THE GYMNAST I WAS
- •Had terrible mental game coupled with an insatiable love of the sport.Practice perfectly, perform like I've never seen a balance beam before in my life.
- •Fell the most.Every single competition. One time my coaches bartered with the judges over a certain score of mine just so I could qualify to the sectionals meet.
- •Never made it to the top of the podium.Or anywhere near it.
- •Became so afraid of certain skills I broke rules to avoid them.Fractured both big toes landing a handspring front tuck on floor, so I competed a pass that didn't fulfill the requirement. Terrified of doing a flyaway out of a giant, so I put in a tap swing because I decided I should. Avoiding doing backwards tumbling for almost six months, so I found artful ways to hide this from my coaches: fake injuries, frequent bathroom breaks, general wandering.
- •Surprised everyone when I conquered skills they saw as insurmountable.Spent one summer hustling every day to get my back handspring on high beam. It was truly the impossible made possible.
- •Didn't see failure as a stopping point.Try. Try again. Try harder. Try differently.
- •Lives inside me forever.Ambitious and unstoppable. Physically capable. Mentally tough. A little girl who never saw an obstacle she couldn't rework to overcome, even if it meant bending the rules until they looked like a rhythmic gymnast stretching. She reminds me to keep going in all I pursue, not because I'm the best, but because I love what I do. And even when I'm tired, or defeated, I wake up and try again. For her. For me. For passion that doesn't need tangible success to thrive. The victory is in the doing.