Tip on the tightrope

Last week I walked a tightrope. Not a metaphorical one, a real life tightrope. After several weeks of obsessing about tightropes, one appeared quite by accident in my life. I conjured it, I’m sure.

That first step out on it is, as the cliché predicts, the hardest. The one that takes the most will. Because you body asks a reasonable question of you: ‘It’s nice and safe right here, give me one good reason why on earth would you want me to do that?’ Once you’re on the wire though every step is essential, survival. No choice about it, simply the need to keep moving in order to stay on.

Unbalanced. Immediately. Jump. Laugh. Blush.

‘Fight for the wire.’

Back on (elbow a small child out the way) and try again. I’m living the metaphor. Walking it. I’m walking on a metaphor. Actually walking on it. Well actually I’m falling off a metaphor. I just fell off a metaphor. Damn it.

‘Fight for the wire.’

I will, I will fight to stay on. To be unbalanced and to keep walking with only my outstretched arms and the abyss below (or a crash mat, either way). To walk the tightrope. Tip on the tightrope. Tip off the tightrope. Land on the mat.

‘Fight for the wire.’

Outstretched arms for balance. Balance. Antithesis. Outstretched arms for antithesis. We did that once.

‘Fight for the wire’

Fight for it. Words I’ve ruminated on, built theories on, made my mantra. Don’t jump, don’t give up because it’s hard. Fight. Not to be confused with struggle. Not ‘struggle for the wire’. Struggle is weak, sad and wants to be watched as it fails. Fight. Fight. Don’t give up (or, better without the negative, that’s Do stay on). But thoughts are thoughts and my body is elsewhere right now. ie struggling and struggling wildly.

‘Fight for the wire.’

And now the wire found me and I’m on it and I’m walking and flailing and I reach the point where I’ve fallen off at least ten times in the last five mins and I do I do fight for the wire and I decide not this time I’m not going to jump off no matter what I’m fighting I am fighting and suddenly I’m not fighting but I’m not falling either I’m just walking and for a moment it’s stupidly easy. And I step off the end. And I’ve done it. I fought and I won. Cue music.

A sheepish grin and I turn to make fleeting eye contact with the room, to see who was watching, who witnessed my almighty triumph. No one. Not one person saw.


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