It’s normal to not know what the heck you’re doing sometimes. It’s insanely scary, but it’s normal I suppose. And that’s where I’m at right about now.
I was just casually walking downstairs, minding my own business and what not, when I was brutally assaulted by the miracle of life via Animal Planet… awesome. Practically overtaken by shock I watched a poor baby giraffe plummet from the heavens into life. I feel like it’s common knowledge that a giraffe free falls right out of the womb, but seeing it happen is a whole other animal. Post-shock I immediately erupted into laughter at my initial reaction. Why is it that even when we know facts and figures, their physical manifestations never fail to surprise us? Why was I terrified for that baby giraffe when I knew what was happening was completely normal and, in fact, the most beneficial thing that had happened to the creature thus far in its life? People always say that taking a leap of faith is hard but worth it in the end. I wonder if those people think it would be easier to jump when armed with the knowledge of what one would be getting his/herself into. After my experience, I believe the answer might still be no.
Completely aware of the fact that the baby would be perfectly fine, I fretted over its safety. Normalcy and understanding did nothing to curb my gut reaction… fear. Falling never gets easier, that I am confident of. No amount of preparation can prevent the sensation of helplessness and disorientation (or sometimes a painfully clear orientation as you near the ground) that one feels when their foundation is rocked. Not to mention the fact that your crash landing is only immediately followed by the struggle to stand. If our tenacious little friend isn’t proof enough that the climb will indefinitely be long, difficult, and unsteady I don’t know what is. Rebuilding, moving on and up, is tough and honestly kind of awkward, but it’s so incredibly worth it for that moment of triumph when you’re able to stand on your own two, or four, feet again.
The more I look at my life the more I realize that I am pretty much the human equivalent of a baby giraffe. If I know where I’m going to land I’m afraid of the fall or how much it will hurt to hit the ground; if I don’t know where I’ll end up I’m afraid of the unknown. Either way falling, in all its symbolic and literal senses, produces the same initial reaction of gut-wrenching fear. Unfortunately, there is no way to avoid failure, hurt, disappointment, and all the other lovely realities associated with “falling,” but I can choose to see the fall differently. A rebirth, rather. Live, learn, and emerge a new creature. It’s not about the fall, but rather the way one choses to get up and move on. Sometimes I envy how driven by instinct animals are. There is no self-pity, no embarrassment, no regret plaguing them, bidding them to stay in the dirt. They do the most natural thing in the world, get up. Yet to us humans it seems to perverse. When did self-loathing and despondency become instinct?
Ridiculous as it may sound, I think we can learn a lot from our little friend the baby giraffe. Whether you’re taking a leap or being pushed down the rabbit hole, it’s not about where you are…it’s about what you do where you’ve landed. Get up.
So here I go. Wish me luck.