I have been practicing my handstands lately, anytime I can spare a moment or two. Get up from my desk, do a handstand. Put my dishes away, do a handstand. Stiff from sitting or sore from standing, do a handstand.
I have a perfect patch of wall in my hallway for it too, a section that opens onto a doorway to my living room, meaning there is plenty of space for me to fall out ungracefully. But lately, that hasn’t been happening. As I kick up (still no press up yet), I am closer and closer to finding that perfect point of balance, where my hands become feet and my entire world is turned upside down, and in its own backwards, beautiful way, there is complete logic to seeing things from this perspective.
What I have noticed is that when I am not against my wall, or any wall in general, my handstands are tentative. I still have fear of flipping over and going too far, of being out of control and without a safety net. I almost never find the balance away from my patch of plaster. Even though my toes may just barely graze the surface, the safety and comfort of knowing I have support, should I need it, changes everything about my confidence and my psyche.
It occurs to me that we often seek that same wall in one another as humans. That a sense of security and steadfastness can give us the courage and determination to risk, to dare, to dream. Our faith in the constancy of the wall means allows us to have faith in ourselves. Likewise, when we cannot be sure of one another, when our support seems flimsy, or could give way in any moment, our inability to rely on others translates to an inability to believe in ourselves.
What a curse, I think, to give up any part of myself to that which lies beyond my control. What a curse, to leap and not be sure whether I will be caught if I fall. Maybe one day I will be lucky enough to wake up and no longer need other people at all, to find perfect balance within my own heart. As my Spanish teacher in high school used to say, “one day that is not today.”
Yet what a gift, I think, to know that I have the ability to be that wall for others. That I am strong enough to hold up another human spirit, or a hundred spirits, when their own strength begins to crumble. What a gift, to know that I am needed and be able to respond “I am here.”