Originally published June 28, 2016
Photos by: Clarissa Villondo
When I was 18 I interned at a now defunct radio station, 99.1 WHFS. My internship was only supposed to go from January through May but it was extended well into August because I was so good at taking crap from my bosses. This talent is still true today! One day we were given the opportunity to go skydiving in Delaware and since I always wanted to do it, and it was free, I said yes.
I took an extended class so my first jump could be with two jump masters instead of tandem because I am very brave or very foolish. Things that should have frightened me did not frighten me. I will attribute that to my age and how I was laboring under the misconception that I would live forever. Before you jumped out of the plane you stood between the sky and the plane itself, one foot dangling 13,000 feet in the air, one foot planted firmly on the plane. You had time to contemplate what you were doing. I didn’t give it a second thought before I dove out of the plane. That was then. This is now.
When BYT was asked if we wanted to rappel off a building for charity I immediately said yes. How bad could this be. I’ve fallen 8,000 feet in the air, and floated 5,000 feet to the Earth. I’m kind of a daredevil. I AM Point Break. This was much worse than that. I’m 36 now and have lived some years since that day I went skydiving, 18 to be exact. My body is aware of the fact that NOTHING is forever. Mortality looms, as did I, 12 stories above ground. The hardest part is getting over the ledge. For several moments you sit in a harness, 120 feet above ground, while people make sure you’re strapped in tightly. These guys were absolute pros and knew exactly what they were doing. I’m the one who was convinced she didn’t know what she was doing, despite the expert training I just went through.
I kind of cried. I definitely screamed. I actually did it. I forgot to look around me. I did, however, peer into the offices of people who were somewhat amused by the occasional human they watched slowly lowering themselves past their places of business. DON’T MIND ME, I’LL JUST BE A MOMENT. The sense of accomplishment I felt at actually finishing was overshadowed by how embarrassed I was by my TOTALLY NORMAL abject terror. The charity involved, Shatterproof, is one in which I firmly believe. They work to end the stigma of addiction which at times can feel a bit like standing on a ledge (okay hum a little Third Eye Blind now). In this case, however, you’re encouraged to step over that ledge and it’s totally cool if you half yell half sob the entire way down.