Diana Nyad and I

The other night, Diana Nyad visited me in a dream.

Do you remember her? She is the superhuman that at age 64, became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage. It was her fifth attempt.

When that first happened, I became moderately obsessed with Diana for a bit. I think as humans, that level of resiliency kind of takes our breath away. To nearly die from jelly fish stings, but still try again, and again.

In my dream, I had just jumped off of a cliff and hurt my chin. I was waiting in line at an infirmary and Diana was in line too. “Oh, come with me.” she said “I can fix you up.”

She cleaned up the small cut on my chin and then asked if anything else was bothering me. “No.” I replied, feeling mostly fine. “How about your neck?” Diana asked? “Is your neck bothering you at all?”

“Now that you mention it,” I said “It does feel a bit tight.”

So Diana Nyad massaged the knots out of my neck and gave me heart advice. She told me about love, and the tenderness of our hearts, and that it was time to set my sights on someone new.

All of this from the Queen of Resiliency.

Last summer, at the age of 26, I experienced my first big heartbreak.
My boyfriend of nine years and I broke up.
I did the breaking.

This is not the same thing as nearly dying from jellyfish stings.
I am aware.
But nevertheless, the breakup took me down.

It took me months to realize that even though I was the “heartbreaker”
my heart was broken too.
I mourned a future that we had spent years planning.
I said goodbye to my life in Santa Monica.
I accepted that very odd truth,
that you can love someone
and still
they aren’t the person that you’re going to spend the rest of your life with.
I cried harder than I’ve probably ever cried.
and screamed
and learned what anger felt like.

I wrote letters that I will never send.

I learned what showing up for myself looks like.
And started doing that.
over and over
and over again.

and yet
that heart space is still so tender in me.

Sometimes, during a morning mediation, I’ll scan my body and actually feel shocked at how tender it is. I bring my attention there, and it’s like touching an open wound.

And I wonder
Will this wound ever heal?

Diana Nyad is a survivor of sexual abuse.
She nearly died from jelly fish stings.
She was blown off course during one of her attempts,
and encountered storms during another,
But she still tried
again.
and again
and again.

In my dream, Diana Nyad told me to try again with love. She took sweet care of me, made sure that all my wounds were healed, but then told me to get my butt back out there.

This feels scary because
when I love,
I love hard.
So when I fall,
I fall hard.

In her TED talk (given after her second attempt) Diana asks, “Do you have it? Are you ready?” Later, she says, “Because there is going to be pain. There is going to be suffering.”

Diana certainly didn’t have to dive into the ocean.
She would have saved herself a whole lot of pain.
But then, she wouldn’t be the Diana Nyad, Queen of Resiliency, would she?

For those of us that play big,
that love big,
there is no other way.
We feel we must dive into the deep end.
To try the big scary thing.

I don’t want weeds to grow around my heart.
I don’t want to lock it in, keeping myself safe.
So even though my heart is still aching,
I’m learning to swim again.
to enjoy the silence that comes from being underwater,
the heartbeat that comes with each new stroke.

I am coming up for air when I need it.
And am trusting
that soon,
I will be strong enough for the deep end.

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6 thoughts on “Diana Nyad and I

  1. mywritedrawer

    This was a lovely piece and a reminder that we all need to keep on swimming… maybe perfect the crawl and then move on to another stroke.
    Hearts are resilient… just when you think it’s broke, broke, broke…a mend can begin.
    Kudos for this!

    Liked by 1 person

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