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March 8, 2024

The Importance of Time: How a Concert Got Me Over My Fear of Flying

By Clara R.
, 16
, from Los Angeles, CA

Lucky number seven. The number that is so commonly associated with luck and fortune was not much of a fortunate age for me. Why? One word: aerophobia, the fear of flying on planes. At age 7, I developed severe aerophobia. But, in the end, lucky number 7 prevailed: It was 7 years later when I got over my fear of flying due to the concert of a 7-member boy band, BTS.


Through my experience, I hope I can show just how important time is in healing, growing, and more. So here’s my story.


From age 7 to 10, I was in and out of therapy as my parents desperately struggled to get me to be able to fly again. But, in my stubborn adolescence, I outwardly rejected help and the idea of getting better. In fact, I had gone through a whole round of therapy, lied to my therapist about feeling ready, and right as I left that therapist’s office for the last time, I told my mom that, no, there was still no way I would get on a plane. A couple more therapists later (that I each didn’t go to more than twice), I felt like getting me to fly again was a lost cause—and I myself was a lost cause. And yet, I still seemed to embrace the idea that I would never fly again, with open arms. By 12, I was fully convinced I would stay in California forever and live a life devoid of air travel.


But at age 14, everything changed, and it seemed to be in the blink of an eye. In reality, this foundation was laid when I first began listening to music and seeing it as something of comfort, enjoyment, and relatability. Without how important music became to me, I believe I still would be unable to fly. Furthermore, through music, concerts were an activity I also grew to thoroughly enjoy because I got to make connections with the concertgoers around me as we watched an artist we both really loved.


I remember the day I found out one of my favorite artists, BTS, was having a concert in Las Vegas. I had already gone to one of their concerts a few months prior and loved it, so upon hearing they were having a concert just an hour’s plane ride away, I thought “Hey, I might want to fly there.” This thought had been completely foreign to me for the past 7 years, my fear so severe that the mere idea of a plane would instantly evoke images of burning metal and smoke. So what changed now? It was time, and how I was able to mature. Additionally, in a weird way, not being focused on my fear of flying for quite some time allowed my mind some time away without obsessing over it.


Then, the day rolled around for the concert ticketing. Long story short, the tickets sold out. To be honest, I wasn’t too sad, knowing that at that time, the idea of me flying was still a little crazy and I had really not done anything to challenge my fear in my years. But the universe had other plans for me. 


On April 4, I got a text message on my phone saying I had been taken off the waitlist and allowed to buy late-release tickets. The moment felt surreal. I mean, just a few hours prior I remembered seeing people on Twitter (now X) saying they got late release tickets and wishing that would be me, and now it was! I was rushed to buy tickets and while expensive (I may or may not have drained my savings), this one concert has now opened up a world of opportunities.


I am glad to say that I successfully flew to Las Vegas, and since that day in 2022, I have traveled to Chicago, Minnesota, and Mexico. This year I am also going to be traveling to Pennsylvania, Michigan, and even Japan. I know my story may not be relatable, aerophobia is such a complex fear and everyone’s journey with how they manage or overcome such a fear is different. Whether the right approach for you is therapy or working by yourself, you are valid in such struggles. So, whatever you are struggling with, whether it’s a breakup, school, or a falling out, it never hurts to give yourself time to heal and reflect. While time certainly doesn’t fix everything, it never hurts to let time act on its own sometimes. You never know, maybe giving a situation time was just what was needed.

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