Olympics and Flying: What they Have in Common

When I was little, I would watch the Olympics in complete awe and reverence. I would watch the gymnasts run down the mats like an airplane taxing down a runway, fling themselves off the vault, fly through the air, twisting and turning like a leaf in the wind, and stick their landings. I would watch the ice skaters glide on the ice like a knife over butter, twirl in the air as they complete their triple axels, and come back down to earth all with the grace of an angel.

And I wanted to be a gymnast and an ice skater and a fairy princess. So, I tried my hardest. I put a step stool down between the lines on the carpet in the living room. I would run and jump off of it, doing a half twist in the air before my feet hit the ground. And in that moment, I was an award-winning gymnast. I would “ice skate” in my socks on hardwood floor, and as I glided over the floors I pretended I was Michelle Kwan. I would take my light pink super hero cape and pretend it was a Queen’s robe, until I decided being prim and proper was boring. Saving the world is more fun.

When I was little, I was obsessed with the idea of flying. I would stand on the bottom step of the staircase in my home and channel my inner Buzz Lightyear by saying, “to infinity and beyond.” Of course, being 3, it would come out “to infiniby and beyond.” And then I would jump off that 6 inch step and flap my arms, because I was convinced that if I flapped my arms hard enough, I could fly around the room. One day, I told my Dad with all the enthusiasm little me could muster, “Daddy. I was in the air for 6 whole seconds!”

Of course, I wasn’t. Children don’t understand time… or gravity.

Sometimes I still don’t.

Time is a relative concept. It’s not a line. It’s more of a… of a… big ball of timey wimey stuff. Gravity isn’t concrete either. Sometimes, when I feel particularly unhappy about my body, I remember that I would weigh less on the moon. So, if I ever fulfill my dream of becoming an astronaut, I’m all set. Because what is weight, but the force of gravity acting upon us? And the amount of gravity depends on the mass of the object. The earth is bigger than the moon. But compared to the size of the universe, the earth is miniscule. A speck of sand on the finger of God. So it’s easy for me to feel small.

On the day I decided to test gravity and throw myself off the metaphorical cliff, I wasn’t small enough for God to see me, to protect me, and save me.

I’ve always been obsessed with the idea of flying, and I’ve learned that 37,000 feet in the air is beautiful.

Gymnasts fly. Ice skaters fly. I’ll never be either.

And that’s ok. Because I’m a writer. I believe in metaphors. I believe in life. And what is life but a metaphor anyway?

When I was little, I believed that if I jumped high enough and flapped my arms hard enough, I would sprout wings and fly around the room.

One day, I woke up, and I had wings. And now I’m flying.

The girl who is scared of heights, which is more a fear of falling aka a fear of trying to die, is flying high in the sky. And nothing will ever bring me down.

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One Day You Will Fly: Update!

About a year ago, I wrote the following blog post. And it was a huge hit (Coincidentally, it is also the intro to the book I’m writing, but more on that in a minute)! Since it was a huge hit, I’d thought I’d update my readers on what has happened in my life since then.

But first, my original post:

To all the people who think that they are not good enough; to the people who believe that there is no way out; to the people who believe that they are alone in this struggle; to the people who believe that they will never be loved:

This is for you.

To all the people who took a razor to their beautiful skin; to all the people who have starved themselves, who refused to eat, and then asked, “Am I beautiful now?”; to all the people who have ever wanted to end it all:

This is for you.

I know it’s hard. I’m not just saying that either; I’m not trying to sympathize, trying to understand what it’s like—because, until you’ve been to that point, you don’t understand. Until you’ve been down that road, until you’ve lost sight of the light, until you’ve been down the never-ending pit of despair, you will never understand.

I’m saying it’s hard because I’ve been there. I’ve been down that road; I’ve been down that pit, and I’ve dug myself out—over and over again. And I have the scars to prove it. Scars faint enough that only the observant will notice; but scars dark enough to show that I’ve survived.

I know what it’s like to be told to snap out of it, as if it were an insect that could be smashed with the smack of a hand. Rather, I’m the insect, and depression is that hand, threatening to destroy my being as it comes closer and closer—like a dark, ominous storm cloud that threatens to engulf a lone ship, Hope, sailing on the ocean of my soul.

And I know what it’s like to watch the blood drip off my skin as I cut myself open with the razor of hate, waiting for the needle of hope to stitch me back together again. I’ve treaded water in the ocean of darkness, while trying not to drown, waiting for a life-preserver to be thrown my way.

You’re not worth it; you deserve it; you’re ugly, and nobody cares.

Those words have repeated over and over again in my head. They serve as unwanted memories of things said and things done.

If only I were prettier; if only I were skinnier; if only I looked like that, all my problems would be solved.

Those lies are fed to me by the devil’s hand as I compare myself to others, reminding me that, sometimes, I am my own worst enemy.

If any of these words have ever applied to you, I’m here to tell you that you’ll be ok, and you’re not alone. It will get better, and it will get worse; though it may get worse for a while, I promise you that it will always get better. If it’s not ok, it’s not the end.

You won’t wake up one day and say, ‘I’ll be ok.’ It’s a journey, it’s a struggle, and it’s a fight. And with every battle you fight, you get a little bit stronger; every journey you take, you gain a little more courage. When it comes around again, you can fight harder.

Hope whispers in your ear: ‘You can do this; don’t give up.’

Some days, you will scream, and you will cry. Some days, you will want to stop fighting; but, don’t give up, my dear. Because, one day, you will realize that you are stronger than this demon that plagues you. Even though the urge to pick up that razor won’t go away, you’ll learn how to control it.

I learned how to write with pain—how to take the blood that flows from my skin and turn it into something beautiful instead.

And even though I know I have talents, I sometimes doubt my abilities. But, don’t we all? And even though I know that I am beautiful, sometimes I still compare myself to others.

“Some girls say they’re not pretty, because they know someone’s going to come and say “Shut up, you know you are”. But some girls say they’re not pretty, not because they’re looking for attention, but because that’s how they feel. They compare themselves and see what others don’t. We see someone beautiful, but they see stretch marks, gut hanging out, small bodily features that wouldn’t catch the average guy’s eye. That’s why some girls can’t take a compliment; they feel like they don’t deserve it.”

If you don’t know what it is like to feel this way, don’t tell me it will get better. It’s not a disease. Don’t judge what you don’t know.

But if you do know what it’s like, trust me when I tell you it gets better, because I’ve been in your shoes. I’ve walked that road, and some days, I still do.

My scars and my words prove it. And believe me when I tell you this:

One day, you will spread your wings and fly.

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How has my life changed since I wrote this? Well, for one: I flew. I’m not going to put the whole story here, because it can be found in my post “Set a Fire.” But, to summarize: I’ve always been afraid of heights–not because of how high I was off the ground, but because of gravity, and because my desire to jump was always greater than my desire to live. Until one day, when I had no desire to try and die and instead wanted to sprout wings and fly. So, I did. And I haven’t really come down since–my feet are on the ground, but my head’s in the clouds. And I’m writing a book, because I’ve always wanted to do so, but I’ve never had the courage. Because what if my story’s not powerful enough? What if nobody cares about what I have to say?

But I’ve realized something. People out there have stories similar to mine, and some of these people don’t know how to deal with the pain they are feeling in a healthy way. I’ve found out how to put the pain I feel into words, and if I can change one person’s life, I will be happy.

One day, I spread my wings and flew!