Just Hold On

Davita - Santa Monica, California
Entered on June 19, 2007

I believe in always holding on tight with two hands.

As a young kid, I loved to swing. The jungle gym wasn’t about metal monkey bars that blistered my hands, not about plastic slides that made my underwear sparkle with static electricity, not even about the burning sand my toes could burrow into to find the layer of refreshing cool sand underneath. It was about the swings. I could never resist soaring high, the wind blowing my hair every which way, and my bare legs pushing the swing’s hinges to its limits. It was always about holding on to the ropes tightly, soaring far and high.

One summer I visited my grandparents in Ohio. Now, I’ve never been a big fan of the mid-west, but there was one thing they had there that I didn’t in sunny, southern California—a personal swing.

Every day that summer I would wake up, eat breakfast and prepare my butt muscles to swing, not returning back in from the mosquito infested outside until the sun was long gone, and the smell of dinner steamed on the table calling me in.

Toes pumping, body flying, and hair blowing into my laughing mouth. One day I let go with one hand to reach up to pull tangled hair out of my mouth, just as I was soaring high. I swung back down, yet nothing was under me. I crashed back to the ground, and landed on a funny, twisted arm. I had let go.

I sat in bed and didn’t swing for that whole day, and for the rest of the week–not because I was recovering and wasn’t able to, but because I was afraid.

I did not simply let go of a swing, but had released my courage and determination as well. If I could not overcome a fear from this minor accident, how could I overcome greater difficulties in the future?

By our last day there, however, I re-gathered my strength, deciding I had to get back on. I did overcome my fear. I stomped down the porch, across the grass and straight toward my expectant friend. I took a breath and hopped onto it, and just sat. I slowly pumped my toes, and rocked the swing just a little, then a bit more, then a lot more. Soon I was flying toward the warm sun, and gliding back down, happy in my triumph.

Now, ten years later I believe in always holding on tight with both hands. My strength in life comes from my determination, and I am determined to hold on tight.

Swinging is like a horse—once you get off you walk kinda funny, and once you fall off you must get back on. I always hold onto my dreams, even if they’re intimidating. It’s even scarier to fall from them and not be able to recover them, watching them fly forever away. Always hold on, and don’t be afraid to get back on, to try, and try again.