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Feminist Agenda // Taylor Kirby

was once on the kind of plane that probably inspired the creators of Lost.

My flight returning home from Atlanta was delayed after an apocalyptic lightning storm shut down the airport for two hours; we were also warned that Colorado was experiencing moderate to severe tornado warnings. I’m not a nervous flyer, so I didn’t think much about it. They wouldn’t let us take off if it wasn’t safe, right? We boarded the plane, and being newly of legal drinking age, I still found it acceptable to order a $13 cocktail just for kicks.

I was very happy about my frivolous liquor choices an hour into the flight.

To call what happened “turbulence” would be like calling Pompei a heat wave. Every passenger started screaming. The plane was being kicked around in the air so violently I’m confident I would have hit the ceiling if my seatbelt wasn’t secured. (After we landed, I found bruises around my hips.)

When I saw a flight attendant fold her hands in prayer, I dumped what was left of my drink on my face and hoped some of it would dribble into my mouth—aiming was impossible, but I was hoping to die just slightly less sober.

The pilot eventually navigated us into safer airspace, and I resumed watching The Avengers, suddenly understanding how Tony Stark must feel every time his suit fails him and he careens helplessly to the earth trapped in a metal husk.

All of this is to say that I’m flying to DC for a conference this week, and I’m not scared at all. My chronic fears are still sourced from the realm of the completely irrational, like making phone calls or speaking to a crowd that has more than two people in it.

Without exaggeration, public speaking is as terrifying to me as the sight of a nervous flight attendant.Even though I’ll be on a plane within a few hours of this issue publishing, I only feel nauseous when I think of the conference panel I’ll be presenting on two months from now. Psychology is weird, but I’m thankful to be able to focus on the adventure to come rather than the possible death trap that will take me to it.

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