Today I’m writing for Five Minute Friday, where we write flat out for five minutes, unedited, on a one-word prompt. Join the fun with your own post or just read what others have done with their 300 seconds. Check it out at http://katemotaung.com/five-minute-friday/. Today’s word is Reach.
Nothing in my life has ever been within easy reach. I don’t mean figuratively – I mean literally. I’m short. I’ve always been short, and according to the nurse at my last medical appointment I’m now shorter than ever. The incredible shrinking woman.
I spent most of my life stubbornly rebelling against my shortness. As a kid, I was something of a daredevil, trying to out-climb and out-jump and out-everything my taller friends to prove … what? That I wasn’t really short?
Sometimes that didn’t work out so well, like the time one of my friends decided we should use the clothesline poles in her backyard to swing from. She jumped up and grabbed the cross bar, swinging wildly and laughing. I jumped up and missed. So I backed up and made a run for it, jumped and missed again. She laughed at me.
Yeah. I didn’t like being laughed at.
I backed up to the other end of the yard and made a mad dash toward the pole, flinging myself into the air. My fingers felt the glorious cold metal under them for about two seconds before they slipped off and I landed at the bottom of the pole, my left arm bent into an indescribable shape that I looked at in awe for a minute until the pain started. (But I got a pretty cool cast out of that deal.)
And so it went.
As an adult, I wasn’t much smarter. I don’t know what I had against asking for help, I really don’t. At the grocery store, every single thing on my list was always on the top shelf (you think this is hyperbole, I know, but I swear it’s true). I would wait until I had the whole aisle to myself and then climb precariously onto the bottom shelf to reach what I wanted rather than just ask the man (or, more often and more humiliatingly, the woman) who had just been there two seconds earlier to reach it for me.
Until the day a whole pile of cans came crashing down onto the floor and into my cart and almost hit my two-year-old in the head. After that I humbled myself a little. At least when I had the kids with me.
The point of all this is that I always reached for what I wanted, even sometimes to my detriment. I never let anything stop me. I was determined (also prideful, but I like “determined” better). I didn’t let things, even things that were out of my control like my height, get in my way. When my kids were growing up, I used to tell them all the time, “You only fail if you don’t try.” I could always count on an eye-roll with that one.
I’m sitting here right now having almost fulfilled a lifelong dream. I’ve written a novel. I’ve had it edited. I only have to do revisions and then pitch it and see what happens. I just need to reach for the next level – publication.
And I’ve been sitting in this same position for almost a year. Inert. Hands in my pockets. Revisions dancing in my head but not out my fingers. I’m not running and jumping; I’m not climbing on the bottom shelf. I’m not reaching for what I want.
Because what if I fall? What if everything comes crashing down around me?
What if nobody wants to publish it?
But wait a minute. I’m still me. I’m still the short little girl who never said no to a dare. If nobody wants to publish it, isn’t that their loss?
Isn’t the winning in the reaching?