authenticity · children · deprivation · friends · fun · laughter · self-love

Dive In

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I never actually go in
the pool. For years, 6 of them, my friend and her family and our friends’
families go out to the east East Bay for Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day
weekend. 

There is a pool there. I attend by the side. Perhaps I’ve gone in the
hottub, but I can’t even remember doing that. I lay on my towel or a pool
chair, slathering in sunblock, catching up, chatting, sharing with these women
I see only occasionally, and it’s
wonderful, this catching up chatting and sharing, but I never go in the
pool.
On Saturday, before I left for the weekend, I made a
commitment to a friend that I would actually go in the pool. I made a
commitment to let myself have fun. To enjoy what was being presented to me, to
not literally be on the sidelines of my own life.
It’s hard – or it has
been – to let myself take part. I’ve been so reserved, analytical, watching,
the consummate wall-flower, when in fact I
feel anything but.
And so, at some point soon after the sun had soaked far
enough into my skin to want relief, I walked into the water.
I’m a slow pool-acclimator, as I am a slow band-aid puller.
Later that night, the women-folk stayed up to play a board game, and my
strategy was to move slowly but eventually around the board. I admitted, laughingly,
that it’s the same way I play chess with my brother: I move pawn after pawn.
One little square at a time.
After my first timid entrance into the water, and a few laps
across the pool, my heart rate up, the water refreshing, my second entré was
different. I was inspired by my friend’s daughter, who lay over an inner
tube, head back, dousing her hair in the water. Only nine, I watched her
luxuriate in the tactile and sensory pleasure, the instinctual joy of just
letting the water carry her hair out into the water. Of soaking the top of her
head, running her fingers into her scalp to get each follicle up and satisfied,
eyes closed, in the moment, in the sensation, in the freedom of doing what felt
wonderful just for its own sake.
My second time in, all the others were under the shade by
the house, and I waded in. About half-way wet, I just dove in. I let my body be
strong and carry me to the bottom. I borrowed some goggles, and played the same
game of fetch I’d watched the kids play, throwing plastic sharks to the bottom,
and diving down to retrieve them. Seeing under water, holding my breath in that
suspended moment, moving quickly and gauging the time I had left before I had
to surface. Running my hands along the bottom, and pushing against it with my feet to
shoot up through the clear water. I laughed.
It was invigorating. It was fun. It was entertaining and
special and out of my ordinary. And on my way out of the water, I lay back into
it, soaked the top of my head, however briefly, and luxuriated too. 

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