I’ve always been afraid of sharks.
When I was little – it was sharks coming up through the bathtub, or – God forbid – the toilet. Later, during my adolescent years, it was the “Drain Sharks” at the pool I guarded at. I’ve always hated swimming alone, convinced that (at any moment) some massive shark would defy all laws of physics and probability, smash through the deep end grate, and eat me.
Sometimes life deals you horrible blows. Shark-through-drain type blows.
It doesn’t make sense, and it’s impossible to quantify it. I can never explain why or how I ended up with lupus – with the hand that I’ve been dealt. It just worked out that way. In the same way I can’t explain how lucky I was to meet the Yank, or adopt the House Monsters (good stuff!!). And there is so much about life in general, about why people do the things they do, what the specific motivations are, and how stuff “works” that is beyond comprehension. “Shark-in-drain” – from now on, that’s what I’m calling it.
But in a weird, odd, and terrifyingly clear way – when you’ve hit rock bottom, when you’ve seen the worst and experienced (what you think) is the worst, well – it’s oddly freeing. In a disconcerting way.
I never want to live my life in fear – to have my fear of being eaten alive keep me from swimming in the ocean. I love the salty air, the swells, of feeling the WHOOSH! of the waves (and diving under – as I painfully learned) as I sprint during a race start. There are much MUCH worse things than sharks out there, better chances that (and I’ve looked this up – so I know it’s true) – better chances that I’ll be struck by lightening while riding a lawnmower before I get eaten by a shark.
We all come to crossroads. We all reach that point of – there is NOTHING else that can go wrong, except for death. And the fact that I can joke about it – like some tragic Milan Kundera novel, or a twisted Cohen-Brothers film – the fact I can joke about it, that’s a good thing. The Yank and I are finding out a lot about life, discovering Drain Sharks, and figuring out what comes next.
But it’s oddly freeing – because when you see and feel and experience the ugliness of life and discover your total lack of control over anything – the Drain Sharks out there (fabricated and completely tangible) don’t seem so bad.
And though I might not (voluntarily) run headlong into the ocean for a race – I don’t fear it the way I used to. I would much rather live my life than forever be fearful at something that, in the end, I have no control over anyway. Drain sharks or the real ones.