Posted by: LLS | August 4, 2012

Just When You Thought It Was Safe To Return To The Water

So my best friend is in Florida this weekend, without me this time, I know horrible right? She is visiting with family in a town where she lived as a child. She sent me a message before boarding her plane and we chatted a bit. She informed me this town is known to have one of the highest shark attack rates in the country, the world maybe. I can’t remember, I heard shark attack and my brain froze. The next day, knowing my friend as I do, I knew she would be at the beach. So I sent her a text message telling her not to get eaten by a shark, because I didn’t know what I would do without her. She laughed, hahaha. I was serious. The whole thing got me thinking how we are here one minute and gone the next, kinda like Quiz Guy (see my previous post Goldilocks). Me being me, I got on the memory train and couldn’t get off.

I remembered as a very young child seeing the movie Jaws. I was so young I left that movie in fear for my life. I believed at any given moment a shark could bust through a wall or come up through the floor and eat me, no water needed. I was terrified if I got in or even near water, pool, lake, or otherwise I would be lucky to live. And if I did survive it would most likely be without legs. I stayed clear of pools all summer, dreaded baths and switched to showers. When my family vacationed at the beach, I didn’t get closer than 50 feet from the water’s edge in case a shark rolled up in a wave.  It was pretty pathetic. My mother and brothers thought I had gone insane because I had always been a water freak, saying things like, ” I will be a mermaid when I grow up”. I was serious. I absolutely loved the water. Not so much, after Jaws. I still pretended to be a mermaid, now a land locked mermaid. So here I was, reliving my little childhood memory and I started thinking…

We go through our lives living day-to-day in search of something. We wake, go to work, come home, feed our families and take for granted (for the most part), everything will remain the same. And for most of us, it does on the surface. But under the surface of the deep dark water are our fears. They are right there holding hands with our hopes and dreams. They bob their heads from time to time above the surface but we, our human selves, remain safe in the lifeboat afraid to dive in and grab hold of them. We don’t want to rescue Fear because we don’t want to share our lifeboat with her, she’s a jerk. We ignore Hope because she is small and whiny. We think about saving Dream because she’s pretty cool,  but we might have to commit to nurturing her and that seems like more effort than it’s worth. So we drift alone, searching, praying somebody throws us a rope and maybe “they” can rescue the others, secretly hoping it’s too late for Fear (poor thing).

But what if we want more? I’m tired of drifting. Tired of waiting for a rope. This lifeboat is held up by stale air and spins with no direction and right now my oar is visiting family in Florida. I am at a crossroads and I am seasick. Part of me is terrified to swim lest I be eaten by a shark and part of me says bring it on Bad Boy. I’m surely not the type of person to let anyone drown, even if it means I may fall into peril. But I sit, waiting for an answer, a beacon, a guide, the “they” I spoke of to come along and save me. But the sea is vast and I have to rely on my own wits, and I have never been Snow Freaking White or Cinder-f-in-rella. I wouldn’t have taken the apple from the homeless lady. If I was running to beat a clock and my glass slipper fell off, I’d kick off the other one and keep on going. I’d certainly not try to run in one shoe, heels suck enough anyway and that’s just stupid. But then again, I would have never been at the ball in the first place, pretending to be someone I’m not. I guess that’s why I always loved The Little Mermaid (Hans Christian Andersen Version). She killed herself, left the prince to his new wife and became a Daughter of the Air. Off subject, I know.

I guess it all comes down to courage. I made a conscious decision a long while ago that I had to find the courage to dive in, sharks and all. I’ve  jumped, believe me I have. Some days are easier than others but,  I’m in. I feel the delicious water and the freedom of this and any of the millions of moments I have yet to live. I don’t have to swim. I don’t have to save anyone. I can just lay back and float. Thrashing around only attracts the worst. I relax and breathe, the sun is warm on my face and I know there is land out there somewhere. Life doesn’t have to be a struggle, we make it that way. I absolutely love the water. Even tattooed a mermaid on my ankle to remind me how much I love the ocean. It may be scary at times and there may be sharks, but my love for the experience outweighs all the little pesky things that live in the sea of life.  It’s safe. I promise. Come on in! The water is just fine :)

Photo Credits

dark water


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