I wrote this during the summertime. I've grown and changed a lot since, but I'm still learning how to breathe in new spaces. I think I always will be.
When I was a tiny lil nugget my dad taught me how to swim in the ocean. We spent the whole afternoon floating and diving and getting familiar with a world that had yet been known to me. I learned a lot that day, but the sea is strong and unpredictable. Even though I knew how to approach the waves I still found myself in the crashing and was tumbled by the break.
It’s a powerless feeling to be shaken so hard that you don’t know which way is up, but my dad taught me how to find direction despite disorientation. He told me that if I blew bubbles out of my nose underwater I could always follow them to the surface. It was silly and simple advice, but he was right and I never got lost in the tumbling again.
I’m 22 now, and the waves that I’m learning how to face are less water and more salt. Car payments and school loans. Anxiety, anxiety, anxiety. More anxiety.
Today was a really hard day, but somewhere in between brain thumps and tears touching skin I remembered that summer afternoon I spent in the unfamiliar deep.
The ocean used to intimidate the hell out of me, and now it’s my favorite place to exist.
Ironic how, even underwater, learning how to breathe can save your life.