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.