Staying Afloat

Hello everyone!! I want to start this post off by acknowledging my absence for the past three weeks. I’ve been in an interesting headspace lately. Not a bad headspace, but sort of a cluttered one. I’m just in a period of growth and change, and even though there are all sorts of inspiring things happening all around me every single day, I haven’t had a minute to catch my breath and process them. There have been so many things on my mind but no one clear message or learning. Every Monday when I would sit down to write, either nothing substantial would come out, or I would just skip it altogether because I had way too much school work to do.

I never want to treat this blog as a to-do list item or a hassle. There is this social media influencer that I’ve been following for a long time named Rachel Brathen, or Yoga Girl. Every single Friday for the past year she has put out an hour-long podcast episode, and I have been listening religiously every week since the beginning – it’s part of my routine. There were some episodes in the beginning that were just so amazing that they moved me to tears. They had such strong powerful messages that resonated so deeply with me, and they have been the inspiration behind some of my growth. Lately, it feels like she’s run out of things to talk about, so she just uses the hour to talk about her baby or her dog. I still listen because it’s part of my routine, but I don’t learn anything at all and I can tell that it’s a to-do list item for her some weeks, rather than a chance to sit-down and reconnect. I end up being completely dissatisfied.

That is the LAST thing I want this blog to become – something on my to-do list that feels more like than an obligation than an opportunity, where I just slap some sentences on to a word document every Monday and move on with my life. It’s a waste of my time, and an even bigger waste of your time – especially when I know I have people who read this blog every single time I post (which is AMAZING). So please, bear with me if I don’t manage to put something out there every single Monday. I’d rather post one quality post every month than 1 shitty one every week.

This week has been a nostalgic one for me, to say the least. It is Sunday evening, and I’m currently on an airplane flying back to school from Palm Springs. I just spent the week at my grandparent’s house for spring break, and it was a MUCH needed time to unwind and spend quality time with my family.

Almost a year ago today, I was visiting my grandparent’s for a much different reason. It was the middle of April and I was nearing the end of my time at SMU. I was hanging on by a fraying thread. I was out to dinner one night and saw a text message on a friend’s phone where she was talking to someone about how much she hated me. I wasn’t trying to read her phone, but my name on the screen caught my eye and I couldn’t help myself. When dinner was over, I desperately wanted to be alone. So, I grabbed my backpack and said I was going to the library for the night to study. In reality, I headed for the safest place I had on campus – my car.

I sprawled out across the back seat of my truck in the campus parking garage, locked the door, and sobbed uncontrollably. It was late in Dallas, so it was even later at home. I felt bad calling home and waking everyone up, and none of my friends from home were awake either. Thinking my grandparent’s were in California, I called them because I figured they might still be awake. My grandma, Bunny (my dad’s mom), answered and listened to me bawl hysterically and did everything she could to calm me down. Once I caught my breath, she invited me to fly out to visit her and my grandpa, Baba, for the weekend. Turns out, they were in Florida (not California)…one super quick flight away. They booked my ticket, and by the time the weekend came around, I was on my way to Destin.

What was supposed to be a weekend trip turned into a 5-day stay. There were major storms happening in Dallas, and for two days in a row, all flights from Destin to Dallas were canceled. Call it coincidence or divine intervention, but I was not ready to go back to school and leave my family so I was grateful for those two extra days in Florida. I spent a lot of quality time with my grandparents talking about what was unfolding in my life. At this point, they didn’t know about the pills – only Katie and Molly did. I was too scared to tell them. But I shared with them just about everything else. Our conversations varied from intense discussions of my values over dinner to late night sob-sessions where I just vented incoherently. The amazing thing was never, not once, did my grandparent’s make me feel invalidated. Maybe they hadn’t been in my exact situation before, but they had enough life experience that they knew exactly what to say to make me feel better. The most important thing they reminded me of, and a common message throughout my posts, was that I wasn’t alone in what I was feeling.

I spent a lot of time by myself on that trip too. I had finals coming up in the following weeks that I had to study for. My grandparents have a condo with an amazing view of the beach, and they left me up there alone to study one day. I was supposed to be studying for my macroeconomics final, but I couldn’t keep my focus. I had been accepted to Miami at this point so the end of my hell was in sight, but I couldn’t help but feel a sense of impending doom when I thought about going back to Dallas at the end of my visit. Instead of studying, I wrote this…

“Water filled my ears, my lungs, my veins. I was drowning.

Someone had a firm grip on the back of my head. They were holding me under.

Who are you? Why are you doing this? What the fuck do you want from me?

I was screaming, but the water drowned out the sound. I was kicking, but I was losing strength.

Every now and then, they brought me to the surface for a fleeting moment. I gasped desperately for air before being plunged back under.

One day, without reason, without warning, they let go. I took quick, shallow, panicky breaths. As I slowly resurfaced, I began inviting air back into my lungs, color back into my skin, trust back into my heart.

But, is it possible that I spent so much time underwater that I forgot how to breathe? Did I lose the ability? Or did I lose the desire? Is there a difference?

The deep end terrifies me, so I never leave the shallows. My weight is too heavy a burden to ask for anyone to swim with me on their back. God damn it, I want to swim again.

When will I stop being afraid? When will the strength of my legs, the strength of my soul be enough to keep my head above water? 

Will I ever be able to trust anyone without fearing they’re going to drown me?

Someone throw me a lifesaver. Someone teach me to swim again. To breathe. To trust. Someone take me out to sea, ride the waves, explore the depths of the deep, and always come back to the surface with me to feel the sun on our faces and to breathe. Just to fucking breathe.”

Reading this again brings tears to my eyes. It’s so heavy. But that’s the place I was in – a really dark and really heavy place. And sometimes, I still feel this way. Although my spring break this week was filled with remarks about how much different and happier I am this year compared to last year, those experiences that I had are still very much a part of me. Each day is a conscious effort to get up and try to swim. Some days, I’m fucking Michael Phelps. Other days, I’m the girl in the shallow end, too scared to get in past her waist. My grandparents were my lifesaver that trip last April. They saw I was drowning and quickly came to my rescue. Every single day, my family and all of my friends and loved ones are my lifesavers. They help me stay afloat. I know that in return, I am a lifesaver to a lot of them. You do what you can for the people you love.

I try to do things every single day that make me stronger and make “swimming” easier – yoga, reading, meditating, hanging out with friends, eating good food, laughing, singing, blogging. When the days come around, as they inevitably do, where the seas are rough, I know that I am strong enough and supported enough to handle them.

And man is it worth it to feel the sunshine after a storm.

If you’re drowning, know that you have a lifesaver in me and in all of those that you love.

In grace and gratitude, in love and light…xoxo

5 thoughts on “Staying Afloat”

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