Adult somersault: 1. An acrobatic movement in which the legs are flipped over the head as one rolls forward on the ground. 2. Something that should never be attempted.
I can’t remember what TV show I was watching (Toddlers and Tiaras? What Not to Wear? Auction Hunters?), but I got it into my head that a handstand didn’t look all that difficult, despite the fact that I’ve never in my life been able to do one, except under water. After a pathetic attempt, I then decided to do a cartwheel. I couldn’t do that either.
Well, I thought, I know I can at least do a somersault. So I crouched down on my hands and knees, placed my head on the ground, and panicked.
I tried rolling just an inch or two on my head, and my neck hurt. I tried starting with my head almost flipped around so I wouldn’t have too far to go. I tried starting in a yoga tripod position (which I can’t really do, either). I couldn’t do it. Every time the crucial moment–when I had to flip my legs over–came, I started thinking about how this seemed really dangerous and my legs were a lot longer than they had been when I used to do somersaults. Couldn’t I really injure my neck, head, or legs, depending on how they flailed and where they landed? Did I want to end up in the ER simply because I was trying to do a trick not meant for adults? What was I trying to prove, anyway? There are some things that are only suitable for children, and that’s okay.
So I gave up. But it kept nagging at me. Seriously, I couldn’t even do a somersault?
Determined not to give in, 20 minutes later I put my palms on the floor and willed myself to flip over.
It wasn’t pretty. It may not even have been recognizable as a somersault to anyone who didn’t know that’s what I was doing. But I did it, and I didn’t end up in the ER, and I proved that I wasn’t too weak/scared/old to do it.
I did wake up with some neck pain today, but who can say for sure that’s attributable to the somersault?