“I’m not going to cry. Ok?”
“Seriously, when you drop me off, I’m not going to cry. I’m like super brave right now.”
“You are totally super brave.”
23 minutes later, I’m outside the San Francisco International Airport bawling into Misha’s chest. Snot is all over my face and running into my mouth as I repeat a stuffed-up iwubyoubsomuch over and over again.
He tells me that it’s going to be ok. That this is the start of my great adventure! I should be thrilled! All I can think about is that I forgot to pack tissues. I consider wiping my nose on my shirt. But, I realize it’s one of only three shirts I have for the next six months. I tell myself its better to have a snotty face now than a dirty shirt tomorrow. I also realize I hate this shirt and have no idea why I even packed it. I start crying again.
This was definitely not the first snot-inducing nervous breakdown I’d had about my trip. Pretty much every brave thing I did leading up to my departure was accompanied by some sort of panic attack.
Quit my job! Get in the fetal position. Leave DC! Cry in the bathroom. Buy a one-way ticket to a country where I don’t know anyone and I’ve never been before! Cry in the bathroom, in the fetal position. I’ve almost come to terms with the fact that this amazing experience I want to have also happens to scare me shitless.
I am the bravest little chicken.
I enter the airport puffy faced with a backpack so big I walk in a slight zigzag. I tell myself that it doesn’t matter how bad I look or feel when I get on the plane, all that matters is that I actually get on the plane. I am going to do this. This is a good idea.
I check my bags and moved through security. This is a good idea. I linger in the airport bookstore, then the snack shop, then the restaurant, delaying actually going to my gate. This is a good idea. Even though I’m in the second boarding group, I was until final call to get on the plane. This is a good idea. But as we take off, it becomes irrelevant whether or not this is actually a good idea. It’s too late to turn back.