I am an adrenaline junkie. I am constantly on the lookout for the next, new, exciting thing that pushes me to a limit I have never experienced before and challenges me in ways I never imagined. The scarier or risker the adventure, the more I salivate and the more I focus on conquering whatever is thrown my way. Skydiving, rock climbing, deep ocean scuba diving, zip line, roller coasters; you name it, I have either done it or I’m planning on doing it.

I went skydiving this past weekend and when I shared what I was doing with my friends and family, they thought I was crazy. “Who would jump out of a perfectly good plane?” I was asked more times than I care to count. “I could never do that!” they exclaimed while looking at me as though I just grew a horn right out of the top of my head. “Why in the world do you do the things you do?”

Why do I seek out adventure and thrills the way that I do? Why do I crave that heart-pounding, stomach-turning rush that you can only get from doing dangerous things? Why in the world did I, a mother of two young boys, think that it was a good idea to jump out of a perfectly good plane?

When I was a little girl, I used to dream constantly of escaping my abusive life and my abusive mother. I dreamt of flying into the clouds and soaring away as fast as I could to a place I knew Mom’s fists could never hurt me. Mom couldn’t even go over a bridge without hyperventilating in fear, so I knew that she would never chase me up into the sky or scale a mountain in order to hurt me.

And when I do the things that Mom was always so scared of; when I conquer things that she would never try, it makes me feel strong. It makes me feel brave and it makes me feel stronger than Mom could ever hope to be. For those few seconds or minutes; I feel invincible and able to take on anyone, including my abusive mother. For those few seconds, I don’t have control over my life.

I am not only an adrenaline junkie, but I will be the first to admit that I have control issues. I don’t like feeling out of control and I don’t like not knowing what is going to happen next. I spent my entire childhood having to plan ahead for Mom’s moods and having to guess what kind of beating I would be getting that day based on Mom’s mood and prepare accordingly. When Mom began abusing me harder and mentally torturing me; I turned to an eating disorder to try and have some control over my chaotic life.

But when you are strapped into a simple parachute and harness and flung out of a plane at 11,000 feet, there is no control. You can’t guarantee that the chute will open or that you will land safely; it’s a risk and that risk is the rush that I crave. It’s my opportunity to let go of control for once in my life and leave things up to chance and fate. It’s my opportunity to realize that it’s OK to not have control over everything in my life and that things will still work out in the end.

It’s OK to step outside of your comfort zone once in a while and try something that you normally wouldn’t do. I’m not suggesting that you jump out of a plane or bungee jump off of a bridge; I’m suggesting that if you have control issues like me, it is a great growing experience to do something that allows you to feel free for a moment, something that allows you to let down your walls and face your fears head-on.

Let go and experience life.