I never wanted to be the girl who said never.
Past experience has taught me that saying never doesn’t really mean all that much anyway. Let’s face it, I said I’d never have anything less than bright blonde hair, then they invented ombré. I said I’d never be able to pull off red lipstick, then I wore it anyway. I said I’d never be someone who actually enjoyed drinking coffee, then I developed an alarming caffeine addiction. Needless to say, in this day and age – at least for me – never only really means ‘at least not for the foreseeable future.’
But there is one thing I’ll never do. Seriously, never ever ever, in absolutely no way. Ever.
I will never (seriously, I mean never!) want to do anything that involves gliding. Not flying; gliding.
Flying I’m actually fine with – I just wear my travel pillow like a scarf and eat peanut M&M’s until I fall asleep – but gliding? That’s a whole other ball game. Even just tapping out the combination of letters in the word is giving my heartbeat an unfamiliar rhythm.
That’s because I have a fear, quite an uncontrollable fear, of gliding.
Like most fears it’s irrational, but unlike most fears I can accurately pinpoint exactly where it came from – without enduring years of intensive therapy to get there.
You see, I wasn’t born with this (like anyone would seriously be born with an innate fear of gliding?!) but it’s true that I could never have been described as a glider. I’m far too tall and awkward to be a glider. I’m more inclined to stagger around and hope people think it’s cute to be a little bit scatty – all the while knowing that people mainly just think I’m clumsy and probably mildly psychotic. Either way, it’s always been clear to me that gliding was never a medium in which I was supposed to travel. But I wasn’t afraid of it.
At least I wasn’t until I had a dream.
Now I’m not being metaphorical here (that part will come later) I’m talking about a literal dream. A reoccurring dream, nonetheless. One that appeared in my head every single night for months on end, clear as crystal, which involved me gliding through the most perfect bubblegum blue sky, on the most blissfully sunny day. I didn’t mind that part, in fact that part was actually quite delightful, the scary part would come later – when I physically couldn’t get down. I’d see my house, and I’d want nothing more than to feel my feet back on solid ground, but all I ever did was go higher and higher.
The nature of the dream meant I instantly knew it was only a dream the second I woke up (I wasn’t crazy enough to believe I’d actually been flying), so there was none of the surreal ‘was I dreaming, or did that actually just happen?’ sensation, but I’d still always wake up feeling very out of sorts. The dream was honestly that vivid.
It made me certain that I never want to subject myself to activities that require gliding or free-falling of any description, so I’ve been spending the last few years of my life avidly abstaining from them. I understood why. It made sense.
Now here’s where I start getting metaphorical (I do this a lot – you’ll see.)
I did something stupid. I did something really really stupid.
I cut myself off from my very own source of gravity.
The one thing that was designed to keep me safe on the ground. The one thing that existed to stop my worst fears coming to life. I just cut it right off.
I understand exactly what you’re thinking: why would a girl who’s scared of gliding cut off the very thing that’s keeping her attached the ground? Well the truth is, (and I’m ashamed to admit it) I didn’t know just how much of a gravitational pull it provided. I took for granted its essential purpose in my life, never completely acknowledging how much I inherently needed it until I floated away and could only see it from afar. It was in that distance I actually saw it more clearly than ever.
The clarity made me experience the crippling agony of having to drift away from the place I want to be, all the while knowing I might never be able to get back down to it. The real terrifying part is that this time it isn’t even a dream. It’s real, and it’s scary.
Scary because I’m in a position of trying to reattach myself to everything I never should have detached myself from in the first place. Scary because I might never be able to.
But there’s no denying that I miss having that special gravitational pull. I miss it a lot. It’s terrifying up here, and I don’t like it.
When I said I’m never going to want to do anything that includes gliding, I meant it. I realise now that includes both literal and metaphorical gliding. More importantly I realise now that means I never should have cut myself off from my own gravitational pull in the first place. If I could go back now, I never would have done it.
I know never is a really long time to promise. I know that never doesn’t always mean that much, but I know that this time I’ve never been more serious about never. I need that gravitational pull, and for that reason I’ll never give up wanting to get back to it.