It seemed fitting that as we stood on solid ground practicing our grips and hangs and how to take that first terrifying jump off the platform that my instructor said, “Imagine you’re Alice and you’re jumping down the rabbit hole. Nice and easy.”
Rabbit hole, indeed. I signed up for trapeze lessons because I needed to do something thrilling and terrifying and this more than lived up to that. As I climbed up the ladder for my first flight whispering “Dom Vivimus Vivamus” to remind myself why I was doing this crazy thing, I couldn’t help but think of Gary the Lifeguard, who spent a greater part of my childhood summers finding ways to bribe me into jumping off of the diving board. I never would. I hate jumping. Yet here I was standing on the edge of a platform much higher than a diving board being told to “lean out farther” while my stomach churned and my legs trembled and there wasn’t even a hot lifeguard there to catch me.
It was thrilling and exhilarating and terrifying in all of the great ways that terrifying can be. And even though I spent the majority of my first “flight” screaming “Shit Shit Shit Shit!!” (they promised me people have shouted worse), I somehow found the courage to keep trying and even managed a few tricks.
They told me that it would get easier and I would be less afraid the more I went. That was certainly true of the flying. It was amazing and I loved everything about swinging through the air. But the jumping never got easier. In fact, it got harder each time I went to climb that ladder, reach out for that bar and step off into flight. I hate jumping and perhaps that’s a metaphor for my life and why it never got easier. Still, I attempted to defy that today. I mean, living life doesn’t mean I can’t have trembling legs sometimes, so long as I jump in the end.