I sat with my chin in my hands, smile on my face as I watched Hannah last week in gymnastics. She sat in the front row of a class of about twenty-five 5-7 year old girls. She always likes to be in the front. Close to the instructor. Having the best view. Getting the most attention if she should need to tell about her trip to Pittsburgh, her dinner with her grandparents or her mom running a red light on the way to class. I couldn’t hear the coaches or the kids from where I sat, behind the glass, as if watching monkeys in the zoo. But I always know when Hannah is telling a story. She twirls one ponytail around and around her finger, stands very close to whoever she is talking to and makes sure not to lose their eye contact. The coach smiles and nods and I usually read, “OH REALLY? Wow!” from their lips. I always wonder what story it is that she told this time. She tells these stories all while she stretches at the start of class. I’m amazed with the ease that she stretches. Her legs spread in a near split. Her nose or her ear touching her knee. One side. Quickly to the next. Out in front. Face planted on the floor between her legs. She flips to her back. Presses he arms to the floor into a backbend. Perfectly arched. Like a rainbow.
I remember when I could stretch like that. It caused no pain to jump into the air and land in a split. I could easily flip my legs backwards over my head, putting my knees next to my ears. Like a pretzel. I could grab my ankles with my hands in a backbend. Like a rubberband.
I no longer can stretch like that. It hurts. I get stuck. And I can’t bounce back.
These days I am STRETCHED. I guess that’s what happens. You go from being flexible and loving to stretch, to just plain being stretched.
There’s just so much. Too much. And I’m being pulled. From side to side. From above and below. From real world to online world. From being thrilled to be where I am today, to being petrified of where I’ll be tomorrow. From feeling like I’m doing it pretty well, to feeling like I’m failing miserably. From knowing it will all turn out alright, to not even knowing what “All Right” is or if there even is an All Right. From feeling like I’m able to take care of everything, to feeling like I’m caring for no one very well.
I wouldn’t mind being so stretched if I felt more flexible. If it didn’t hurt quite so much. I want to scream, “Stop pulling me!” but I know it’s just part of life. Being pulled. Not ever feeling balanced. Always feeling like I’m about to fall over or dragged to a place that doesn’t feel quite right.
The strange thing? Is that so much IS right in my world these days. I’m working. Making money. Running my own little business with projects that I LOVE. But these projects that I love are taking me away from this passion of writing that I love. And I’ve hated having to choose. Spend two hours at night on a client’s blog, or my own. Get paid, or say “hi” to you all. I’m finding time to remember the OLD me. The one who played tennis. I get out there and hit some balls, get some exercise, feel competitive and inspired to be in shape. But that time on the court? Is two hours that i could be making money, or again, be here with you. Or making an effort to see my friends. Or visiting my mom or my Nana. Every day that I am happy with what I DID do, I realize what I did NOT do. Clean my house. Organize my kitchen/playroom/office/bedroom.
I’m stretched. Full of worry, impatience, fear. For what lays ahead. When the slight breeze will come that will knock me to the ground. It won’t even take a strong gust of wind, just a breeze.
Because I can’t stretch anymore. I’m as stretched as I can be.