I terrify myself.
What I choose to do doesn’t terrify me, but that I’m capable of doing it at all. Even more- that I have the impulse to try. I’m fascinated by the process of figuring out what I’m capable of. The ocean at night holds no fear for me- it’s not brave to dive into the silky inky black water and head out towards the unseen horizon. The giddy sensation of expansion I feel at wanting to set off into the unknown threatens to swallow me entirely, engulfing me in a euphoria I’m not sure I’ll find a way out of- or want to evade. That feels unsafe, insane even. Unhinged at best. Choosing to lose oneself- a choice of insanity; hoping it’s temporary…. Or do I hope that? The loss of ego, the decomposition of personality, the bearing of soul. Petrifying. Elicit. Addictive.
I remember a moment that came at breaking point mid-Molokai channel. My arm had become useless- dead weight, frozen shoulder. My heart had been broken a month previously, dashed as a beloved partner walked out unceremoniously without warning. I had over 7miles of pacific swell to swim. In my mind’s eye, I was teetering atop a shard of my self. Clinging to a token thought of who I was, what I thought I was doing. Bereft of reason to continue, I looked for the next piece of my puzzled existence to take me the next step of head down, swim on.
And saw abyss. A vast expanse of nothing, void of any comfort or anything I recognised as part of me I could use. My heaven sent kayak support, Steve, heard me out as I told him what was going on and told me to use his heart, that if I didn’t give up on swimming he wouldn’t give up on me. I knew they were well meant, but they were only words. I knew only I could take that step of plunging into the infinite.
I can’t say what it is in me that more than allows me, it drives me, to let go and experience free fall within, but I remember nothing but relief as I stepped off that shaky, shimmering shard of self hood and…… Ceased to exist.
I had to let go of pride and dignity- one armed doggy paddle is NOT how I planned to swim the channel; I let go of shame at being weak, feeling low; I let go of pain and that unique exquisite torment that is caused by battering yourself to behave in a way that is proscribed for you but bends you out of shape. I let go of all that I thought was me.
It was that or end my swim early. When the fear of change is outweighed by the fear of staying the same, evolution is swift and painless. I often feel adrift in life, not in a negative way, but without anchor that dictates ‘this is the way it SHOULD be done’ and for that, I am eternally grateful. Shoulda, woulda, coulda doesn’t cut it. There are no marks wishing you had done something. Life’s tough on proctrastinators. Things pile up and get in the way- things of your creation. Bits of you that serve no purpose.
Yup, I terrify myself.
And I like it.