When we were younger, I remember climbing the couch all the way to the top and waiting for the itch in our hands to appear before leaping toward the floor.
We liked to see how far we could fly.
We followed that itch every where. Monkey bars. Swing sets. Backyard pools and tumbling gyms. The higher, the faster, the further? The better.
We wanted to be a ballerina for a minute. Do you remember that? We loved the way they jumped and twirled and defied gravity in so many ways. We walked into the studio clad in gym shorts and a t-shirt, saw the tights and leotards, and went running the other direction.
I felt you, though. Despite the it's okay, I didn't want to do it anyways, the pinch was there. And when we had a best friend in elementary and middle school leave for ballet class and talk about finally reaching point, we'd smile and wonder. Remember? Instead, we took to cheerleading and became the base. The spotter. We couldn't fly, but we helped every one else get there.
I think that might have been the beginning of the Great Hiding.
There were other factors too—hands in places they didn't belong and words thrown toward you at volumes you weren't meant for—but eventually, the itching went internal.
And instead of your hands reminding you where your wings should be, your heart scratched your insides and begged you to stay safe. That's when you turned to the pantry.
You learned early on that a cookie worked better to satiate that scratching than anything else. So you ate. You ate the cookies and the tortillas and the peanut butter and the pies in the freezer. You ate the chips and the turkey and the candy bars and the chocolate milk.
And soon, you didn't even try to fly because of how heavy you felt inside.
A few years ago, someone gave you a rope. Do you remember? It was like a piece of red thread connected between here and sanity.
The Great Hiding looked dark. Lonely. It looked like you may turn to the wallpaper for friends instead of the world outside and that's just not the way to go, you know? And you wanted the girl back—the one who would jump from things without even looking because of course she could fly. She had wings! There was itching to prove it.
That thread was the first broken belt on the strait jacket of invisibility. Nothing was satiating the scratching inside and now you knew it was because it didn't belong there. It didn't belong there and this whole time you thought your heart was working against you but really, she was just trying to get you to hear her because she was caged.
She was caged and begging to go free.
She knows we're meant to fly.
I found the key, little one.
It's right here. I'm holding it. Are you ready? We were born to risk—to jump—to celebrate the softness of landing in our dreams.
And today is the day the itching returns to our wings.
This post was part of Story Sessions' The Girls We Once Were linkup. Will you join us?