When I was 6 years old, I had a summer gymnastics instructor that taught me how to do a backflip.
At first, she just observed me. We only had about 90 days of summer, and our entire relationship fell within this time period. I do not remember her name.
I was primed to learn because I’d already accomplished, of my own accord, my first hardest-thing ever. My first self-imposed “bootcamp”. My first “by the end of this series of sessions, you’ll be able to _____”
The mission I had chosen to accept /or/ the transformation I was after, to put it in digital marketing 2020s terms, was to be able to jump up to reach the monkey bars by the time I returned to 1st grade in the fall.
In my first year of “real school” aka “kindergarten”, the thing that was holding me back the most was my smaller than average size. And what is was holding me back from, specifically, was beating every single boy, every single time, in a monkey bar race on the playground, while looking cool. See … the thing is, I was already beating almost every single boy (and all of the girls) in monkey bar races, but it was the looking-cool part that was “hanging me up”.
I was so tiny in kindergarten that I could only reach the monkey bars if I climbed up the pole to the big toy, and then shimmied over. (Which I did. That was always how I reached the bar.). You see … The bar was “set too high” for me to reach, and so …
I shimmied up the pole next to it and then muscled my way over to the starting line.
And that, my friends …
Is something I’ve dealt with my entire life.
I’m so tiny that my really good friends, and a bunch of other people, around 11th ish grade wanted me to apply to receive a scholarship for being a legal midget. Eventually, after like a million nudges, I checked it out. “Write a 1000 word essay about how your size has held you back.”
My size has not held me back. Also, I’m a pretty good writer, so I felt weird stealing from an actual midget. The thing is … I wasn’t even actually the shortest girl in my class.
Definitely, though … I was the LOUDEST, and likely the weirdest, of all the short girls in my class (and probably a bunch of other classes, too.)
Every evening between K and 1st Grade, I spent hours. HOURS, people … Running down my hallway and jumping to reach the pull-up bar that hung in the hall doorway. I could not reach it, just like on the play ground.
My work around for the hall doorway to the monkey bar was to x-climb up the frame til I could reach the bar. But I wanted a cool as a cucumber approach. I wanted to jump up and reach it.
I tried 100 times every day until I could.
My thigh muscles are still bomb from this. 30 actual years later.
I returned to 1st grade jumping gracefully from the deck to the bars, and beating everyone all the time at monkey bar races so bad that we started playing other games instead.
The bar is not too high. You might just have to try-hard 10,000 times.
By the time I reached my sugar-sweet gymnastics instructor at the YMCA of all places, I was ready for more challenges. I could already do so many cartwheels in a row that anyone who made a pledge-per wanted a steeeep discount.
Jump up as high as you can, tuck hard thighs to chest, eyes trace back in a circle.
That’s how you do a backflip. Easy, right? Just a simple 3 step process.
One day when I was 7, my cat ran away. She was in heat, on a leash that I was holding, and we were going outside for a quick walk before CCD … Wednesday night religious school. My carpool ride to WNRS (I don’t know what CCD means, lets go with this) would be there in 20 minutes and my cat ran away.
It went up a tree.
Wish a leash.
On a collar.
That got wrapped around a branch.
And I could se my cat, lots of feet above me in the tree
Caught on a branch.
The pressure was on. My mom was not home, and this lady was about to be so mad at me.
The adrenaline pumped me up. My heart was so ready to do SOMETHING.
I fucking shimmed up the tree. It was one tall tree with no branches for like 15 ft, next to another tree that looked the same. There was a “v” between the two trees, and I did the x-climb like my chin-up bar work around from the door hallway.
It was scary as heck, no one was home, my cat was VISIBLY DYING.
I didn’t know what to do.
I just went up there, and freed her from the stupid ass leash I put on her. She got down a lot faster than I did.
I was late to my pickup and my ride to WNRS was pissed. Said I should have called 911.
Ya know what would have happened if I called 911? My cat would be dead.
Sometimes you can’t wait for someone else to Save the Cat, and you have to be the hero of your own damn story.
An early life lesson not to hold others back with your own imposed restraints.
Try saying “I bet you can” Instead of “You can’t.”
If you need help trying new things, join the club. We are determined to try something new every month, and you can join us for $27.