My life has become so constant at times, and I don’t even realize I am about to come to an edge. Pace by pace, I’m going through the motions. I’m climbing a ladder, focusing on the step ahead or the step I’m on, all the while mumbling to myself: “Am I ever going to reach the top?” “What will happen when I do?” “Hey, these shoes are really cute!” And before you know it I’m standing on the platform, cool breeze dancing across my face, tiny trees below my feet, and the anticipation of a leap ahead. I can spend days, months, or even years climbing ladders only to be shocked and surprised when its time to take to the sky. I’ve been feeling a lot like this lately. It’s time to leap. It’s time to trust I will be caught, and it’s time to relish in the wonder of what I have climbed all this time for. Its time to soar.
One of the reasons people love to watch Aerial performers, I would guess, is because the act itself is so risky. These people are doing ridiculously scary, dangerous things, and while they are doing it, they don’t appear to be in a panic. They seem to be enjoying it. Calm, confident, performing, and relishing in not only the thrill but the show. I have been known to be a bit of a risk-taker. My Vegas roommate used to tell me that I was like a cat: always landing on my feet. When I was younger, it seemed so much easier to leap. I showed-off on the trapeze all the time. I’d climb ladders, get to platforms and without thinking twice, jump. Leap. Hail my body forward, hoping for the best, or trying to get out the worst. Sometimes I was caught, sometimes I fell, sometimes I got tangled in the net for like a really long time, but I kept climbing; and whether it was jobs, friends, or men, I’d always get up and start again. The excitement, the rush, the chaos. I was always proud of this strange resilient tenacity.
It wasn’t until I got sober that I really started to get my act together, in more ways than one. It was easy to fly through the air with the greatest of ease when I was drinking, but how much better could I be if I had practiced and perfected my routine with a clear head? I understood stability and balance would have to be my new best friends. Those things aren’t as important when you are rushing and running, but this time, I clung to the ladder harder than I ever had before. I walked the straight and narrow. I did what I was supposed to. I turned to God. I looked to others for judgment, not trusting my own choices. I went to meetings. I paid off my debt. I examined my relationships. I became celibate for a few years. This climb was different, and it was deliberate. I wasn’t racing up the rungs to blindly plummet. I was careful, cautious, and intentional with every step. I thought about why I was climbing. I lingered a little longer on each rung before moving to the next. At first, it was hard to get my footing. I felt slow, boring even. I could hardly stand it, but I had committed to change-up my act and try a new way. This wasn’t as exciting as before, but slowly, I did begin to trust myself. I began to build confidence and to feel a burning in my heart, and knowing that someday I would jump and swing again.
The thing about moving up is, no matter how stable and steady I have been on my climb, I have still reached the top. I have known for a while now that the universe is urging me to once again leap into the winds of change, but this time, I’m scared. I have been clinging to the platform for a while, I’ve contemplated going back down the way I came. I have weighed the options of being rescued, quitting, and failing. I have even tried to keep one foot where I am and reach out with the other, but I have realized I can’t do both. To sail, I am going to have to let go. That means letting go of a little bit of the solidarity I have built and be willing to take the risk once again. Something tells me I can. Maybe that is what faith is, a steady urging voice that says, “you can,” and believing in myself enough to listen and be okay whatever the outcome will be.
Here’s what I know is true: I am an artist. An artist by the flying trapeze of my life. I’ll never be happy just climbing a ladder. Some people are, and that is okay for them, but I am not some people.
I love myself now. I believe in my ability as an artist to fall, to catch and to put on a ravishing performance. I have a net of support bigger than I could have ever imagined. I know it’s time to trust my instincts, to follow my heart, and to be true to the little dare-devil inside. I am here to take risks and to do the things other people can’t. I am here to Inspire, to Challenge, and to Dazzle. I have the ability to jump far beyond my reach, into the unknown, all while wearing a smile and sparkling costume.
I am here. I won’t look down this time. I will breathe, and I will dive. My heart was made to fly.