Better Love

I’m a little wounded, but I am not slain; I will lay me down to bleed a while. Then I will rise and fight again. – John Dryden

Visualize. Inhale. Grip the bar. Backward Giant. Straddle back to handstand. Piroette. Fly Away. Stick the landing. You got this. Exhale. 

Life tells you “no” a lot. And we accept it more then we should. But eventually you get to a point where “no” isn’t an option. You stand there and ask yourself why you accept defeat so easily. Then you get mad. You get frustrated. And that’s when you decide to change. That’s when you make a difference. Damaged people are dangerous because they know how to survive, and damn, you’ve survived.

It’s been almost 8 years since I’ve used uneven bars. 8 years since everything came crashing down. 8 years since they said I could never do this again. Never is an awfully long time and I’m impatient. 

The shadow of your past self lingers in the background. It haunts your every action, dictating your next move and how you should react to certain situations. It reminds you that this world will not give you hand outs, that you must work hard to achieve your goals and even then, it may be taken away from you. It brings back flashes of the kicks and each punch left by your bullies, the “you’re not good enough’s” and the internal bruises from the punching bag that you created for yourself. The shadow pulls you aside on a constant basis, whispering in your ears how you are nothing without it, without the struggles you two have been through together. Maybe it’s time to realize that at one point, it was the reason you worked harder, faster, stronger, and bolder. But it isn’t the reason anymore. Your shadow is abusive. Cruel. And isn’t it time for you to deserve something better?

I could fall again. Hurt myself. Oh I’ve hurt myself too many times. What if I can’t recover this time? I’m still healing… But if I do catch the bar. If I do the rotation. Oh how I can fly once again. God I’ve missed flying. 

Leaving your comfort zone is scary. The familiar is something that would tell you that there was darkness lurking just around the corner. That your future was an abyss of unknown and that light in your life could never exist there. It was an irrational fear of second-guessing new friends, staying on edge, all because of your broken, bullied, and bruised past. Mumbles of slanders and insults as you lay awake at 4 in the morning, wondering where everything went wrong, replaying all the lives that you should be living. The familiar broke you. Pommeled the already shattered pieces into dust and blew it on the ground before your bloodied knees and stitched pride. And this is why, your past shadow, your familiar, with all of its cooing and songs, should cease to write its way in your story. It will still have a place in your heart, just no longer in your life. It will be in your mentions, but no more than a passing word or two. It doesn’t deserve a sentence. Over time, your departure from your comfort zone no longer brings fear. Your past has been left behind and the life that you’re creating is so much better than you ever imagined. For the first time in forever you have options. You can leave. The once void of nothingness has transformed into a windy road filled with adventure. Opportunities. Aspirations. By letting go, you are finally free. Free from the judgment that weighed you down. Free from the failure and insults that constantly haunted your smile. You can finally be happy, and not the happy when you put a smile on for the world when you’re actually breaking inside. But truly, over the top, genuine all-smiles euphoric. The kind that is contagious. The kind that brings joy to others around you. You may not be any of these things yet but you will get there. You just have to breathe.

Don’t be scared. Just let go of the bar. I can land this. 

Everything is silent. You shut your eyes as hard as you can and let go of the top bar. Fly away. Stick the landing. Your feet come into contact with a hard surface. Your muscles activate as you regain your balance. Your eyes are still closed but you’re grinning from ear to ear. Your friends are cheering. Finally you open your eyes and turn to face the apparatus that tormented you over the past 8 years.

I may not be where I was but I am exactly where I need to be. 







The Fragility of Relationships

For the first time, I’m finally free. I’m learning to be happy. I have the weight lifted from my shoulders. I can fly away. 

Humans are complex beings. Their traits fluctuate in the sequence of waves, but at the end of the day, personalities are the things that make them memorable. What’s that quote again? Something along the lines of people aren’t going to remember what you wear or look like, but how you make them feel. I’m going to stray from my usual writing style to get personal and real with you, whoever you may be: you will never know what goes on inside someone’s mind, and you shouldn’t take it personally.

It’s funny how situational a lot of friendships are. When you are in a city for a certain number of years, surrounded by a group of strangers (some of which eventually turn into friends), you start to form connections. Co-workers, acquaintances, partners, and friendships. You develop these connections because that’s what human nature tells you to do, but the strength of them cannot be determined until the situation of which everything is based off, differs. When you graduate, when you move away, when the rest of your life starts to occur. All of a sudden you’re in a new city, far away from those relationships that you formed over the course of the last 4 -5 years, and everything is different. But not necessarily in a bad way. You quickly realize who is there when you need them, who you decide to still make the time for, and who you cut. I know that sounds harsh but let’s be frank, there are some people that no matter how much you try to convince yourself that you’re meant to stay friends, don’t make the list. And you’ll probably never know why they have that effect, but that’s just how it is. And if you are one of the people who is suddenly removed from the life of your friends, don’t take it personally. Explanation given or not, the circumstances of your friendship has changed and that’s just how life is. No one said it would be fair. But there is no need to be upset, you have no idea how you affect those around you. You will never know what goes on inside someone’s mind, and you shouldn’t take it personally. 

When you move away, that fog that clouds your judgement, begins to lift. Everything becomes clearer. The people you once thought you couldn’t live without become distant as you realize everything was superficial. You remain grateful about the memories formed with them and you will always wish them happiness for their future, but your time together has run its course. It’s time to move on. Some relationships become questionable. Neither party really wants to put in the effort to speak to the other due to time straints, schedules, or emotional baggage but they still care for one another. These become the ones where you no longer make the time for the other person but if you happen to be in the area, you send a message informing them of such and if you both are free, you grab a quick coffee. These individuals have been transformed to a “I want to remain in contact if it’s convenient at the time for both of us” friend. And there is nothing wrong with that. It is the reality of starting your new life. Finally, some relationships are worth salvaging, and those are the ones that come with ease. The ones where trust is a two-way street and your intentions and morals are never questions. Where not speaking for a couple of weeks doesn’t raise panic, but an understanding that the other person has begun the rest of their lives as well. Those relationships are the ones that last.

I don’t know which category I fall under with a lot of people I know, and that’s alright because for a lot of people, I am still figuring out where they fall. All I know are the select few that I know to be special, and those are the ones where communication isn’t strained or stressful. Your social circle gets both larger and smaller as you grow-up. It expands in the sense that you meet new cohorts of individuals everyday, for the rest of your life. It shrinks in the fact that no matter how many people enter and exit your life, you limit the number who get to enter those barriers that you have posted so vigorously. And your relationship with them strengthens into titanium. And when life takes you away to new adventures, you know that they will always just be a phone call away.

People are fragile. When they are hurt or confused, they run away. It is not your job to chase them. There is a reason they are running and if you chase them, you may be dragging them back to a place they don’t want to be. You are stopping them from spreading their wings and experiencing freedom. You may not even know that you are doing it. Don’t be offended when ties are cut without explanation. Take the moment to realize that you don’t know who you are in someone else’s eyes. Smile at the memories, put them somewhere safe, take a deep breath, and continue with the rest of your life.

Because oh what a beautiful life it will be.

You just have to live it.