Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Rock Bottom & Back Again

"This life is like a swimming pool. You dive into the water, but you can't see how deep it is" - Dennis Rodman

 J.K. Rowling

How much truth is Rodman’s quote cannot be measured, but dependence on one’s risks. Or perhaps no risks at all, but a forced-on experience brought on by others – or no one at all. What am I getting at? Life is deep, dark, unknown, and hard. Everyone’s experience is unique and no one knows why we  are “swimming” in this “pool of life”. ‘The Neighbourhood’ sings, “They teach me how to swim, then they throw me in the deep-end.”

When I was about five or six, I almost drowned to my death. [If I only known that 9 years down the road I would become a lifeguard!] I remember it clearly. I think most people who have near-death situations don’t ever forget the feeling. I could write detail after detail what I did and what I saw and what I heard, but I don’t think there’s ever words that could ever make you feel what I felt. Just like other people could never replicate their experience to me. It’s un-understandable. But I’ll try.

No one pushed me. No one told me to do what I did. I jumped myself.

In the deep waters, as if I understood how to swim despite my age, past experience(s), or knowledge. And I plummeted to the bottom. I remember the moment I felt the bottom on my little feet. It truly scared me just how deep down I was. The pressures from the water overwhelmed my senses and all the emotions that had build up while I was on my way down had completely disappeared. Gone. I felt nothing but yet, chaos was happening around me. I wouldn’t know until later, but the whole time this was happening my mother, especially, was screaming my name claiming I was dead – or about to be. I would try to jump up from the bottom to only reach the surface for points of a second, not enough time to expand a new set of lungs. I was not ready for the consequences. After repeating this for God only knows, I gave up. I became weak, my sense had gone to illusions and I seen nothing but deep, dark, blue water. And I was okay with it. I could no longer breath as I could feel water enter my body, taking over my actions. It felt completely natural so I just let it happen; too weak to fight back. I remember it clearly.

It was at that exact moment, I had felt something. It seemed like decades before I had any kind of senses so this actually felt painful. Someone was helping me, grabbing my shoulder pulling me up to the surface. I was so tired, so exhausted, I didn’t want to deal with any more pain so I resisted the tug of assistance. I also remember thinking that I didn’t want to face anyone – even at seven, I knew humiliation was awaiting me. I almost drowned. And I have the lifeguard to thank for saving me, even if I didn’t want it at the time. But I survived.

I guess, in a round about way, I have seen life like pool you’ve never been in before. An ocean. Where the depths are unknown. When ‘The Neighbourhood’ sings “they teach you how to swim, then they throw you in the deepend,” I interpret this as in our youth and ever as we grow older, we always are learning. We are constantly adapting to change, learning more about ourselves and our choices. In turn, these things also influence our actions and, essentially, our skill level. “Then they throw you in the deep-end,” is about the risks we always have to take in life. There’s always new opportunities, new exploration - whether people choose them or not, in life. This is scary. Jumping in water, plummeting to the bottom not knowing where the end is, is a huuuuge risk we are forced to take. Some of us don’t make it to the surface. We get lost and forget all aspects of survival. We think we have things in control – but the truth is, water is uncontrollable. Life is uncontrollable. Things happen. Emotions take over. Any factor can alter our actions, our course, our ideology. We often lose hope along the way, and like me, believe in the lie that being at the bottom is natural and that is my place to stay – the belief that I belonged there. I deserved it. I earned it. I was the one who jumped, remembered? No one pushed me. I did this all myself.

I am thankful that someone saved me though. Being at the bottom sucks, and even though it feels comfortable after awhile, you are screaming for help somewhere on the inside. You don’t want help from others (I resisted assistance) but at the same time, this is not your time to go to the bottom yet. People are yelling at you from the surface – because they care, they need you, and because you matter. Whether you believe it or not, you mean something in this thing called “life” and there’s a reason you’re here on earth. Because it’s a learning curve, it’s an enormous struggle to have, but in the end it makes us stronger. Swimming. Makes. Us. Stronger. Don’t be a sinker anymore. Sinking involves lying to yourself, to others, and it hurts. It hurts immensely. 
‘Lifeguards’ can not always be there for you, they may not see the signs of your struggles, or they could be simply too exhausted to try to help another soul find strength in life.

Perhaps it was a coincidence that I felt a notion that I should get my lifeguard courses when I turned fourteen/fifteen. I was ready to learn how to swim in the water of life – ready to take on challenges and the risks that come from jumping in unknown depths of waters. I was getting tired of being at the bottom. Even at a young age. People may laugh, or judge, but I can truly say I can tell you all about being at the bottom. I felt everything about it. And I don’t want to go back. I'm no longer going to let the water get the best of me; I'm going to get the best of the water.

So. All you struggling out there….

Just keep on swimming. Float as long as you can. You’re worth it. Take risks, accept change, and don't be afraid of help along the way. You're worth it.

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Me . . . said...

Hey guys, some of you are having trouble posting comments. Please make sure to scroll to the bottom after inserting your comment in the box to select the button that says "Publish your comment"... thanks! :)

Denise T said...

My favourite line in this blog is "because you matter." It's a truth that most of us don't believe and need to hear over and over. You've written it for me to read and so I will tell you again too: You matter! Also, you made me think of Finding Nemo. "Just keep swimming" ~ Dory

Harmony G said...

Wow! Very touching!

mom said...

YES I remember the day excatly and you do matter and it just seemed like yesterday, how time matter a lot!