I take a moment before I jump.
And while the gathered crowd waits for me, for my carefully timed, patiently planned- rapid jump, run skip, hop and make that gigantic fosbury flop across the bar.
I’ve caught them off guard, taking a moment, I’ve caught them in suspense. The crowd begins to quiet. I have not made my jump. The suspense builds and I am tired, my breathes are heavy. I try to lighten my sighs before I set off the mark.
In this moment, I am suspended, knowing the consequences of this jump. Knowing that I may sign over the right to my body, my time, my life. And I ask what is the loss of something good for something that might be better? How can I test the water on the other side of that mat? Perhaps this is faith like suspension; believing, holding out yet never really knowing if it is going to come?
Between these steps, my body transfers weight between my feet and the lines of my psychologist come back to me. All these lines on self-reflection, self-motivation, self-manipulation? Considering how much I’ve changed, I fail to see the distance I have come.
For me, it has always been the distance. A track trainer since little A’s, I’ve known to measure my success in distance- how far, how high and how wide and how long it has been since I took the initiative to make everything change. How long have I left my spectators without a site?
I am a site for sore eyes. Yet I’m still working at it, working through inclusion and exclusion. Working at it with a blurring, rather faulty monitor of discernment whilst respecting arduous personal boundaries. Oh God, it’s taking a beating upon my soul. And the audience begins some chant.
So I roll my neck and hitch my shoulders back. Oh God, oh God, it hurts. It hurts to have my body kept, my mind set in this place without certain comforts that were once there. And I am constantly replacing the comforts with ones that I am allowed- until they too, become addictions and I in turn have to start it all over and give it up again.
My psychologist tells me of the intrinsic link between body, soul, spirit, and I try to divorce the three, compartmentalising them into capable sectors that a diet, a timetable and a running regime will cure. All the while I am hiding in the adrenalin of achievement and in the recesses of others’ success.
I open my hands wide and clasp them tight. I sway my arms to prepare. Caught in this space: learning the difference between the grab and the grasp. Learning to focus on the goal that is ahead, visualising yet not fantasising; reaching out, yet not pushing away. I am trying not to hold on too tight to what is ahead, knowing that in the power of my clench, I may well crush it in accidental strength.
So I have this in mind, a type of purposeful buoyancy. This buoyancy, like being caught above the mat, above the pole. Like the suspense in the audience, still quiet, still in expectation, here there rests a certain lightness. A lightness of confident expectation. Not knowing, but hoping- planned where possible, and expectant for the rest.
Ah, and as I see the lightness, the buoyancy, the bounce. The jump comes. I feel it under my feet. I run in- into thin air. In the air, I am suspended. In anticipation that when I land-
– there will be lightness.