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By , Richmond, VA

What is so comforting about not being able to breathe? Restricted, like the water is holding you hostage, not even easing for a quick gasp of air, of what you need most. It’s edges engulf every inch of your body, and you shift and curl, like a baby in it’s mother’s womb. The stillness of your lungs makes your heartbeat pound harder than ever before.

 

How long can you hold your breath? You can hold your breath as long as you want. You make the choice to resist the gravity of water or to let it take you further down, down to a place where death itself can’t inhale.
Living with limitations on what you need most is exhilarating. It’s crazy to think that a moment which could eventually lead to the end of your life is the moment: the moment when you feel most alive. Why is that? Why do you feel most alive when you are at the close edge with the afterlife? Is it because you can prove death wrong?


You consider these moments life. Just tiny moments mashed into memories that you keep stored in your brain, like tattoos permanently inked on your skin, to remind yourself just exactly what life is when you forget.


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When I was young, I was oblivious. Oblivious to the fact that there was a reason behind my mom making me wear a floatie in the pool. She was scared. She was scared to let my innocent head under the water and for there to be the possibility of me never rising for another breath.


I just thought of it as a day at the pool, where I giggled in the sun about the fact that my fingers pruned like grapes from being in the pool all afternoon and that my parents let me eat an ice cream cookie sandwich before dinner.


My mind at the time had the attention span of about three seconds. One minute I was playing “Marco Polo”,  the next “Categories”. I didn’t even think about what my floatie protected me from.


My head stayed above the giant, chlorine-filled public bath, and I remained calm. I was a child who didn’t stray far from my parents. I hated the diving board for the longest time, and I typically stayed in the shallow end. My parents were still scared.


~


For as long as I could remember, water represented a clean body, a fun summer day activity, a drink. Now I see water representing more. The place we go to empty our minds. Or fill them. My mind is so filled, and I can’t recall how to erase my thoughts. Water means so much more.


Do we feel protected?


 

Being unborn is so simple, so easy, so safe. A mother’s body keeps the baby inside calm. Water has a tendency to ease our minds, calm us. Relaxation is expected and wanted. We can feel again unborn.


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Water is like picturing a child going to sleep, they are safe in their bubble called “bed”, but monsters surround the rest of the space, in their closets, behind the door, under the bed.


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Do we feel scared?
 

It’s so easy to just let go, not in a sense of relaxing every muscle in your body, but let go as in drown. Let the water consume your body and mind. Take one last breath and then be done. Let your heart stop beating, let your blood stop flowing. Rest. Quit.


Water has a way of making you feel alive, and making you feel like you are the closest to death you ever been before. “Nothing is softer or more flexible than water,” says philosopher Lao Tzu, “yet nothing can resist it.”


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I remember hearing the tragic story on the news of a two year old boy falling into the pool. He was from Florida. Wouldn’t Florida be the one place you think parents would be conscious of water safety? Wouldn’t Florida be the place where people are always by a pool? So why was he alone? Drowning, with no one there to save him.
An accident is what news reporters called it. A two year old boy can’t help if he gets distracted and falls into the pool. But maybe in some unbelievable way he knew what he was doing. Maybe he wanted to feel safe, like being back inside his mother. Maybe he thought it would just be fun.


A tragedy is was his parents called it. They couldn’t have known that’s where he was. But isn’t that the job of parents? The location of a child at that age is one of extreme importance. What was it that distracted them from his rescue? Maybe they were simply talking about the dinner party they were planning on attending. Maybe they were drinking fruity cocktails in the Florida sun. Maybe they themselves needed a break too. That break from reality ultimately ended up shattering what they hoped to return to.


Who is there to save us from the water and our realities?


~


So this was the cycle you live in. This was life. This is how you think of it, perceived as safety or as danger. A place to escape, or a place you cannot escape from.


Do we let the weightlessness of water win?






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