Holding My Breath

Someone once told me that my blog posts are ‘positive as f@ck.’ She went so far as to imply that I’m an optimist. 

I don’t think I’m an optimist. I think I’m just happy to be alive. 

I don’t deny that the world has conspired to make me a pessimistic. It continues to throw just about everything it can at me. 

For some reason, call it luck, call it grace, I always choose to let the negativity float away.

It might be genetics. But I highly doubt that. 

I was raised by a bunch of cynics and skeptics. Nihilists and non-believers, who said things like ‘Don’t get your hopes up, you’re gonna die anyway.’ A clan of clinical depressives, destined to drown in a sea of hops and barley. 

I was pulled under a few times. Tossed by the tide. 

Once, when I was a teenager, I had a near death experience on the actual ocean floor. I had been swimming out just beyond the breakers and body surfing back in to the shallows. There were a lot of other people in the ocean that day, some body surfers, some people on rafts. 

I was treading water, enjoying the sunshine, waiting for a good wave. I saw a big one coming and I turned my back to it, and began swimming. I caught it just right and started sailing on the current, quickly towards the shore.  

All of a sudden I felt something press down on me. It pressed down on the entire length of my body. I realized it was a raft. Then I felt the sand pressing against me from below. 

I was stuck there between the raft and the sand, but still being moved by the force of the wave. The raft pressed down hard on me, my skin dragging on the sand.

I could die now. I thought. This could be it. 

I didn’t panic. I didn’t gasp for air that wouldn’t come. I didn’t fight. I must have had a moment of clarity, because I simply reached up and grabbed onto the sides of the raft that was holding me down, and I went with it. I gave in to the situation. I accepted it for exactly what it was, and I flowed along with it, holding my breath, for what felt like minutes. 

Eventually, it dropped me on the shore. My skin was red and raw from scraping against the sand and stones. 

I watched as the unsuspecting rafter paddled back out beyond the breakers. 

Propped up on my elbows. Breathing deeply. Much surer and much stronger than I had been five minutes before. 

And happy to be alive. 


When I feel like I’m drowning,
I trust in the tide.


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