» By Melanie Curtis on June 16, 2015
Latest Blue Skies Mag column.. a bit of reflection being back from the #WMFT, what this new life is starting to look like, and what cool new stuff I’m getting up to with a whole new crew of new cool people. It’s cool.
Enjoy, and thank you as always for reading!
Blue Skies Magazine, May 2015
How many of you feel like you have no whuffo friends? … Right?? Hahaha.. I laugh because I imagine for skydivers this to be a fairly common curiosity… where did all my whuffo friends go? Like one day, you’re this new skydiver, you’ve got all these pals that you’re telling about skydiving and how cool it is, how much you love it, and so begins the road to no non-skydiving friends.
So I’m having this weird experience being back from the World Tour*, moving back to the east coast into the serenity of the woods and small-town community life. Yeah, while I’m very decidedly moving forward in time, there’s this strange feeling of going back in time as well.
Let me explain…
I’ve moved to a town where it is definitively full of whuffos. For someone used to living in entirely skydiver-rich communities… this is weird. For any of you younger skydivers out there that are reading this and don’t yet know what a “whuffo” is, just ask any experienced jumper at your DZ and they’ll give you the lowdown on this tried-and-true, actually totally offensive, yet long-lasting term.
So I’m thinking back… what was it like to be a whuffo? (A non-skydiver.) It’s hard to even imagine, ya know? Not that I want to be a whuffo again, duh, of course not, but it is a notable thing for me, full-on skydiving skydiver for 20 years, to now be re-immersed into a community of people that REALLY are not skydivers.
Sounds like I’m implying that it sucks or something, but I must tell you… it’s super fun.
Why? Because it’s so different. If you know me at all, you know that the way I roll is I love people. Skydivers, whuffos, whatever. I love people. I don’t actively love on people who suck, but I love that even sucky people have a story, and that’s interesting.
So, I guess what I’m saying this month is that even though the whuffos of the world don’t really get us as skydivers, it doesn’t mean they’re not cool, that it can’t be equally fun getting to know them, or that we can’t relate to them in other ways.
Stay with me…
I know back in the day when I was super full-on totally f*ckin’ intense, skydiving everything skydiving ahhhhhh, I would always talk to whuffos and really want them to GET skydiving. Like I wouldn’t feel good about the interaction unless I left with them having some positive feeling or understanding of skydiving thus validating my intense love for it. Ya know? Of course as we all know, skydiving really is one of those things that really is something one can understand only after they’ve actually done it. Literally no other experience in life is the same as leaving an aircraft in flight.
As such, when we try to relate to whuffos through that specific experience, we inevitably fail and are left feeling less-than, unsatisfied, misunderstood, and we certainly don’t feel connected to the person who doesn’t get it.. if anything, it only creates a larger divide.
So, what, are we just set up to never have whuffo friends again?
And the answer is hell no… hell no because even though whuffos can’t relate to skydiving directly… parallels can be drawn… and that gives us access to awesome, meaningful connection even with peeps who don’t jump out of planes.
With that, I ask you:
What gets us to skydive?
COURAGE. FREEDOM. IT’S REALLY F*CKIN COOL. ETC.
How do we feel when we skydive?
FREE. LIKE A BADASS. A PART OF SOMETHING. ETC.
We may not connect with whuffos on the literal act of skydiving, but most of us can relate to being drawn to something because it makes us feel free… makes us feel like a badass… and makes us feel accepted as part of a like-minded community.
That sh*t transcends whuffo status.
So the next time you meet someone who doesn’t skydive, remember that you can relate through these things… what calls you to skydiving… and how you feel skydiving. Ask the new whuffos in your life questions that connect them to these feelings they have in their life.. in whatever experiences they’ve had that elicit the same stuff.
You could ask:
- What’s something you do that you’d say takes courage?
- What’s something that makes you feel free?
- What’s something you do that makes you feel like a part of a community of like-minded people?
Then see what they say.
Don’t try to convince them that skydiving is cool. Skydiving just is cool.
And you’re cool because you do something you love.
So just remember that when you talk to whuffos, know that giving them the space to feel equally cool about whatever it is they do… that whatever they love IS equally cool… know that makes for us all to feel understood… and even might make a whuffo into an actual friend. Badass. Tizzle 2.0, out.
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