If so, I feel as though we all need this walk down memory lane. Imagine, if you will, a dozen little kids in the pool in their brand new swim clothes, all wearing Styrofoam “bubbles” as they called them, practicing our kicking and clinging to the side of the swimming pool because our very lives depended on it.
The bubbles were football-shaped foam secured to our backs by a blue belt that fastened around our chests with metal clips. In my vast little kid knowledge, I’d never seen any swimmer wear such a thing, so it struck that ever-singing chord of curiosity.
We were told not to let go of the side of the pool. They yelled and yelled at us not to do that because we would sink. But this was a lot of talk and no action, so I let go. Just for a moment, mind you, to test it. I didn’t sink. But I really hadn’t given it much of a chance, so I let go again, and again my hands sprung back to the side of the pool to catch me. I let go of one hand, then the other, and I quickly got up my nerve to let go for slightly longer periods of time, daring to do a twirl before putting my hands back on the poolside. I twirled to the right, and, needing balance always in my movements then, I then twirled left. And I could feel during the twirls that the blue belt of the bubble was tightening and pulling on me. I looked around, and saw that no Styrofoam bubbles were under the water. In fact, on some of the kids, the bubbles were positioned even higher than their heads. It all made sense.
The girl on my right was crying from fear. “Look,” I said, and showed her what I could do when I let go. “You won’t sink. The teachers are wrong. The bubble will hold you up. See?”
She refused to let go, but she did calm down. The girl on my left started to test the theory, letting go of one hand and then the other. Soon the others started, all the way down the row of us against the pool edge. I let go completely and paddled around until I was a few feet from the edge.
Suddenly, whistles were blown and swim coaches were jumping in and that was the end of that. I tried telling the coaches that we all knew about the bubbles now, but the adult carrying me shushed me and had me hold the side of the pool again.
Remembering this, clearly I see that the adults were trying to keep all of us safe. And I appreciate that. I never was, and I’m still not, a troublemaker. I learn the rules, obey them, and try always to think of others first. But being led by fear and simply believing what I’m told, now those are things that have never worked for me.
Sometimes, when you’re in that kind of mire up to your eyeballs, inspiration strikes. That’s not something to ignore. Stick to your gut. Great discoveries are meant to be shared.
They’re meant to make a splash.
~ Jody Brown is the author of Upside Down Kingdom, and is a blogger, poet, and traveler. To learn more about her current writing projects, or for ways to donate toward their completion, see JodyBrown.com/writing.