Sometimes you have to just go for it. Spill yourself purposefully (you’re more than sixty percent water anyway) and see what you have in there. It’s huge and scary and intimidating because what if you don’t like what you find? For this reason, you hold back so often, almost always. Everything inside you crashes like waves against the strongest, outermost layer of your skin, but you refuse to acknowledge it, you say no. I say you, but I mean we.
My best friend Hillary used to vacation to the Outer Banks with my family (when clocks ticked in half-time and we’d have done anything to grow up faster). She would drape herself over the ledge of the top bunk to say goodnight; we would whisper all our anxieties and expectations for first kisses and first everythings; I would squeeze lemons into her french braided hair to hasten highlights.
But what I mean to say is that we’d spend all of the sunlit hours (except, perhaps, the first couple) in the water. Floating, singing, treading, racing, handstanding. The best days, though, were the ones with furious waves that made it hard to keep our heads up, that kept us guessing and refused to retreat. Hillary and I would dive beneath and let the wave break on top of us. Usually we’d resurface unscathed, however nature can be harsh and unruly. When the timing was just right and the surge on top was strong and the pull below was powerful we’d end up rolling, caught up, toward the foreshore. Head over heels and out of control, beaten and bruising; the seconds felt like hours before we found ourselves with shells in our no longer lemon-braided hair, bathing suits askew, bodies beached and breathing.
The same terrifying exhilaration is inside every one of us, isn’t it? Stories and feelings start as ripples, grow to swells, and turn to tidal waves beating on us, from within. We contain so much more than we give ourselves credit for. It might feel right to stop holding it all so tightly. It might be the biggest relief to pour someone a glass of you so they’d taste all your memories, fears, and dreams. Cheers.