|Not the actual course. Not me.|
One of the only bright spots of hanging out in a psych center was the weekly outing to the ropes course. Getting to go was a privilege, reserved for those deemed medically and mentally sound, which meant most patients didn’t get permission for at least four weeks. They wanted to make sure we wouldn’t try to hang ourselves on the ropes or jump out of the van and run into Mcdonalds, like caffeine and sugar deprived crazies. This was our one chance for freedom from the 1/4 square mile to which we were confined so we jumped at the chance to go. We piled into vans with all the excitement of kids going to summer camp.
At the end I gave one last mighty swing and caught the last platform with my foot. However instead of sticking the landing I ended up strung out (no, not that way), like roast dinner on a spit, horizontally suspended 30 feet in the air, belly and cape flapping in the wind; one foot clinging to the platform, my hands clinging to the guide rope. Awkward and ungraceful. To make matters worse I had shoes with no shoe laces and gravity was threatening to separate me from my shoe. As I mentally negotiated my next move I lost my shoe and, this just in, was beginning to lose my pants. My only hope for modesty was the harness which though chaffing was keeping the proper parts covered. My triumph? After re-situating my pants I jumped off that platform, cape flying and landed brilliantly on one foot, just like Batman.
I have given birth four times, overcome unimaginable abuse, sat successfully for comprehensive exams, been a pastor for over two decades, survived celebrating New Year’s Eve with the Mexicans and overcome OCD control of my sock drawer. However just enjoying being myself in that moment felt bigger than all of that.