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I used to be a gymnast. And a ballerina, but I mostly identify with “gymnast”. I took three years of ballet and gymnastics, alternating between the two practices, when I was younger. I’m a fan of perfection (insert accurate stereotypes of Virgos here). Gymnastics was the closest practice of perfection I ever came to.

There is such an inherent purpose in everything you do in gymnastics. Point the toe. Turn quickly, not too quickly that you lose your balance, but quick enough to keep your movement precise. Head up. Don’t fucking look down. Do your somersault, come up straight into a cartwheel, collapse into a somersault.

Fucking somersaults, the bane of my existence, my first realization that I am not perfect. I’m different. Normally, when you do a ‘sault, you’re really just rolling into a ball, tucking your head to your naval. My scoliosis just wouldn’t let that fly. Instead, I started off perfect, then toppled over to the right, never able to complete the motion. I always had to do it over and over again, forcing my spine to go straight.

Things I remember—how good it felt to twirl in circles on the balance beam, knowing I wouldn’t fall because my feet were planted, toes pointed, head up. The way the grass scratched my face for the umpteenth while I practiced my somersaults at home.

Constantly working on perfection.

Created: Mar 14, 2012

Tags: personal experience, childhood memory

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