Nine Lives

I’m a lion, I’m a cat, and I’m a fire dragon. I credit these things for my ability to mostly bounce back from whatever life might toss in my direction. I’m good with things like hope, most of the time.

Today, I feel like I’m on the precipice again. Looking up, and looking way, way down. If I step off, I’m sure to plummet, but there’s always the possibility that somewhere down there, through the fog and haze, is a fluffy clearing where I will land softly and beautifully, and triumphant.

How does one gather the nerve to step off the ledge, over and over again? Even with a perfect record of brilliantly executed landings, or just a few minor bumps and scrapes, there is always the possibility that the next plunge might be your last. It’s possible that the fall will be so bad, there’s no bouncing back, and you’ll never again get the chance to consider pushing off with your toes.

I’m so tired. Deeply tired, down to my very core. I look into the mirror, into the eyes of a woman I know very well, and neither one of us can tell me how much strength is left there.

Ask my mom – if I am not good at something, I get overwhelmed with frustration and anger. I didn’t know this, but as a child, she’d have to intercept and cease activities so that I wouldn’t spiral into the pit of despair. All this time I’d thought she was just really impatient with me. Now, as an adult, if I can’t do something well I lose interest, shut down, or just get angry with myself. I’m eyeballing affairs of the heart right now with the same wary look I give to mathematical equations.

This time I’ve given it my all. I’ve emptied all my pockets and laid everything out on the table. I’ve opened up my heart wider than I even imagined it’s rusty hinges would allow. I’ve loved with every cell in my body.

The desire to jump off the cliff is not enough. Love is not enough. You need trust, and faith, and communication, and security. I need to know that if I’m going to jump, there’s a safe landing at the bottom. That there will always be a safe landing. My helmet and my knee pads are completely useless if there is not.

In fact, it’s probably smarter to just walk away from the ledge if you have no idea what’s at the bottom.

Will all these hands catch me?