One of my favorite songs is Let Me Fall, from Cirque du Soleil. It’s sung by Josh Groban. The hunting melody and Groban’s resonant tenor voice is as delicious as the first bite of my dad’s Sunday morning, paper-thin, Swedish pancakes, drenched in real butter and New England maple syrup.
It’s the yearning in the song, the sweet ache of desire, that speaks to me through the words,
“Let me fall, Let me climb
There’s a moment when fear and dreams must collide.
Someone I am, is waiting for courage
The one I want, the one I will become will catch me
So Let me fall, If I must fall...”
I would love to have seen the Cirque du Soliel performance to this song. Was it a trapeze act? Imagine the flyer teetering some 50 feet up in the air on a tiny slat, she jumps to grasp the trapeze. She thrusts herself forward, then back, then forward again. Releasing her grip on the bar, she throws her legs over her head and tucks in, spinning - one, two, three summersaults. She reaches for the hands of the catcher, trusting that they will be exactly where they were at each practice.
The audience gasps.
Hands clasp wrists.
The audience goes wild, applauding and shouting!
Did you notice that I mentioned the practice? These acrobats didn’t start by doing this 50 feet in the air. However, I bet, for the flyer, that first time felt like they were way-the-heck up there.
That’s how I felt after leaving an abusive relationship. Living with domestic abuse doesn’t change the core of who you are, but it skews your view of who you are. The abuser tramples your self-esteem into the ground, then snuffs it out as if it were a cigarette butt. He (or she) teaches you that if you make a mistake, you will pay dearly. (And all the while, they keep changing the rules to ensure you make plenty of mistakes.) As a result, I’d freeze, paralyzed, when faced with a decision.
Let me just say, the beginning trapeze artist has a safety belt with ropes held tightly by guys with biceps the size of Texas. I too, had a support base that was my life line. But still, teetering on the brink of my new life, I had to find the courage to throw my arms wide and leap. I had to push through the fear to take that step.
There was plenty of faltering and falling on my journey. But, like the flyer, over time and with practice, I’ve learned to release the trapeze, spin in the air and reach out, clasping wrists with my catcher. Heart pounding, I look up to see that my catcher is me, the one I will become. Isn’t that the point? With each leap of faith, with each fall, we grow more into the one who we are meant to be.