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  • Writer's pictureEmily Rojas

These Knots in Your Stomach

Here’s a fun fact about me that you can add to your brain: I hate flying.

Okay, maybe it’s not the most fun fact, but it’s the honest truth. Flying comes in pretty near last on the list of things I enjoy. Not only am I afraid of heights, but I’m also big into control and flying brings out the worst of both of those things.

It’s so bad, that once I used the heart rate monitor app on my phone to check how fast my heart was beating periodically over the course of a 1 hour flight. It didn’t drop below 100 bpm the entire time.

So yeah, I’m terrified of flying.

And yet, in the summer of 2016 I sat through a twelve hour flight from Austria to India. Yes. Me. On a flight longer than I could have ever imagined. How did that even happen?

A picture of the henna I got when in India

I was on Twitter the other day, when I saw a tweet from one of my favorite Twitter personalities: Lin Manuel Miranda. Here’s that tweet for your viewing pleasure:

Here’s the part that stood out to me: Those knots in your stomach won’t go away on their own. And here’s what that has to do with my fear of flying.

I realized after my first ever plane ride that if I stopped flying I would never do it again. I knew that if I let myself stop doing this thing that scared me more than most other things that I would never, ever get on a plane again.

Hand in hand with this, I realized that my ability to go to India (or anywhere else on plane) at all is an extreme privilege. Only about half of America has a passport, and many people simply just don’t have the financial mean or opportunities to travel. My opportunities in life are something I do not take for granted.

With that being said, I knew the only way for me to take advantage of these opportunities was to keep doing the hard thing, even when it terrified me.

Most days, this doesn’t look like trans-continental plane rides. A lot of days it looks like being vulnerable with my friends, speaking up (even when its unpopular) or asking for help.

So wherever you find yourself afraid of the hard things: pick up the phone, walk up the staircase, take the first step. Do whatever you need to do the hard things anyways. 

These knots in our stomachs aren’t going to go away on their own, so let’s keep on keeping on anyways.


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