Monkey Bars

Taylor - Tiffin, Ohio
Entered on January 4, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
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“You just have to let go.” My father’s words stung my six year old brain like salt water in an open wound. Let go. His voice echoed in my head as I stubbornly gripped the monkey bars. My knuckles were white and my face was a light shade of pink fading slowly into red. “Daddy, I can’t.” I can remember answering. “Taylor”, he responded. His voice was gentle but his words were firm, “You can do this. And if you fall I promise to catch you.” Despite his persistence, I refused to let go of the bar. It was everything I knew, it was my comfort zone.

My eyes slowly steered towards the gravel below. The thought of falling to the ground provided me with shallow insecurity and it seemed so far. Of course I didn’t know it then, but I was holding on to much more than just a playground monkey bar. Somewhere in my Dad’s eyes he knew exactly what I was doing. I was holding on to the past. I was holding on to everything I once knew. Holding on to making “mud sandwiches”, to not having to pay the consequence for bad decisions I was bound to make, to every pet that just happened to vanish, to my childhood innocence that seemed to lessen as I grew, to not having to be the responsible one, to the carefree attitude that every child has, to a loved one who had so recently passed away.

I could feel my fingers loosen a little and my small body trembled with every speculation of fear inside of me. Everything going through my mind at that very moment was understood. I didn’t want to let go of my well-being, I simply wanted to stay where I was at. As long as that wasn’t hitting the ground, being scared and barely holding on was alright with me. “Taylor, you cannot stay like this forever.”-My heart sunk at the truthfulness of my father’s words. And my understanding of them alarmed me. My face suddenly turned hot and tears made small rivulets down my burning cheeks. I let go.

It’s hard to be content with the present when so much pain is stabbing you from the past.

I believe that bad things sometimes happen to good people. I believe that life is not always fair. And while enduring this, I believe in moving on: letting the past stay the past, embracing the present, and looking forward to the future. I believe that you just have to let go.