I’m writing my memoir, sort of. It’s not an exact retelling of my life and the low, very low experiences that have eventually brought me to this point. It’s a lot of poetry, a lot of essays and a lot of imagery.
That’s not so remarkable. JK Rowling wrote about her depression. She made it a character in her books. Remember the dementors? They were an embodiment of the depression she experienced after her divorce. Mine is an image, its water. Water, something that I bathe in everyday, that I drink all day and use to prepare meals. And yet, since I was about six years old, I’ve been terrified of the water.
I learned to swim in a lake. Dark and dirty, I couldn’t see the bottom. I had a loss of control during one class, the day we jumped off the dock and the instructors kept us under water for what seemed like an eternity. I can still see the sun through the greenish water, a dull ball in the sky. I remember the panic waiting for the teacher to lift me out of the water. From that day on, I never liked being in the water.
I tried to learn over the years. I took the classes in high school, but my fear was so gripping that my teacher, while holding me in the deep end, told me, you are too afraid, I can’t teach you here.” She proceeded to swim me to the shallow end, where I spent the rest of the two-week unit, walking. As if that’s not a waste of time.
As I write about my life, about the death of my daughter, I find myself using water as a representation of that horrible time.
“it beats roughly against the rocky coast.”
“The water churns, and undulates, alive with pain, anger, love and loss. Each harsh wave erodes the rocks, removing a piece forever.”
“I can no longer breathe as the water pummels me, suppresses me, I try to scream but my voice can no longer be heard amidst the roar.”
I found myself writing the second entry and the images waters contained my sorrow, my heart-felt apologies, my fear and anger.
The water doesn’t just scare me. It terrifies me. White knuckle terror. When I took swimming lessons after the birth of my second child, I remember swimming in the deep end of pool. I climbed out still wearing my life jacket and stood above the pool. My teacher told me to jump in. My head understood the command, but my legs were grounded to the pool deck. I couldn’t move. I was paralyzed.
This is the imagery that describes the ups and downs. The white water rapids that describe my life. the way I can deliver my message and have others understand how I view my life.