At fourteen, I was shy, timid and preferred not to be in the spotlight. Public speaking and being on stage made me nervous, so when I was on vacation in the Caribbean, I was very happy standing back, watching people swing through the air from a large structure. Yet, this conglomeration of upright poles and swinging parts, which I later learned was a flying trapeze, intrigued me. But not enough to make me want to try it.
My mom, on the other hand, had also noticed the flying trapeze and watched in awe as the children at the resort took to the air. At dinner, she launched into a very enthusiastic explanation of the flying trapeze and expressed her desire to try it the next day.
But first, she attempted to recruit the family members to join her. After some persuasion, I consented.
Shortly thereafter, I found myself standing on a small platform twenty four feet in the air. A belt was tightly cinched around my waist. My hands were sweaty even though they were covered in snowy white chalk.
Standing on the tiny suspended rectangle, I dutifully did everything my instructor, who held my belt, told me to do. First, she leaned my body forward into the void, so that only my feet were touching the board. Then I was told to clasp the bar that was within my reach.
I barely breathed as I looked down at the net miles below me. But there was no going back now and on the words “ready, hup…”
The feeling is hard to explain: the wind, the weightlessness, the rush, the freedom. It is in these moments that we truly feel alive and present.
Jumping off that twenty four foot platform was the best decision I ever made. It was scary the first time, but strangely enough, it was followed by many more jumps.