Tightrope

I am walking a tightrope.  The rope is thin.  It sways and moves beneath me as I try to maintain my balance.  Storms assail me, bringing with them additional challenges to my being able to keep a tenuous foothold on this frail, shifting rope.  Falling is not an option.  There are no nets.  There isn’t anyone to catch me ; nothing to break my fall.  I surely would not survive.  Not be able to pick up the pieces once again, make another attempt at making this treacherous crossing.  I am terrified.  All of my energy and concentration is focused on the next step I must take as I slowly make my way across the tightrope.  I am trying to make it to safety.  To solid ground.  I’ve been balancing here for a very long time.  I’m exhausted.  I’m overwhelmed with terror and despair. And I’m running out of strength.  I’m running out of hope.
 
It’s worse at night, when the terror hits me full force, the distractions of the daytime no longer there to buffer and dilute the impact.  I cling to the rope, praying, praying, praying for relief.  For a respite.  I am assailed by feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness that further weaken me.  I am tormented by my failings: depression, eating disorder, financial problems, isolation, weakness, distortion, abuse aftermath and all that it entails.   I am pulverized by my inadequacies.  I feel the full impact and bear the full brunt of this wild and brutal storm with nothing to protect me.  No shelter.  It lashes me without mercy.
 
I frequently doubt my ability to make it across.  I regularly question whether it is possible. I don’t even truly know if there is “another side” to reach.  I certainly can’t see the end.  But I must try to keep walking for clearly, staying where I am is not a viable option.  At best, I can exist here short term,  for this is not bearable or tolerable and life is not sustainable in this precarious position; in this desolate, lonely place.  It is a place of certain death, this place of desperation where I slip from the rope with frequency, frantically grabbing hold, climbing back up, barely able to cling to this fragile connection, this nearly invisible thread that is supposed to lead me to a better place.  To the mystical place of healing.
 
I am ashamed that I must make this journey.  Yet others who have done so cross much more quickly.  With so much more style and pizzazz.  I am slow, clumsy, uncoordinated.  I want to hide, so great is my shame at my inability to simply walk this tiny rope.  I wonder at my complete inadequacy and deficiency.  It pains me to be so slow and faulty.  So inept and incompetent.
 
If I fall, who will cradle what is left of me?  Who will reach out a hand  to lift me up?  To give me a gentle touch that says they care and that my pain and brokenness matter?  Will anyone even know I have lost the battle?
 
And what happens if the line snaps?
 
I made it through another tortuous night on the tightrope.  I wake today and though I can barely function, I’m nursing my battered heart, trying to gain enough strength to rise, to move, to open another door of thought and examine the ugly nightmares contained therein.  But for the moment, I’m simply trying to breathe.  One more breath.  Just give me a few minutes.  A few hours.  Tomorrow I will try to stand again.  Today, I must just cling to the tightrope, trying to regain my balance before I attempt to stand.  Before I try to take another step on this slippery, swaying, rope that is my life.

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