Encouragement from 35,000 Feet…(GET ME OFF THIS PLANE)


I’m writing to you from 35,000 feet in the air…Or something like that.

(Well, at the time of this writing I was in the air. I’m now safely back on the ground.)

All that I know is I’m a long way from the ground. Thank God I have these “savory snacks” to keep me company. No, literally…That’s what they’re called. It’s an off-shoot of Chex-Mix except it doesn’t come with any of the good stuff.

It could be worse, though. I remember flying to South Korea (14-16 hour flight) in 2010 when I was given the option between indistinguishable food offering #1 and some kind of fish. I don’t know what it was, inner inhibition maybe, but I decided that eating fish on a day-long flight wasn’t a good idea.

Needless to say, I opted for undistinguishable food offering #1, and I wish I had chosen to fast for the day. The sweet Korean lady brought me a platter of Korean airplane food and I almost lost my mind.

In the center was a bowl of rice with 4-5 different “toppings” all gathered around in their own little compartments. Said collection of items came equipped with their own pair of chopsticks and an unsettling feeling of oncoming food poisoning!

I sat for a moment and surveyed the plate before me; the steady scent of MSG’s wafting throughout the cabin. I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it so I was relieved when a young Korean boy, no more than 10, piped up and asked me if I knew what I was doing.

No, young Korean boy, I did not know what I was doing. He was kind enough to mix up the ingredients, add a little bit of “special” sauce to it, and then deliver it back to my ever-increasingly anxious lap.

I didn’t want to offend my newfound friend so I took a bite.

Longer story shorter, I feigned a lack of appetite and went without. I’d like to say that it got better over the next month, but I’d be lying. McDonald’s and I got along well, though.

As I survey the sweeping landscape of Southern America, I can’t help but think about the last month and a half. Stepping into the New Year, I was resolute (see what I did there?) on making a few changes to my attitude and the way that I approached writing.

Basically, I wanted to become more professional and succinct in what I chose to share and how. I came to a stand-still with my desires to write my feelings and spread hope. I was caught between the two, and the only attitude I was producing in others around me was confusion and distrust.

I couldn’t live like that anymore and so I changed. Now, almost two months into the New Year, I don’t regret making that decision. I’ve had a solid few weeks with few mental breakdowns in between.

Yesterday, however, was a different story.

For the first time in a while, I found myself retreating into my head due to a self-defense mechanism. I’ve never dealt well with feeling excluded, and I experienced some of those feelings on Friday. The entire situation was nothing more than my emotions getting the best of me, but in the moment I struggled to see that.

I knew what was going on inside of my head and I knew why I was feeling the way that I was. My defense for any kind of aggressive situation is to isolate, overthink, and when I can’t handle my own thoughts anymore, react.

It’s a deadly trio because almost 98% of these instances end up with me apologizing. It isn’t healthy, but it’s how I learned to survive.

I was bullied as an incoming freshman in high school.

Mercilessly.

My looks, my personality, etc…I wasn’t good enough for my “friends.” They made me aware of that and so I learned to adjust. I adjusted my looks: I got contacts. I adjusted my personality: I became more serious. I adjusted my interests: I learned to blend in.

It’s sad, isn’t it?

The unfortunate thing, though, is that no matter how hard I tried I was always me. No manner of adjusting changed that. I was always, and still am, the nerdy kid with an eccentric personality that few understand. It took me awhile but I’ve become ok with that.

I’m ok with that.

It’s hard because I still get picked on. Yes, a 24-year-old male still gets picked on. Ridiculous, isn’t it? But I learn to manage it, handle it, and move on. Yesterday was no different.

Life is a series of ups and downs. Just like this airplane, it moves and changes with the wind. It’s a constant ebb and flow. One moment you’re flying smooth and then the next you feel like you’re plummeting to your death because of turbulence.

It’s a give and take cycle. You have to learn to roll with the punches. If and when you make a mistake, be the first to apologize. If you are hurt, forgive quickly. Strive to be like Jesus. He showed us a love that cannot be quenched or outdone. He gave his life for undeserving individuals such as ourselves. How much more should we do that for others?

With all of that said, I’m doing ok. I made it through the past two days without reacting in an unhealthy manner. I tried to be patient with what I was feeling all the while working to expose the lies I was feeding myself. I think that’s a good place to start. That’s all that we can do, right?

Baby steps.

Speaking of baby steps, I’d really love to baby step my way off of this plane right now. Well, not specifically right now, seeing as I’m a few feet off the ground.

I’ve been on a diet for almost two months (15 lbs down!) and what’s really helped is swearing off sweet tea and soda. However, I’m not going to feel guilty about drinking this Coke. I’d rather it be something a little bit “stronger” but I digress.

Have a great Sunday, my friends.

You are loved.

You are valued.


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