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Archive for January, 2009

In my hometown there is a park up on the Hill that I loved taking my daughters to.  There wasn’t much there.  Just a small jungle gym and a row of swings.  The best part was that on that hill you could look out over Bowling Green and see what seemed like the entire town.  There was nothing but miles and miles of tiny little buildings, trees, streets, and cars.  From up there everything seemed so miniscule which seemed to make time stand still and it was brilliant. 

In those moments it was just me and my girls at the top of the world where the breeze swept in so perfectly from the shade of the row of old trees that lined the back of that park.  I remember it being one of my most favorite moments in time swinging up there.  I would look down as my feet moved before me, sweeping through a back drop of black mulch, green grass, and into the sky high above the town below.  As I would reach my high point and start gliding back down, the movement, coupled with the scenery below, would make me lightheaded.  I would suddenly feel my heart skip a beat and my entire body would tingle.  I always imagined that if I could fly this is how it would feel:  magnificent, weightless, and powerful.

From as early as I can remember swinging has always been one of my most favorite things.  Even now at thirty years old it is not uncommon for me to find my way to them when my girls are safely in sight and the park is empty.  I don’t know what it is about them.  Maybe it’s that feeling of moving so freely through the air, becoming momentarily lightheaded as I soar back down.  It could also be that it reminds me of the myth that used to circle around my elementary school playground that has always intrigued me even to this day. 

The story goes that if you swung high enough to flip over the bar you would turn inside out.  I imagine now that this was a gruesome hokes meant to scare the younger kids into thinking that their skin could actually flip inside out, thus bringing forth all of their internal organs.  I thought of it differently though.  To me turning inside out was something that didn’t resemble a scene from a cheap horror film, but it had much more to do with bringing forth an internal self that I kept hidden from the world around me.  Out of fear and intimidation I had learned to build a wall of steel that displayed a persona that so drastically differentiated from who I really was.  If only I could get over that bar I was sure my sense of vulnerability would vanish and I would no longer feel like a hard to disguise giant trying to blend in with a scenery that clashed so horribly around me.  Instead, the energy that churned the thoughts and emotions within me would suddenly come forth and radiate in comfort, confidence, and laughter.  I would be open, sociable, and full of life.  Most importantly, I would be happy. 

For years no matter how hard I tried I could never physically get over that bar.  Little did I know then that I would be well into my twenties before I could perform such a dramatic, life-changing trick.  Of course, when it did happen it didn’t involve swings and magic tricks.  It was gradual and took a hell of a lot longer than it would have taken to flip over that bar. 

I remember the exact moment that I flipped inside out like it was yesterday.  When it finally happened it seemed like it was by force.  Although it eventually became a necessity, it wasn’t initially by a dose strong will and determination that got me there.  In that moment it was a strong dose of desperation to get it right for the sake of her that finally brought my feet up over my head, flipped me upside down, and sent me sailing back down the opposite side of that bar. 

I was sitting on the table with my shirt pulled up.  A glob of cold clear goo was smeared over the globe of my belly and the technician moved her wand around, pushing down to peer deep into my womb.  She looks at Jackson and I and says with a smile,  “It’s a girl!”

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