I haven’t jumped on a box since I managed to scrape and bruise the heck out of my shin back at the end of December. There’s actually still a bruise on it, a faded but persistent reminder of what happens when you try something that your body is too fatigued to accomplish. At least, that’s how I like to think of what happened. I mean, I managed 20 jumps, and then I couldn’t manage just that 1. I missed just once, and it kept me from jumping again.

I knew I had the height, because I’d already done it. I knew I could do it, but every time after that fall that I tried again, the nerves would defeat me. My heart would race and my stomach would clench and my muscles would tense and I could not make myself jump onto the box. I could jump next to it, or in front of it, but not onto it. My body refused.

This week, the rec center rolled out some new equipment for the weight room. And the upstairs apparatus that my husband and I usually use was partially broken. So we went downstairs, where the beefy guys hang out and do their beefy guy lifting. We usually didn’t lift weights downstairs because we (okay, I) were intimidated by the beefers. But today we braved it, and it wasn’t too crowded, being the Saturday morning of a three day weekend.

And it was okay. The new equipment was smooth and shiny and there were all sorts of new options. Kettle bells were available and a v-bar and medicine balls and these funny little movable platforms that we finally realized were for jumping. They hooked into the large cable cross type machine at a variety of heights, and one of them seemed to me to be about the height of the boxes at my crossfit place.

So I tried to jump on it.

And I couldn’t.

I couldn’t make myself jump on it. But aside from not being a wooden box, this black, grip-surfaced platform had another advantage for me. It was reflected in a mirror. I faced the mirror and stood well back from the platform and when I jumped, I could see that my feet had clearance. I could see that I could indeed jump that high.

So I stepped closer. And I couldn’t jump. Each attempt was aborted before it began, cancelled out by the fear – the fear of what? I asked myself. What’s the worst that could happen? I bruise my shin again. I fall and embarrass myself in front of all the beefers. That’s not the end of the world.

In between sets of weight-lifting, I continued to try. I did step ups to accustom myself to the height. I did jumps at the next lower level to accustom myself to the motion and landing on the platform. I did more mirror jumps to convince myself that I had the height.

When my husband was done with his workout, I did my last tries as he waited and watched and tried to help. I was muttering to myself, “I have this. I know I have this. Just do it. Just jump. Just do it.”

I jumped and bounced my toes off the platform. There, body, that’s proof! You do have this!

I jumped again and again only caught the platform for a moment with my toes before jumping back down. My husband wanted to leave, but I knew I had it, and I knew that I had to do it again while I had my body convinced.

I jumped and landed on top of the platform, straightening and pushing my hips forward for a proper finish. Heart racing, back aching from tension and eyes stinging from the sweat dripping down my face, I still felt like embarrassing myself with a triumphant yell.

I settled for admiring myself in the mirror for a moment before heading on to the next phase of the workout.

I can jump past my fear. I knew I could, but now my body knows, too.

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