But Mother, I Don’t Want to Grow Up

A young girl steps up onto a diving board. She is wearing a faded pink one-piece that fits three years’ too small. She tugs at the wedgie and takes another step forward. The board shakes. Slow steps, baby steps, keep your eyes down so you do not slip. She feels as though the board is getting narrower and narrower the further out she goes.

Finally, she reaches the end. Her toes wrap over the edge, gripping to keep steady as the board continues to wobble. Her eyes are now fixed on the water. The white and blue bottom tile pattern is distorted through the ever-moving surface. Already, she is thinking of how it will feel at the bottom: the pressure against her ears and hair over her eyes. Fearing the icy plunge, she pauses and cherishes the warmth from the sun that is still kissing her dry backside. Her fluffy white towel is draped over the beach chair assembled nearby: neatly folded and left out by her mother.

She reconsiders, but soon realizes that it would be more frightening for her to walk backwards where she can no longer see. There is no way for her to retreat, no way for her  to change her mind.

The only way back to that towel is forward and forward means jumping. Up, then down. The little girl pushes all thoughts out of her head and as a result that hesitation is now gone. Giving it up, she closes her eyes and leaps forward.


Get a Backbone

Over the years, I developed the belief that it is better to apologize in order to avoid argument rather than invite conflict. Even if a problem has nothing to do with me, I’ll apologize anyways.

I do not like drama. I do not like conflict. Any shakes in my serenity and security immediately have me retreating to “fix, fix, fix” until the problem is no longer of concern. In some situations that call for debate or argument, I chose the easier, less confrontational route. I go to great lengths to convince myself that a problem is my fault when really, it’s not. And following my conversations with many other women of a similar age, I am finding this isn’t uncommon. I back off too easily. I think we back off too easily.

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