I never learned how to dive into water. I can’t get over my own personal fear of breaking my back or hitting my head on the concrete pool. I’ve developed a new process of getting into the pool; I always put my toes in the water first. I began to obsess over the toes go in the water first. I‘ve come to realize that whenever you go to the beach your toes go in the water first. Whenever you get into the tub your toes go in first. Yet outside of the water my toes come last. They are at the bottom holding my weight.
I may hold the weight of the world on my shoulder, but it’s my toes that hold all of the pressure. Now more than ever the pressure is mounted. With the burden my family holds on me, the passion I hold for my friends, and the readiness I hold in school, I feel heavy and my toes feel it all. I feel as if I am disconnected. I believe in my toes. I believe that my toes will not fail me. I believe that they are stronger than any part other of me. I found from childhood misfortune that my toes give me the feeling that I strive for.
I am a runner. I run to get away. I run to breathe. I run to feel. Every step I take is for every amount of pressure laid on me. I run shifting my body for every turn. My calves use every muscle in their body to reach the horizon. My heart is pounding hard enough to choke me at every breath. My arms push back and forth to push me up every hill. While my toes direct me to the place they want to go. They want to relax. I run to the river. I kneel down to untie my shoelaces. I plop my bottom on the hard dirt in hopes to have enough energy to pull my shoes of. With a giant thrust and a grunt I pull my shoes off my sweating feet. Suddenly my feet stop throbbing. I pull my socks off they stick to my feet like glue. Sweat rolls down off my forehead to drip off my nose. With heavy breathing I raise my arms to get a full breath. I stand to tip toe towards the water. I’m trying to be careful, but I manage to hit every sharp object on my way down to the water. I dip my feet in the water. The water moves down and wraps around my ankles. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. I squeeze sand through the crack of my toes. I feel relieved. I feel as if I have no problems in the world. I feel my toes, for they never fail me. I feel the earth move. My toes always go in the water first to feel connected.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.