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  1. WOW! I greatly appreciate everyone's feedback thus far. It took me a while to sift through the responses but I managed to read each one of them. Well, tomorrow is the day. I'm off work & I'll be heading to the DZ to do a fun jump. It was discussed tonight over beers at a local bar with fellow skydivers that instead of focusing on my D-1 jump tomorrow, I need to first do a "belly-to-earth" fun jump & get back out in the air. Again, I thank you all for taking the time to share your two cents with me. It helped quite a bit! And for those who sent me private messages, thank you, too! I will respond to you all A.S.A.P., but for now I must rest & prepare myself for the next chapter in my journey. Blue skies!
  2. For months I had been talking about skydiving with my good friend, Brett. We spent countless hours watching videos, discussing future jumps, etc. Finally, I made my way to the local drop zone & did my first tandem. My mind was blown! That was it, I was in! Not with a regular needle, but with a corkscrew. There was no getting it out, or so I had thought. I ended up making two more tandems prior to starting the AFF class in May because I had to experience the rush, the sensations & the blue skies. All three tandems were rock-solid & on the latter two I wore an altimeter, pulled the ripcord & helped fly the canopy. That was it, I was ready to begin my AFF training. The first day of instruction began in the classroom & later that evening I made my Cat. A jump. Rock-solid jump! Aced it, even though there were some jitters prior to me taking my position at the door (understandable), though they were just jitters at this point, it was what I like to refer to as a "healthy fear". Moving right along, I began my Cat. B shortly thereafter. Aced it! I even had it filmed & the link to the video can be found here... As you could see, I was calm, collected & rocked it (even though I was cranking in my turns & not banking). Had a few things to work on & moved right along to Cat. C. Had a great sunset jump & it was time to move on to C-2. Here's where it gets bad. I go up & while on the flight to altitude I begin to panic. The fear is no longer healthy, but crippling! I stare out the window, my palms sweaty, my heart racing, my breathing becomes labored. I end up riding the plane down. I equated it to stress outside of the drop zone & got back in the saddle to jump. This time, the fear is worse & my eyes well up with tears. My instructor does EVERYTHING in his power to take my mind off of the fear & to focus on the dive flow instead. It doesn't work, I ride the plane down. This happens a few more times & I decide to take a short break. Prior to the break though, on the evening of me riding the plane down once again, my mentor & friend, Dan P. had me do a tandem with him again to maybe shake off whatever I had. I did & this time it wasn't like I remembered it. I stared at the altimeter the entire time, mind racing, heart pumping & couldn't wait 'til we were at 5,500 feet so we could deploy the chute. I clear my head while away post-tandem, I feel like I'm ready & I head back to the DZ with Brett. I'm calm, collected & ACE my C-2 jump. In fact, I was let go on C-1 & C-2 & didn't even realize it at the time, that's how stable I was! My instructors were quite pleased with my performance & passed me on to Cat. D. I go about a week (I can't remember exactly) without jumping & head to the DZ, again, with Brett to do my Cat. D jump(s). Or, so I thought! The fear is so intense I don't even board the plane this time. The next time, I'm geared up, getting ready to board the plane & I begin to panic yet again. I don't go. At this point I'm so embarrassed & ashamed of myself I can barely look at anyone. Now, the reason this is so hard for someone like me is because I am an advocate of such philosophers as: Ayn Rand, Anton LaVey, Friedrich Nietzsche & the like! I'm a superman! I do well at everything I put my mind to! I have an excellent career (which was through trail & error), I'm confident, an egoist & one who advocates self-preservation & living life to the fullest. This fear I've been dealing with however has stopped me dead in my tracks. It has caught me so off guard & has devastated me. Fast forward to today. I get up early, I head to the DZ with the attitude that I AM going to jump with Brett & I make my drive. As I get closer to the DZ I feel my stomach churning, I feel the nerves working on me, but I try to get a grip on them. I don't go to manifest right away, I sit around, wait on Brett & watch others jump/pack. The fear is getting so bad this time around I feel something of a panic attack on the horizon. Brett shows up, tries calming me down, tries to get me to manifest & just focus on the jump & channel the fear. I become so upset I excuse myself to the restroom & have a meltdown while inside. I burst into tears & sit on the toilet after becoming very sick. All that I can think in my head is: "The fact that I am so scared of something I love/want so badly is one of the worst feelings ever!" I did not jump today & left the DZ early. I sit here prior to bed tonight asking for advice, words of encouragement, something! Anything! I cannot & will not give up on skydiving. I know that after I leave the plane I'll be on cloud 9! I'm a good skydiver & this has made everyone scratch their head(s). I also cannot be miserable each & every day that I make my trip out there, only to sit for hours debating in my head whether or not to jump. I'm a logical, rational individual, but the emotions are taking over my brain & I can't kick the demons! As I stated, I will not give up, I will jump again, but I sincerely hope it gets easier as I continue on in my journey, because this has been one of the worst things I've ever had to deal with & I've become my own worst enemy. Thank you for taking the time to read this & any thoughts you may respond with. Blue skies! P.S. I left out some parts (mostly filler) & this may seem like a jumbled mess. Right now, that's how I feel, so my writing most likely reflects just that.
  3. Thanks for the warm welcoming & responses! Also, we had seat belts fastened 'til we reached 1,000 feet.
  4. Hello, I just registered & figured my first thread wouldn't be just an introduction. I have three jumps under my belt thus far & I begin classroom & training for my "A" license on May 4th, 2012. My first jump was back in March & it was the most incredible thing I've ever experienced. Since then I've made some good friends at the local drop zone here in southwestern, Ohio & I even loaned my instructor "The Abominable Dr. Phibes" to watch. My first jump was a regular tandem & was just to experience free-fall & human flight to see if I would in fact like it. I then returned for a second jump shortly thereafter & informed them I'd be taking classes to jump solo & to get my license. On the second jump I wore an altimeter, deployed the chute & flew the canopy. Then, last Thursday, I went back for yet another jump. Even though it was tandem, my instructor Dan had me wear the altimeter, deploy the chute & fly it. This time however they tried something with me they have never done with a student. They had two videographers jump alongside with me & Dan wore a wrist cam. The final product turned out very well & I figured I'd share it here, too. Blue skies! Intro. video is thirty-five seconds in length...
  5. What an amazing place! Three tandems later, I'm now doing my first AFF! If you're considering it...go, Start in Middletown, Ohio!