Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A place of safety

I feel like writing about something nice.

I realised, when I tried hypnosis for relaxation many years ago, that I had a problem. You're meant to imagine a safe place, but I don't have one of those. There's my granny's cabin, which comes close, but whatever peace there was, I knew to be temporary. Still, it was a place of freedom, which was more than worth having.

The only thing my father ever taught me was to swim under water. What I actually mean is he showed me how to do it and expected me to follow, ignoring how scared I was. He said it was easy and laughed on one side of his face. I remember seeing his body like a square projectile under the water; familiar and uncompromising.

Holding my head under water has always terrified me. Sometimes I dreamt about drowning, or trying to save people and not doing it very well. There's people in my family who have drowned. Perhaps it's one of those cell-memories.

I went away in a mess, so imagine my surprise when I forgot to take tablets and just existed for a while. One day, I walked right into the vast, turquoise bathwater, put a mask and snorkel on, deep breath, and disappeared for what was left of the holiday. I thought about my father and what he thought he'd taught me, but didn't. I overcame that fear. And I was amazed that under the water, perfectly afloat and surrounded by the sound of my own breath, I felt safe.

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