I took a flight from Sydney to Perth and about an hour in, I began to feel a unwell. It was such a strange onset – I was feeling great before I boarded, but things quickly took a turn for the worse. The flight had some turbulence, so I thought maybe that was the reason and things would settle down.
Just over half way through the flight the worst happened. My recently eaten dinner came back to visit. I would love to have told you that it was fine and that I made it to the bathroom in time, but I did not. Someone was in the bathroom and the best I could do a large plastic bag being used as a bin.
I was very apologetic to the crew, but they were so understanding telling me it “happened all the time”, and that I had “done quite well to minimise the collateral damage” (I’m not sure I could do their job – imagine the things they would have seen). They expressed concern for me and how unpleasant an experience it must have been. That was sweet.
The truth is, there is nothing I could have done to change the situation. I was trapped on a plane thousands of feet in the air. I just had to accept it, embrace the public embarrassment, and find a way forward. And it was embarrassing. I was afraid to look stupid in front of other people, but I had no control over that moment. My internal system forced my hand. (Or stomach as the case may be).
There are things we fear that we have absolutely no control over. We get to choose whether the things we don’t control stop us from living our lives, from exploring, trying something new or even stepping outside of our comfort zone.
Fear cripples. Being willing to look stupid in front of others not only lessens the embarrassment after projectile vomiting on a plane but also allows you to walk in the freedom of trying something new and not being good at it yet.