“I must be a mermaid, Rango. I have no fear of depths and a great fear of shallow living.”-Anais Nin
I would not have recognized the woman that I am in my heart right now ten years ago, and probably barely 5 years ago, and surprisingly as I began to dive deeper into the person that I am, and want to be, it might have been unrecognizable even two years ago. But, I knew after the summer of 2016 that something inside of me was changing. I knew that my heart and my brain were starting to be curious about the depths of life that I might be able to experience, and I was realizing that just maybe…shallow living is what was scaring me most.
So many summers ago, I can remember standing with my feet in the water in Vancouver, British Columbia worrying about slipping and falling, but desperately wanting to touch a purple starfish. I knew that I wanted so desperately to connect to that purple starfish, but I was scared and unsure if I should or could wade out on the rocks to get there. When I finally picked my way out there with prompting from my Lynne, I picked one up, looked at the living, breathing organism in my hand, connected to it’s life breath, and then safely returned it to it’s rock. I felt both scared and proud.
I never really have understood how my own fears have kept me on the surface. I have never really taken huge risks. The few that I have taken, while risky, have felt in some ways safe and calculated. And, I don’t think that there is anything wrong with safe and calculated. But there is a part of it that keeps me from really diving into the depth of living that I know can and does exist. What I also know is when I dove, when I decided that I was going to stop staying on the surface, have become the moments in my life that I am most me.
I spent so many years thinking that I wouldn’t make it on my own, that somehow, without the presence of my mom, I would somehow falter. I am finally believing that just maybe, I was meant to stumble and falter, because it is those breaks and breakdowns that have brought me most fully into my present. I am beginning to believe in myself more fully than I ever have. I am starting to find that my confidence isn’t simply a facade or a well constructed impersonation of someone that oozes that confidence. I am more of the person and the woman that I am today, more fully, and more joyfully than I have ever been.
I realize that for so long, my bravery, my confidence, and my desire to live more fully have been so tempered by the weight I have been carrying on my shoulders, the fear and the stench of dead cells unshed. So, I’m going to work on that. I’m going to work to be my own true love. I’m going to be honest, say no more, say yes more to the things I want to do, give less time to the petty and mundane, have conversations about soul and music, and life, and less about hairstyles and life choices of others…I am going to spend time alone, and seek out the warmth and love of those that bring my soul joy, I am going to run with joy and abandon, and never pass up the chance to feel the sunshine on my belly. I am going to wear a bikini, and drink beer, and giggle at things that are silly. I am going to resist the oppressive government that I didn’t elect, but that I must work hard to unseat. I am going to find other people around me that appreciate life. I am going to watch basketball. I am going to get up early to run, stay up late to read a book, drink some coffee, seek solace and solitude, learn and work on this life. I am going to swim…and swim….deeper into the life that I want, not the life that I am expected to have.
Perhaps your life will keep you on the dry land. Perhaps you will man the shore as I swim off, but that’s okay. And, if along the way, I pass you as we swim, please know that it doesn’t mean that I don’t love you, it just means I might need to swim a little deeper to find the true joy in my own life.
“She is a mermaid, but approach her with caution. Her mind swims at depths most would drown in.” – J. Iron Word