Twenty Inches

Twenty Inches October 20, 2014

Twenty inches isn’t all that high. It’s less than two feet. My daughter was 20 and ½ inches long when she was born. But when you are staring at a black box twenty inches high and you’re supposed to jump on top of it and land on your feet and you’ve never done anything like that in your entire life, it feels impossible.

It feels like if you were actually able to get on top of the box, you would immediately fall backwards, crack your head, become a spectacle.

I will never forget the triumph I felt when I jumped onto the 20 inch box at my gym for the first time. I was so afraid of falling that I asked another woman to stand behind me. I didn’t need her. My arms went back behind me, my legs bent strong, and I was up! I stood tall on that box and felt like I could do anything in the world.

That feeling came rushing back the other day when I watched another woman, new to the gym, conquer the box. She had been eyeing it during the whole class, doing her jumps on a lower step. I could tell she wanted to try the higher box but was afraid to do so, just as I had been. At the end of class, she practiced on the step one more time and then, determined, stood in front of the box. She took a deep breath. Her arms went back, her legs bent strong, and she was up! She threw her arms up in delight, let out a yell, and we all cheered.

We knew the feeling: fears faced, doubt banished, power coursing through a body we are learning to trust, to delight in, to love.

Twenty inches is higher than we think.

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