I’ve left the shore. Let go of the safety net. Shed the arm floaties. I’ve made a full swan dive back into the world of the arts – my arts. My photography and my writing.
When I was a child, my mother taught me how to swim by carrying me on her back out to a floating dock, then leaving me there, telling me I’d have to get back to shore on my own. A part of me still hates this memory, because it feels so…yuck. But another part of me sees it for what I’m sure it was – tough love. (It was also yet another lesson in learning to rely on myself for what I needed, but I’m not sure she thought of that, or maybe she did. Who knows…) That moment has forever been part of my life, the memory of having to sink or swim.
That day came soon after someone had pushed me off a very high diving board platform and I, full of panic and doubt, doggie-paddled myself into a circle, barely keeping my face above water, frantic and unsure, before someone jumped in and pulled me to safety. Perhaps my mother was worried if I didn’t finally get it, I’d drown once and for all. (I’d had a near-drowning incident earlier in my life, too.)
The point is, eventually you have to swim or you drown. Swim or walk away from the water.
I’d like to say my decision to swim this time was based on my very courageous decision to let go of the fallback job and have faith that I can hold my end of things financially without it. The truth is, the decision was made for me in the form a 2-liter of soda hurled at me by a customer who was displeased with my attempts to reason with him that I was not in fact trying to scam him or steal 95 cents from him. In essence, the decision to sink or swim came in the same form as my mother leaving me on that dock in the middle of the swimming hole. It was a hard shove away from what I was holding onto – safety and security – toward what I need to reach for without fear and worry – belief in myself, faith that I can be successful.
But you know what? Life is too short to never leave the shore. Too many recent events have reminded me of that.
So, here I am, on Day One of Sink or Swim, and I’m ready to swim. Today more than ever, I’m ready to do more than frantically doggie-paddle in circles. I am, in fact, ready to fly.