I swam with sharks in Belize. I remember sitting on the edge of the boat with my snorkel mask shoved to the top of my head, my legs already poised to go over and seeing the silhouettes of the sharks shimmy beneath the transparent waters of the Caribbean. Fear gripped me in that instant. I felt paralyzed. No way in hell was I going to do this...I mean, who would leave a perfectly sound boat to jump in with a bunch of sharks? But then I was falling--and once you're in free fall, you're committed.
In the water, I forgot all about being afraid. All I could do was marvel at the swaying forms of the sharks as they slid ahead of us and around us--completely disinterested in what we were doing. I followed them, forgetting about being in the wide open ocean where their nastier cousins could be lurking in the dark. I found myself reaching out, hoping for a touch...but they eluded me.
The experience stays with me today. In fact, I've adopted the shark as a metaphor for the new me. Why would I do such a thing? Sharks are ugly, you say. No, I say. Sharks are stunning and more beautiful than you can ever imagine--and their beauty runs deep beneath the scars you see on the surface of their skin. A shark is in constant motion, always swimming, surviving. A shark possess grace, intelligence, fearlessness, energy, confidence and power. They're magnificent.
I'm in a phase of my life where I've survived a lot by constantly moving forward, refusing to stop because I knew I'd drown in despair if I did. I'm growing in bold and thrilling ways that often surprise me. I'm not into proving myself ...I don't need to...I've already proven myself to my biggest critic...me. During the challenges of the past several years, when I felt alone, afraid, clueless as to what to do next, and wondered where I'd get the strength to go on one more day, I'd say to myself, "Amber, you swam with sharks. You can DO this!" Then I did. I plunged through the fear, into the unknown and have come out for the better. I remembered the sharks and it helped me somehow.
I've evolved from a sad girl into Moxie Girl.
My life is opening up in exciting ways. More often than not lately, I stop and laugh out loud because it's as if I'm living in a movie. Outrageous things are happening. Bigger than life people are appearing and showing me a world I'd only imagined.
I'm back in the game of life after a few years of being scared and riddled with doubts. My heart is still a bit raw and fragile, but it's coming back around. A few weeks ago I was out dancing until 5AM--must have been dancing poorly because my arms felt like they'd fall off the next day--but the point is I was out dancing. (It's been years since I've been out dancing and allowing myself to let go...years of being caught up with surviving instead of living...feels good to be back.)
I'm considering getting a shark tattoo for my next birthday to honor my transformation. I am embracing my power and confidence.
You see, I am like a shark--a lot of us are who've survived trauma or tragedy. Like the shark, I kept swimming despite the wounds and battles of the past several years. I had no choice--swim or drown. Like the shark, I have scars as proof of survival. Like the shark, I am powerful, wise, graceful, smart and fearless.
Yes, I remember looking down at their bodies sha-shaying just beneath the surface of the water and being gripped by fear. It's amazing how I didn't remember the fear at all once I'd taken the plunge. Life is like that, isn't it? Once you're immersed in enjoying the other side of fear, it's hard to remember why you were afraid.
Peace to you--
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