whatever it is, I can handle it.
The Light Is In Sight
My dearest friends and strangers have been reminding me of my worth and potential. I want to remind you of your worth and potential. You can overcome anything. You can do and be anything, at any age or at any time in your life. Oftentimes, it takes a huge leap of faith and it’s freakin’ scary as hell.
I am finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. My hangar needed cleaning and so I decided to go spend some time there yesterday. I found myself singing in the car for the first time in a very long time. An unforced smile broke out on my face and I said to myself: “Yes! There I am!” It felt amazing.
There are some very exciting things happening for me. I’m working on becoming an instructor. flyGIRL is coming out with new clothing. I’ve had several magazine articles accepted. A compelling group of women and I are working together on a badass project. Air show season has started and there are lots of opportunities for me to help various organizations. I have a cross-country trip planned to one this weekend at a new destination that I’m really looking forward to.
Most artists create masterpieces after tumultuous times. Their best works come when they reveal their scars. We’re all artists in one way or another. Dark times can create self-discovery, strength, and an appreciation of ourselves and our capabilities. Man, the things I’ve learned and am learning about myself…indescribable. I’ll admit, not the path I would’ve chosen but probably the only way to real, significant, personal growth.
What Do You Need To Move Forward?
- Patience and honesty with yourself. It’s okay to struggle and not know the remedy. Peacefully allow your life to unfold. Don’t force anyone or anything. There’s no way happiness will come if you have to use coercion.
- Accept support from friends and even strangers (and possibly a good therapist 😏). People near and far believe in me. My loyal friends feed me positive words and are cheering for me. I’ve spent countless hours sobbing to them. They know everything about me and continue to pour unconditional love into me. Make sure you have a good network of friends and be ready when they need you.
- Help others. Giving to others fills you in a way that nothing else can. When you step outside of yourself and give your time and energy to someone or something other than yourself, it’s impossible to not feel a sense of pride and joy. That provides an irreplaceable boost and cannot be manufactured with anything other than your time.
- Keep working toward your goals. You may experience an unforeseen setback, but don’t you dare give up! Just because you’re struggling doesn’t mean you’re failing. Achievement is the number one self-confidence booster. Self-confidence is the number one characteristic you must have to get you where you want to be. Accept “delays” and/or find a new route. There is no “wrong” path. There are only different paths.
Why am I sharing my pain and this recent dark period with you? It’s because I want it to be a tool for you when you hit rock bottom or when you are faced with painful events or changes in your life. I don’t wish the depression I’ve experienced on anyone (even the people that send me nasty comments!). Unfortunately, sh*t happens and struggles are a part of life. Keep fighting for yourself, your vision and for the life only you can create. I don’t care who you are. Maybe you’ll be a future student of mine or become a dear friend. I’m cheering for you. Your next chapter is going to be amazing.