August 29, 2014
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When I was around 6 months old, my mom took me for swim lessons at our local Salvation Army. She said the mothers got into the pool and the instructors tossed the babies in towards the mothers. The theory was that we had just come from a watery environment and we should remember how to move through liquid. Well I guess I remembered because she said I popped back up and made it to her outstretched hands. I’ve been swimming since then. I had a refresher course at around 7 years old to try to get me coordinated. See although I can swim, I can only use one part of my body at a time. If I’m kicking then I can’t stroke and if I’m using a stroke my legs just trail behind me. I’m not sure why; I personally attribute it to the being born with a mild form of Spina Bifida. (My core muscles aren’t as strong as I would like them to be.) Even with that lack of coordination and cooperation of my muscles, I’m a decent swimmer. I won’t be winning any medals but I can glide through water pretty easily.
As you can see, I learned early that life was about leaping in to see if you sink or swim. Lately I’ve been feeling like I’m sinking but there are no outstretched hands to rescue me. I feel like I’m in open water trying to stay out of a hellacious undertow. I see all of the dark swirling beneath me and all I can do is tread water. For me the hardest part is realizing that, although I’m a shoulder for the folks in my life, I have absolutely no one that I feel comfortable enough to ask for a life jacket… Not even my husband of 20 years. I wish I could cry out for help but it seems that always leads to confusion and hurt feelings. I can’t even just have the breakdown that is hovering over my head because I have children to care for. I’m so tired of treading the surface. I really just want to stop and sink. I long for the dark oblivion. Maybe then I could release this pain in my soul. But I can’t. I have to keep churning this water for a little longer. I have to make sure that my children know how to swim better than I do. So every now and then I’ll let them get out into deep water before I stretch my hands out. I mean they have to learn that in this life it’s either sink or swim and there won’t always be a pair of outstretched hands.
July 10, 2014
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When I was a kid my goal was to be a microbiologist and the mother of 15. I got sidetracked and it didn’t work out that way. For years I felt worthless because my life leapt off that track like engine number 9. I saw my peers fulfilling all of their dreams. Later when I went back to college, I figured I would try an easier path and double major in psychology and social work but my heart wasn’t in it. So I was no happier than when I was feeling like a failure. Fast forward until today, I still have fears and sometimes they stop me in my tracks. But I no longer beat myself up for it. I acknowledge my BS and work through it. I practice giving myself the same support that I give to others. I remind myself that I don’t have to be perfect to be valuable, I just have to be authentic. I don’t have to be brave, I just have to keep going. Sometimes, it is not that easy but no one else can walk for me so I have no choice. (Well, I guess I do but I can’t see me just giving up the ghost like that.) I say all of this to say, even if it’s not the life you envisioned it is LIFE. Live it!