A Former Cheerleader's Guide to Fear, Falling & Flying

When I was 15, I made the cheerleading squad (probably one of my dad's worst nightmares, but he survived). On stunt-training day during the summer clinic, I was assigned the flyer spot in my group. You know, the girl that four other chics lift and throw around in the air. Seems like a sweet gig right? I was thinking, I get to be the star. I won't have anyone falling on me, or be responsible for lifting anything. I'll get to be supported.

FALL 2005

FALL 2005

Long story short, I got fired and became a back spot. See, what I learned about flying is that four girls can't lift another girl, no matter her height or weight, unless she believes beyond doubt that they can. A flyer has to trust her base so completely, that she'll push with her full strength against them, hoist her own weight on their shoulders, stand in their hands, and squeeze every muscle till she's stiff as a board to stick that pose at the top. That means, if she falls, it will be hard. Really hard. I was scared. Too scared to be supported. And got put in the back. 

I see now, I fell time after time because people can't support us if we don't trust them to hold us. If I want to achieve something greater than anything I can do on my own, I have to trust people with my full strength, knowing it will hurt way worse if we fail, and believing with my whole heart that we won't.

In the past few days, I've been invited to a launch team for someone who believes in herself, her support team, and what we will do together. Because of this, she is so easy to admire and lift up. It's got me thinking about my support team. I have to ask myself, am I making it easy for Mitch to support me? What about his mom? What about Cord? Do I show them that I trust them? Do I put my full faith in them and release control? Have I earned their support through my own commitment to my part? How can anyone help me chase my values and dreams, unless I believe beyond doubt that we're going to reach them?

It feels safer for me to support than to be supported. That fear that I'm going to fall, keeps me from putting myself in other people's hands. I loved being a back spot and I loved being a base. It's rewarding and exciting to support others as they fly. But I think sometimes I want to get in the air too, and actually stick it. I know I can't do it alone, and I don't want to. So, I'm going to strengthen my belief in people. I'm going to work on trust, instead of trying to control everything on my own. I'm going to let it go. I mean, that's how the Disney song goes right? If little girls can learn that lesson from Princess Elsa, then this big girl can too. 

I'm going to throw myself all-in with those who want to support me, just like I love supporting them, and together we're going to fly.