On the Way Down

At this moment, I am living in a déjà vu. A loading matrix. It hit me on a sunset bike ride this week.

While making my first documentary, Preventable, I was crushed inside this suffocating capsule. I was heartbroken, homesick for a place that wasn’t actually home, fighting for my life, and wondering why I had this restless spirit amongst the already debilitating debris of my declining health. Peddling on my bike was the only thing that made sense. It allowed the demons of self-doubt and lack of self-love to dissipate.

It’s the same right now, except for one thing.

Back then, I had nothing left to lose. I’d already lost it all. But now I have something to lose.

I’m not as young as I used to be. Time is not on my side. And I’m on a medication that could stop working any second. I’m right back inside that capsule, writhing, melting – longing for arms that are like medicine, missing a city that is pure oxygen, fighting for my god damn life, and still wondering why I keep looking over a ledge that has no visual of the ground below.

That ledge.

It calls to me. I think it calls to a lot of us. Our toes curl at the breaking point. We either linger in the vertigo or run like hell the other way. But I don’t want to run. I’m tired of running.

I’m ready to jump.

And jumping is scary. It looks and feels like chaos. But transformations aren’t without their messes and failures and slip ups. No one who is successful is without their paralyzing moments, their ledges. Their make or break. Their “do I give up now?” inclinations.

Like Sam.

In order to justify my crazy, thunderous mind, I think about Sam Heughan and his memoir, Waypoints. How he kept trekking, both on that West Highland Way trail and in his life. He received rejection after rejection, slept on people’s couches, saw his savings deplete, yet found treasures and tokens along the way that kept him brave in his pursuits. He knew what was meant for his life. He didn’t want to give up even when it made perfect sense to throw in the towel.

I keep his tenacity in the lining of my lungs.

Don’t get my wrong, this isn’t easy. It’s down right nauseating some nights. When I see others around me settled, in love, owning homes, having kids, it’s hard not to think I am doing something wrong. But my gut keeps telling me otherwise. Sometimes I’d wished she’d just shut up, but I am grateful for her. She keeps my wonder and dreams alive in a world that likes to snack on them for breakfast.

And the thing is, I almost get more scared of not jumping, of holding back, to sit stagnant in the “what if“. I’d much rather fail with tears streaming down my face than live with a knot in my stomach wondering if things would have been different if I’d just jumped and built my wings on the way down.

The way down is the spark. It’s the only way wings can take flight.

So maybe this capsule is my cocoon. I am the sludge inside, transforming, wings in the making.

I still have time. You still have time.

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