I’m probably the only idiot in the world that actually pays attention.
Like clockwork, a flight attendant dutifully stands up front with an emotionless countenance belied by the utter boredom in his/her eyes and trudges through the required safety demonstration with practiced if not efficient monotony.
But you can hardly blame them.
All around me, other passengers slump in their seats in various states of apathy, fiddling numbly with their carry-ons and posting last-minute social media quips on their electronic devices, purposefully oblivious to the information being so ‘cheerfully’ conveyed up front.
But not me. Heck to the nope! I intentionally make eye contact and enthusiastically watch the whole darned thing in all its mind-dulling glory. So yeah, if you are a flight attendant and some creepy lady from 2A was actually watching you and smiling interestedly, it was probably me. Don’t freak out, I’m normal.
I swear, if we ever have an emergency water landing (and we actually survive hitting the deceptively hard surface of the ocean at 325 kts) I’m going to be the only one on that sunk hunk of junk who knows exactly how to use my seat as a flotation device while calmly following the aisle lighting to the nearest emergency exit which, by the way, might be located behind you at the ‘aft of the cabin.’ Just in case you were wondering.
Yeah, I’m an obsessive-compulsive overachiever like that. Don’t judge.
You would be shocked to know how many sweet, in-flight conversations I’ve had with flight attendants just because I listened. When it comes right down to it, that’s all anyone really wants isn’t it, to be heard? But that, my dear friends, is another conversation for another day.
“Oxygen and air pressure are continually monitored. In the event of a decompression, an oxygen mask will automatically appear in front of you. To start the flow of oxygen, pull the mask towards you. Place it firmly over your nose and mouth, secure the elastic band behind your head, and breathe normally. Although the bag may not inflate, oxygen is flowing to the mask. If you are travelling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your own mask on first, and then assist the other person.”
Yada, yada, yada. This is a snippet of the instructions they share with over 8 million disinterested people around the world daily.
But did you catch it? That really, really super duper important part? Or were you too busy fiddling with your carry-on? Because it matters.
Secure your own mask on first.
Why? Because you can’t save anyone else if you, yourself, can’t breathe– Not your children. Not yourself. Not your husband. Not your marriage.
I know, ladies. You are trying to save everyone in your life because you, my beautiful aviation sisters, are strong, amazing, caring, compassionate, heroic women. You give of yourselves until there is nothing left to give–and then you give some more.
But, honey, I also know that you are dying. You are so busy trying to put on everyone else’s oxygen masks that you have forgotten to secure your own mask first, and you are suffocating.
You. Can’t. Breathe.
You feel like the world around you is spinning wildy out of control. The air that sustains you is thin…oh, so thin. You are desperately gasping for every breath.
Listen to me, ladies. I am standing at the front of the cabin, jumping up and down and screaming like a banshee to get your attention, and I’m telling you that you have to secure your mask first!
You can’t save your children, your husband, your marriage until you, yourself, breathe.
It’s time to secure that mask and take a deep, rejuvenating breath. Because the cold, hard truth is that you can’t take care of other people until you take care of you.
But how? How do you start breathing again when you’ve been oxygen deprived for so long?
You put on your M.A.S.K.
M-Make time for you. In order to survive life as a pilot wife you have to learn to F.L.Y.–to first love yourself. Give yourself permission to live life to its fullest when he’s home…and when he’s not.
A-Accept that this life is just plain difficult at times. Forgive yourself and your pilot on the days one of you mess up, celebrate the days that things go well, and remember that each morning is a brand new canvas waiting for you to create a beautiful masterpiece.
S-Speak up. “Fine. Nothing.” Our perfect, practiced, mechanical response to ‘how’s it going’ and ‘what do you need?’ We spend so much time pretending to be invincible that we have forgotten how to be vulnerable. Tell your husband how you need him to love you. Tell those around you how they can really help you. Then for goodness sake, let them.
K-Kick negativity to the curb. Negativity is toxic to your soul and your marriage. Surround yourself with people and places that speak encouragement and positivity into your life. Remove negative influences with a quickness, like yesterday. The overflow of your heart will be exactly what you pour in. Negativity or positivity? It’s your choice.
You are beautiful. Capable. Strong. Selfless. Amazing.
You take care of families, jobs, pets, homes all while your partner is hundreds of miles away. You spend your life making sure everyone else has their oxygen masks securely fastened. However, it’s time you secured your mask first and, for the first time in a long time, breathed.
You. Deserve. It.
I love you, aviation family.
~Angelia (a fellow pilot wife)