I don’t remember how young I was when I first read “How Stella Got Her Groove Back,” but I was pretty young. I stole the book off my mother’s bookshelf knowing it probably wasn’t age appropriate, but I’d heard her talk about it so I wanted to read it. It is telling that the only thing I remembered from the book (at the time) was that when Stella and her son Quincy went to Jamaica, he went cliff diving. I feel in love with idea since I read the words on Terri McMillin’s pages and “Cliffdiving in Jamaica” became the sole task on my bucket list.
I am really not sure why exactly it became such a huge deal to me. I can make guesses…but I think it was the idea of just being fearless. Today as I watched Jamaican men jump from sixty feet in the air off of small wooden platforms into the Caribbean, with perfect form I might add, I wondered could I come this far…this close to my dream and walk away from it?
I sat at the edge of the cliff on a little step. I asked myself where are you? My heart was racing and suddenly I wished P2AD was there. In the same moment that I realized I wanted to share inconspicuously monumental moments with him, I also got up and jumped off the edge. For as much as I wanted the comforts of him, I wanted the thrill of doing it alone. I wanted to jump fearlessly.
Into the water my legs stung. I didn’t go in straight. I went in on my knees. I rubbed them and laid on my back in the water. Opened my eyes and saw the moon, whom I thanked. I realized that in that moment I had done it. John said to me, “Childhood dream realized, huh?” I laughed to myself that my list was so short. That there was nothing else that meant as much to me as this one thing had. That from now on, it would be adventures born in the moment. No places I have to see, no things I have to do. Just living in stride. I decided that was the greatest gift my jump gave me. It gave me right now.
I would be remiss if I ignored the fact that I got to dive on Father’s Day. I’d always wanted to do it with my dad…and never got to and here I was, years later with new friends, not a “loved one” for miles and miles. And yet I didn’t feel the moment was cheapened or wasted it was exactly as it should have been. I am glad I shared the moment with those that I did. Moving beyond dad, or him, or any other man to find wings on my own and not feel broken or in search of.
I think for as much as I want to share my life with someone, I also want and need to be able to step off cliffs on my own. Terri said something about being able to hold the spaces of I and We at the same time is the supreme task of relationships. I guess it goes back to engulfment/abandonment; too much we or too much I, respectively, causes a lot of anxiety and subsequently a lot of issues.
One more week in Jamaica with my class before My Person gets here. I am excited she arrives this week because, well because she will love it here, but also because I’ve had a lot of time alone…a lot more than I thought I’d have, to process and I guess I want to talk through things with her. I mentioned previously how my abroad trips have always come at, or caused–I’m not entirely sure–times of major transition. I can’t be entirely sure because I’m still too close to tell, but I feel I’ve turned a corner in my capacity to be in We.
I would like my new goal, my new dream, to be finding balance in all things. Not, so much, living in the poles at the face of dichotomy or opposition, but in the middle towards the murkiest grey. And I’ll know I’m there if I find it is well with my soul.
I find it interesting that my hesitations came from thoughts of others and never once a distrust in my own body, my own ability. The disregard or perhaps more accurately described, disconnect with my own body likely led to my stinging legs and knees. I, therefore would also like to add the goal of balance to extend to my body. To be of it, with it, in it, as well as beyond it simultaneously. I do not want to get stuck here, but I do not want to recklessly disregard it either. Yes, balance.
Balance: in progress