Tightrope

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I feel like I’m walking a tightrope; trying my hardest not to fall. Concentrating so hard on keeping my balance, I stop noticing what’s waiting beneath me. When I look down, I see two different sides that would catch me if I were to misstep. Two sides that are so different; one shows me a future and the other my past. One side is welcoming and full of light. I see myself being safe and cared for. I see a future filled with smiles and laughs and maybe even love. I see my face smiling and full of pure, honest joy with my eyes shining bright. I see days and nights filled with a kind of security I’ve never known before. I can hear the laughter coming from me that sounds so relaxed and carefree. I see my chance to have a bright future in which I could truly be happy, and I want nothing more than to let myself fall in; to take that plunge and finally let myself open up. I want to dive in, head first, and see what this future holds. And just when I think maybe I could, I see what else is hiding below.

The other side is dark and cold, full of the pain and heartbreak I’ve felt so many times before. I can see my face, sad and defeated, with tears dripping down my cheeks. I can hear myself gasping for breath between sobs and feel the weight squeezing down on my chest. I feel the same agony I’ve felt every other time I’ve let myself fall. I see my past broken down into all the times I let someone else break my heart. I remember all the boys who came before, each taking a small piece of me when they left. Unlike the others, I can actually see his face telling me how worthless I am. I see my past self learning to believe it and accepting the fact that I didn’t deserve any better. I feel the bitter sting of my tears each and every time he told me our fights were all my fault. I hear the longing in my voice as I beg him to forgive me again and again. I see all the shame and guilt I carried with me when I was with him. I see myself falling apart over and over as I fought to get away. I watch myself scramble to pick up all the broken pieces he left behind and fit them back together. I see all the blood, sweat, and tears I shed while learning to rebuild myself for three years after him. I watch myself rise up off the floor, finally feeling whole and healthy and ready to try again.  

I balance myself on the tightrope, trying to decide which side scares me more. If I fall to one side, the side that holds my past, I am terrified I won’t have the strength to claw my way out of it again. That I will get swept up in the darkness, and remain there until it swallows me whole. That the people around me will just look on as I sink deeper and deeper into myself. But if I fall into the other, the side that holds the happiness and light, I’m afraid to find that it’s all a lie. If I fall into this side and discover that there’s nothing there to catch me at all, just an illusion tempting me to fall. So, for now, I remain trapped walking this tightrope, hoping I don’t make any mistakes. Focusing on not losing my balance while trying to ignore what’s down below. Keeping myself rigid and tense, knowing that I can’t afford to relax. Putting one foot in front of the other, knowing that I will inevitably fall to one side or the other.