Saturday, December 4, 2010

It's just like diving. Practice. Exposure. Concentration. Acceptance.

It's funny. I'm starting to come to a place of rest about this year of upheaval. I'm writing more about serious topics because I'm allowing stuff I'd buried to come to the surface now that processing it isn't so sharp. But there are things that catch me.

Like, today was D's birthday. I used to like making him feel special, it was important to me. But now I can do nothing. Except feel guilty that maybe because of me, he is having a terrible birthday. I woke up and I thought "I hope he okay."

I have this thing I do now. I unconsciously find myself physically shrugging when I encounter something tough. It's like ripping off a band-aid. First I realize I'm holding my breath. Then I exhale slowly. And that's when I shrug. Involuntarily. I have to just move through the tough thing the way I used to make myself dive into water.

I could never bring myself to dive from the high diving board as a kid but I did jump. The way I did it was not to think about it. I just stepped off the edge -- think about it too much and I'd freeze.

Solution: don't think. Do.

I was uneasy off the lower diving board too at first. And so I concentrated instead on the physical motion.

You can wrap yourself up entirely in what your body is physically doing at any given moment if you try hard enough. Don't worry about the future yet, I'd think. The plunging hasn't happened yet. Worry about that later. And just like that, I'd pose and throw myself into the water. Then I'd climb out and do it again. Over and over, perfecting the arc each time until I grew to crave the sensation of the cold water rushing over me.

When I was a kid, we had to live in a motel for a month (house had sold and new one wasn't ready). My parents hated being cramped in one tiny room with two kids. I remember nothing about that time except the pool. I spent hours plunging into the water. Eventually even backflips got easy.

Confidence comes with practice. Life is practice.

So yesterday, when I was going through an old art notebook and found one of D's drawings, I took it out, sighed, shrugged, and put it away.

It hurt but I expected it to, and I moved through the pain with resignation. It's starting to get easier to find the sense of peace.


  1. Very excellent writing and analogy, there, Ms. Asplenia. I too love the water so I could totally envision your steps and progress and like how that moment of 'shrug it off' worked so well for D's birthday and finding his drawing. I wish I could say I'm at a total place of peace after over 4 years, but I can't say I am. It gets easier every day. However, 11 years and much of myself was lost in that relationship, so it's a rebuilding process because he took so much of myself away from me so slowly, I didn't realize it was happening... Like chipping away with a pick... but slowly I rebuild and become stronger. It can only get better... despite the heinous experiences of dating

  2. I should come back and re-comment on this post when I'm healthy because, of course, when you're sick, you don't want to do anything at all! Diving? Please, I'd rather just crawl back in to bed if I could...