Being a tightrope-walker takes a lot of skill, balance, patience, and fearlessness.
You climb the ladder. With each step, the crowd cheers you on. You can do it! When you reach the top, you scan the crowd below. All those tiny, insignificant faces staring up at you in awe. It feels good to be at the top. All the hushed voices below, waiting for you to take a step onto the rope. Two arms out, to keep your balance, you step onto the platform. The next step you take is onto the rope. You tighten your core, close your eyes, and keep going. You pretend no one is watching you, but you can feel their eyes boring holes into the depths of your soul. With each step, you squeeze your feet tightly around the rope. Halfway across, you open your eyes. You lose your balance. Your right foot slips out from under you and before you fall, you try to grasp the rope with your hands. But, it’s no use. You can’t hang on. You hear the crowd below gasping. They’re waiting to see if you’ll have the strength to pull yourself up. You do not. You decide that letting go beats ripping your hands to shreds. So, you freefall. The net below envelopes you like the sweet, secure arms of a new mother. You didn’t make it across the rope that time, but you’ll get up and do it all again as the crowd cheers you on.
Being a tightrope-walker is like being a habitual dieter.
Everyone is watching you. They stare in amazement and they cheer you on; but deep down inside, they’re just waiting for you to fail. They don’t want you to succeed because it’s more fun to watch you fall. Will the net below be able to hold your weight? No worries, tightrope dieter! Slip off the narrow course before you, and you crash land into a safety net full of warm bread, pasta, and ice cream. All the gawkers pat themselves on the back because they knew your mission was impossible. They were right all along. You don’t have what it takes. So, you muddle around through the net, lapping up all the deliciousness while you try to make sense of your life choices. Soon, you forget how hard it was to walk that rope, so you work your way back to the ladder that leads you up to the diet platform; where you repeat the process through infinity.
Being a tightrope-walker is like being a pregnant woman.
Everyone is watching you. They stare in amazement and they cheer you on; but deep down inside, they’re just waiting for you to fail. They watch your stomach expand, wondering if you’re eating responsibly. Are you drinking alcohol? Was that a tuna sushi roll you’re shoving into your mouth thinking no one noticed? Who cares. You keep going, step by step across the rope. Your plan for a natural childbirth is intricately laid out before you. You’re almost there. But, that’s when the pains of labor begin. Your insides are on fire; your baby has razor claws for arms and a bowling ball head… tearing you up while pressing hard against your will to live. The pain is so excruciating that you begin to slip off the rope. All eyes on you. You close your eyes and decide falling is a better fate than the agony coursing through you to the core. You take the shot. You fall off the tightrope and into the blissful, ecstasy of the safety net that is an epidural - numbness from the waist down. With baby in tow, you stumble out of the safety net. In time, you forget the pain and are ready to do it all over again.
Being a tightrope-walker is like being a woman in business.
Everyone is watching you. They stare in amazement and they cheer you on; but deep down inside, they're just waiting for you to fail.You climb the ladder... higher and higher until you reach the top. Now, the only thing to do to get your dream job, is to walk the interview tightrope. Hooray! Look at her go! They all exclaim. With arms outstretched, you soak in all mentoring thrown your way. You take step after step, doing all the things the crowd below is telling you to do. Headstrong and full of excitement, you let your integrity lead the way. You've worked all your life to get to this point. Unlike other tightropes you've encountered, on this tightrope you don't slip. But, this tightrope is rigged. A strong hand pushes you off and you fall, further and further until you land in a deep pool of the blood of many women before you. You are not alone. A few of them lift you up and carry you to shore where you crawl on wounded knees and aching heart... back to the ladder. You put your tired hands on the bottom rung and start climbing again.