The stands and the arena
Updated: Nov 12
Today, I feel like I am constantly on a wire suspended thousands of feet above the ground. Or to use Theodore Roosevelt's metaphor, the Man in the Arena, so dear to Brené Brown, like I am in the arena.
I am new to dancing on the wire. I am new to the arena. I was more a stands-of-life kind of person until a year ago.
I have to admit the stands are actually pretty comfortable. It was comfortable to envy people on their wire doing incredible moves, telling myself "this is not for me". It's comfortable to be jealous, to play small, not to take risks, to just watch. And in a way, hoping that the amazement of watching will be enough to suppress the nagging feeling that something isn't right, that I am not fully alive.
But I chose to get out of the stands. And on the wire, I cannot go back, and I can't make incredible moves either. I stand clumsily, gracelessly, not really knowing how to be. Often, I fall, and it hurts.
I wish I could seat back, and pretend nothing happened, pretend I didn't step on the wire. Pretend I don't know what it feels like to see the void under my feet, and know whatever happens it'll be fine, pretend I never felt like I was flying just standing here. It's true, I feel like going back to the stands, often, and especially when I fall, or I don't know where I'm going, and that often goes hand in hand. I want the safety I hardly find within myself. Because these stands, they were my home. It's hard not to be able to go back.
I feel like I fell flat on my face, on the muddy ground (because it's raining in London unsurprisingly). It really, really hurts, and I tell myself I'm done, it's too hard, it's useless anyway.
I am lying there on the ground like a pancake that wouldn't be turned around, and I really don't want to get back up, because, really what do I look like covered in tears and mud, I am sad and terribly angry. This is unfair it's happening to me, right? I mean, all these people doing incredible moves on their wire, in the arena, and I lost mine. In this moment, I am jealous of people comfortably sitting in their stands as much as I am of people dancing on their wire.
And at the same time, it's okay. It's amazing I chose to show up, love myself and try. It's amazing to stand here, between past and future. It hurts to fall. I will stand back up again, and be bigger for it. I can't go back but I can move forward, and learn, and go even higher doing crazy moves, even if it means in the process, I will surely get even more hurt than I am now.
I chose, and I accept all the consequences of this choice, even the ugly ones. The ugly ones are precious.