Weightless. For the first few moments all I feel is the cool caress of the water on every inch of my body. Shallow, calm waves slowly pass over and around me, causing my body to sway gently from side to side. Suddenly something is wrong, and part of me panics. Breath is pounding in my lungs, screaming to be let out. I push off the concrete bottom with all my strength and propel myself to the surface like a rocket. I gasp for air for a few moments, and then submerge myself once again, back into the calm.
The warm summer nights following my freshman year were spent, for the most part, in my pool. I was dealing with a particularly painful set of memories at that time and I needed some way to cope with them. Late at night, long after the sun had set and my parents had fallen asleep I would flip on the lights to my pool and sneak out of my morbidly silent house into the backyard. The pitch black forest contrasted so beautifully with the rich electric blue of the illuminated pool water. Tendrils of steam rose from the glassy surface and evaporated into the night air. I always enjoyed breaking the perfect, glassy calmness of the water. I would stand on the edge of the diving board, right on the edge, peering into the depths of the pool. Simply taking in the nothingness that is water. And then I would step off the board, going straight down to the deepest part of the pool.
I would just float for hours. Popping up whenever I needed air, but for the majority of the time, staying under the water, allowing myself to succumb to all my feelings, all my memories. It was as if every time I jumped into the water the pain would affect me less and less, like the water was slowly removing the bad things and replacing with a cool sense of nothing. Finally, one night at the very end of August, when the nights are blackest and the air is thick with moisture, I emerged from the pool at 2:47 am fully healed. Now I’m not saying that I don’t still feel sad from time to time, but I no longer feel as if my heart is being torn apart. I felt whole again.
I believe in water. I believe in its powers to heal and its powers to empower. Water is the basic life force of all creatures on this earth, but, if we let it, it can also be the healing hand that we all need at some point in our lives.