It’s poppinnn, it’s poppin! (my ears, that is)

I’m in Florida right now. Super tired but kinda still stunned by the air conditioner blasting in my aunt’s car. I just came off a flight from New York. From an airport with runways that still sport mounds of slow-melting snow and travelers walk in with puffy coats. So when I say startled by a/c, I mean, I was like ‘whoa turn that off, it’s…88 degrees outside?!’ Yea.

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But that’s not really what I came to talk about. I really really had to share my experience tonight. It’s one I hope I will never forget. I’ve always been told about the power of the tongue, the power of your mind and how what you believe can manifest into what is. But truth be told, I’ve also always been a skeptical chick. I’m what I like to call “realistic.” If it ain’t realistic, why are we even having this conversation? Yea. Caused many a fight between my more whimsical younger sister and me. So, me and my realistic self had all reason to believe that the flight I just got off would be as the last few flights I’ve had. Excruciating. Painful. Embarrassing. Deafening. Fearful.

Almost two years ago, I realized that I had somehow developed some kind of sensitivity to air pressure in planes. I was on my way to Florida, for the bridal shower of my cuz-in-law who I’m now here for the baby shower of, when I first noticed it. You know that popping feeling you get in your ear when the plane ascends and your world suddenly sounds really far away and you become super aware of your own breathing patterns? Usually, one yawn does the trick–open sesame and your world sounds like you’re in it again. But such was not the case for me on that ride. I yawned and yawned and yawned and the world still got more and more distant. It’s kinda funny to think about in retrospect but soo not funny in the moment. I must have looked crazy with my incessant yawning. Then the pain kicked in–the pressure had built up so much that it got painful! Who knew?? I was so bewildered and taken aback but I roughed it all out for that ride and chalked it up to gas, ear wax, whatever. Then it happened AGAIN. AND AGAIN. By the third time I flew after that, I–who prides myself on loving to travel–had become a nervous wreck at the thought of traveling on a plane. All because of my ears. I’m telling you guys…it’s no joke. I will never look at a screaming baby on a plane in disgust again. I wished I could scream too. It feels uncontrollable. You’re doing all these crazy things and nothing is working. I resorted to openly panicking and secretly crying. Seriously.

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this pic was taken one summer in pure silliness..who knew it would become so relevant?

Then, I heard a Joel Olstein podcast three mornings ago. “Activate faith, not fear.” What you meditate on is what you expect. You dwell on your fears all day, playing and re-replaying possible scenarios and you’ve given it the right to become a reality.  No, you can’t wish all your problems away but yes, you can make a realistic situation become worse; using the same belief system that will make you take vitamins in determination to NOT get sicker, can make you lie in bed and wait for that cough to worsen. It’s all in what you choose to accept.

It put a stamp on my heart. I was already at a point where I would anticipate the worst and have scary daydreams of totally losing my hearing–which is indeed possible with this condition. At this point, I had tried everything…gum, nasal spray, meds…oh! and panic. And none of them (nor the combination of all) had done the trick. So when I heard that podcast, I slowly became determined to start believing something different. I mean, what was there to lose? My nervous leg jiggling, for one.

I went on that plane today. I had the VERY last seat in the back, where I could feel all the pleasant bumps of the ride. I already felt stuffy. Perfect reasonable setup to start panicking. But I decided to believe. I literally stifled my fears–with singing to myself (lol), with prayer, with the featured JetBlue movie. There were times I yawned and it didn’t pop all the way. And just before I KNEW it was time for pain to kick in, it cleared up just enough for the next rise or drop in altitude. Guys, I made it down without pain and most importantly, without fear. Was I nervous? Absolutely. But I chose to believe I’d be fine just a little bit more than fear the worst.

I cried when we touched down, y’all. Bawled, really. But this time it wasn’t from pain that had to slowly and painfully clear itself. This time it was because I made the decision to change my mindset and let God do the rest. It was so liberating. Perhaps, like me, you’re a control freak and feel trapped by certain things you can’t change. But as I learned, change your mind and ultimately, it’ll change your ride. I’m looking forward to my ride back.

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P.S. I wrote this two nights ago. I just arrived back to New York and my return home was even better than my departure. This will be a work in progress but didn’t I tell you?? The best is yet to come! 🙂

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