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She Jumps, and Has Her Reasons

Every night for several years, you’ve hopped onto a trampoline. You’ve jumped and jumped until your heart raced, your body felt weak, and you were exhausted. It’s this ritual, you believe, that allows you to sleep, and you have slept so brilliantly during these years that closing your eyes has become, in itself, a thing of beauty. You feel healed by sleep, both released and energized by the time morning comes.

Now, though, you’ve developed small fractures in both feet. Your knees are unsteady. Your legs shake in waking hours, as overly strained muscles begin to separate from bone. Still you jump, only more slowly, and more aware of the damage being done. You begin to question your methods, and momentarily consider other alternatives, but nothing feels as perfect or reliable as the thing you are most familiar with. Ultimately, you jump so that you can get there – to the place you love – the place that makes you feel wholly alive and beautifully human.

One evening, your trampoline disappears. It is gone, and you cannot afford to replace it. Your body, despite its accumulation of damages, aches for nothing more than the nightly ritual of jump-bounce-twist-turn. Your legs feel as if they’ve taken on a restless, unhappy life of their own. They moan and twitch and rebel beneath you. Your heart, used to taking a nightly pounding, feels eerily still.

You do not sleep.
You begin to dream of horrible things while you are painfully awake.
Your body, you feel, has betrayed you.
You fear you will never sleep again.

You pace the floors, and so much comes to the surface in the dark of night. Bitterness, sadness, fear, anger, apathy. Your mind, overly-full and anxious, turns dark and despairing. In losing the trampoline, everything else you once loved also feels lost to you. You begin to associate your jumping with all the wonderful things you fear are lost forever, creating a black and white list of reasons you must, absolutely must, have your trampoline back. Without it;

you will never sleep again.
You will never again feel right, or whole, or rested.
Unrested, you will never be happy.
Unhappy, there is no reason to live.

The thought of getting back on your trampoline begins to consume you. It’s only the thought of jumping again that brings you close to feeling any sort of happiness. Small fractures and torn ligaments become, in your mind, a smaller and smaller price to pay, and even somewhat meaningless in your list of self-justified consequences.

You need the trampoline.
Your body demands it.
You, or some very important, alive, or sacred part of you, will die without it.
You’re are in more pain when you don’t jump than when you do.

The trampoline becomes everything, and until you have it again, little else seems to matter. You need to tie off the vein, light the pipe, snort the coke, take another pill, binge until you puke, starve yourself into a silhouette, gamble until it’s all gone, sleep with another stranger, drink yourself into oblivion — because nothing else, you are convinced — will ever make you feel as good or as much like your truest self.

21 comments to She Jumps, and Has Her Reasons

  • Doris Rose MacBean

    whoa! that’s an ice cold shower, but an incredible insight into a very dark place.

  • Neil

    I wish you hadn’t written “an addiction, not my own,” at least until the end. Wow.

    For you, Neil, I removed that. Your suggestion is appreciated. Thanks. - Jane

  • Leesa

    I have no words but Wow.

  • Jenny, Bloggess

    I feel this post.

  • Alison

    I read this on Neil’s recommendation. And like him and the others, I can only say “Wow.” Brava.

  • Donna L. Faber

    Yes, very cool stuff … metaphorically speaking, I bet more people have trampolines than they care to admit.


  • Christine

    I, too, am here on Neil’s suggestions.

    Most ironically, we literally sold our trampoline yesterday; we are moving and it won’t fit into our new backyard (happily, too full of pool). I can honestly appreciate the actual loss of a trampoline.

    That being said, I understand all too well what else you mean. I’ve dealt with other (metaphorical) tramps.

    Lovely post. So glad I found you.

  • Gia

    I still struggle with this daily….you said beautifully what I haven’t yet found the words to say….as usual….

  • John R

    I am so glad you have decided to put your heart on your sleeve and share some of your writing. I just read the last two entries and … well, frankly … I am blown away. You are a perfect purple onion … each post reveals another layer of you (and sometimes makes me cry). You have such talent Jane … thanks for sharing it!

  • All Adither

    How perceptive you are.

  • kris_D


    “And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” -Anais Nin

    keep it comin’ cause i’m pickin up what cha puttin’ down, sistah (and yes. that makes you aunt jane to my boys)

  • Ann

    You peaked into my heart and found words to describe my struggle. I suppose that everyone’s trampoline is different from another…but you touched something deep for me.
    Thanks for sharing. Both of you posts today have been like that. I find myself compelled to go back and go back again.

    I truly thank you for this gift.

  • Currently Facing South

    A fantastic, and all too real, piece you’ve written here. It’s a bit scary to read when you feel it’s like looking into a mirror.

  • John R

    hey Jane …

    had to re-read your entries again this morning … I didn’t want to miss a thing. You are totally talking turkey with the trampoline. What insight into the human condition! It seems we all have an addiction that embarrasses us, defines us, thrills us …

    but I really LOVED The Proposal …

    “All those years when passion was kept in tight coils and stored away for some future days of freedom, had this effect; my love is a renewing thing that knows no end. It is not fickle, or conditional, or wary. Once given, it is given forever, no matter how great the distance, how few the words, or how lost the original reason. For this love, and out of love for you, I will stand my ground, as close or as far away as desired, and guard the gates. ”


  • V-Grrrl

    nothing feels as perfect or reliable as the things you’re already familiar with.

    oh yes, this is what keeps me stretching out of my comfort zone–my desire to make that “zone” ever wider and deeper so I can always find it, so I have multiple paths to my truest self.

    once again, your words take people to a place they know but haven’t seen clearly until you described it.

  • LBJ

    Jane, these last two stories of yours are so powerful. I know you’ve said there’s other issues with publishing your creative stuff here, but I wish you’d find a way around, at least more often. Not that your regular posts aren’t good, because they are, but reading stories like these are rare treats.

    My jump is over cigarettes, which I quit, started, quit, started, quit……..and then my mother died and I felt like I needed them. I also don’t feel ready to quit yet, but I will one day soon. You didn’t list that addiction, but it’s a strong one, too, you know? You still smoke, right?

    I’m printing these stories out so I can read them, like I read Elephant Girls and the Venus Women stories, over and over again.

  • kris_D

    smoking is bad, m’kay…..

  • Kate McLaughlin

    Bulb light.

  • Jenny, bloggess

    Featured on Good Mom/Bad Mom on the Houston Chronicle:

  • Kaza

    Visiting from BS Sunday on the Chronicle. Magnificent post.