Battling the Riptide


I realize I speak often of life in the form or waves, ripples, and now tides. Riptides.

Battling the Riptide: I realize I speak often of life in the form or waves, ripples, and now tides. Perhaps it's my inner mermaid that always yearns for the...

Perhaps it’s my inner mermaid that always yearns for the happy oceanic life, which is funny considering I’m not much of a swimmer.

Battling the riptide: I realize I speak often of life in the form or waves, ripples, and now tides. Perhaps it's my inner mermaid that always yearns for the...

 Did I ever tell you the story of when I almost drowned?

My mom, another lover of water with an immense fear of the water, loved to take us to the lake. She’d pack ranch and bologna sandwiches, potato chips, and water in a cooler, she’d pile towels plus four kids (occasionally adding a few tagalongs) in her car. Once we were situated at the lake my mom would sunbathe under the sizzling Texas sun. I can smell the coconut now, she always smelled like sweet coconut on lake days. I love that smell.

Battling the Riptide: I realize I speak often of life in the form or waves, ripples, and now tides. Perhaps it's my inner mermaid that always yearns for the...

One day while at the lake (mom, siblings, and my brother’s friend, minus my dad who was deployed to Korea at the time),  I wanted desperately to swim with the big kids, so that’s what I did, sort of. I felt so free in the water, rising high and low, my feet barely touching the bottom of the lake. It was fun being light on my feet, almost magical, BUT that fun and magical feeling turned into a panic.

Battling the riptide: I realize I speak often of life in the form or waves, ripples, and now tides. Perhaps it's my inner mermaid that always yearns for the...

It felt like certain death..

High and low became bobbling and fighting to see and to be seen. I gasped grappling for air. I cried for help, and thankfully my heroes arrived. My big brother and his friend ran to my aid. They saved me from what felt like certain death. I was about eight, maybe seven. In that seven to eight years of being on earth, jousting with the water felt like the fastest and longest time of my life all wrapped into one.

Battling the Riptide: I realize I speak often of life in the form or waves, ripples, and now tides.Perhaps it's my inner mermaid that always yearns for the...

My mom’s eyes were different after that. She must’ve changed. She had to change. She sent me into the water, she felt like she was somehow responsible, but really it wasn’t her fault at all. But as a mother I now know why the color instantly drained from her face that she was working unrelentingly to gain color to. I believe that memory is stuck in my subconscious and it’s why although I feel the calmest near water, I’m also terribly fearful of it. I worry for my kids who aren’t super strong swimmers like their mama. (Yes, they have had swimming lessons.)

Battling the Riptide…

Anyway, the incident didn’t keep me away from water. When I was younger I wanted to climb mountains, jump on glass, and swim the deepest waters. I had no fear, despite looking death in the face. I wanted to return to light feet and open waters (pools worked too).  I thirst for that free spirit. I thirst for the days when fears didn’t set me back. I want to quench my thirst with all the dreams, leaps, and breathtaking magic that life has to give. But the riptide…

Battling the Riptide: I realize I speak often of life in the form or waves, ripples, and now tides. Perhaps it's my inner mermaid that always yearns for the...

When things seem to be going swell and life is back on track the riptide comes out of nowhere and tries to pull me in. I feel myself taking in the water once more bobbling, heaving, grasping on to life, trying to steadily find my way out of the current. The vicious current. FEAR.

The-Boy-at-the-BEACH Black and White

Life lately, has been me fighting little currents, mini riptides, that want to suck me in. I’m begging my younger self to set me free, let me be brave, strong, and carefree again. I don’t want to coast, I want to… Michael Phelps (?)  🙂

You know that feeling when you KNOW you’re destined for more… dare I say greatness, but something holds you back? That’s the feeling I’ve been having for the last two years. It’s the feeling I’ve wrestled with and won, but then there’s a rematch and I lose. I’m in a sick battle of ping pong. (Can you tell I’ve been watching the Olympics lately?)

Does anyone else feel this way? Am I alone? Half the battle is revealing my fears… right?


© 2016, Dean @Mrs. AOK, A Work In Progress. All rights reserved.

41 thoughts on “Battling the Riptide”

  1. Ranch and bologna?? Yeah, I have to try that one.
    Yes, I feel that way. *So much I can barely contain it.* And no, you aren’t alone. It is always during calm waters – that the biggest riptides hit.
    I climb and I fight and then it’s calm, and they come back. Rinse, repeat.

    1. I’m not sure you could pay me to try bologna and ranch again. 😀 It seems we were always running out of mayo, but we had an endless supply of ranch dressing. I haven’t had bologna since I was a kid.

      I’d say I’m glad I’m not alone, but I’d hate for you to feel the same as me. Although, when we’re up, we’re up and it’s GREAT (like really great, not like some people’s GREAT ::insert eye roll). I’d love to know what life is like (again) without all this push and pull. The mind is a strong muscle that I’m trying to shape, but I think I’m putting way too much in there for it to form the way I NEED it to be.

      Anyway, big adventures for you, m’friend!! I’m so excited for you!! I loved your post this morning. Why are we so similar? 😀
      Have the best time!!

  2. Mermaid? Did someone say mermaid?! Your childhood story says so much, not only about your life but your mother’s parenting. Of course scary incidents like that scar us all. I’m glad you survived and overcame it. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Yes, I did. 🙂 Mermaids unite!!

      It was a scary blip in my life that I often forget about, but somehow, like I said, I think it’s always subconsciously there. Life’s metaphor… bobbing, fighting, winning, family, and exhaling. Or something like that…

  3. Love this post.

    I used to feel like that more, but feel it less as I age I think. Or maybe I don’t fight it as much? I know part of the secret of surviving a riptide is remaining calm and not doing anything for a minute, then swimming parallel to the shore, which is the opposite of what we *want* to do – get back on land immediately. It requires faith and patience in ourselves…both a little hard to come by sometimes. And like your story, that is true for actual riptides and for life riptides!

    1. EXACTLY!!! It’s push and pull. I know what I’m supposed do, and I know how to do it, but I keep letting my stubborn ways pull me back. I was just saying to a friend, it’s like when we’re in our thirties we want to accomplish all the things, but direction (particularly parallel 😉 ), time and patiences… ?
      I hope to say I feel less like this soon.
      Thanks for always being a voice of reason, Steph!

  4. I feel that way all the time – like every day is an arming again. & im tired. I have huge plans but I’m so exhausted from just trying to keep my head above water that I don’t have the energy to try & potentially fail.

    1. I’m sorry, Jen. BUT if there’s one thing I know about you it’s that you’re a FIGHTER! You’re stronger and braver than you think. You inspire me to improve my photography skills, too. 🙂
      I think you’ll win this battle. Just keep swimming!

  5. This post touched me on so many levels. I’m feeling the need for change, to do something else with my life, but things keep pulling me back. I get that ping pong feeling, too. Plus, I’ve been thinking about taking swimming lessons. I can’t run anymore, so it’s time to find a new way to exercise. The only problem is that I don’t really like getting wet… 🙂

    1. You m’dear friend, I’m so happy and proud of you! You’re a QUEEN! 🙂
      Competing and putting yourself out there took so much courage, I sincerely admire that. I know you can do whatever you’d like, and know I’m always here to cheer you on!

      I can’t really run anymore either, my knees, but I try. Swimming would be awesome, but there’s a bating suite involved. 😀

  6. I’ve been feeling this way a lot lately. This summer especially I’ve been caught in a riptide, but just these past few weeks I think I’ve pulled myself out (at least for now).
    You are an amazing, creative woman, and I see you destined for greatness, my friend. If you ever need to chat, you know where to find me <3

    1. I’m SO LUCKY to have my Libra sister! I’m so thankful for you!
      Also, know I’m here for you. We need to ping pong off each other. 🙂

  7. I have leaned that what we do to survive the currents and riptide a prepares us for the next. Hopefully there are longer spaces between them and hopefully we recognize the patterns that are there to help us avoid many of them.

    1. Thank you for that, Terri! You’re totally right, what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, right? I just saw a great TedTalk about originals and failure, it was good to know I wasn’t alone and I’m in some great company with my current self creative struggle.

  8. Just reading your post sent me back to the days of swimming lessons and not being able to tread water nearly as long as I should have been able too. I see myself if your mom as well. I never thought to much about sending my kids into the water till a wave knocked my daughter over and tried to suck her back into the sea. Both sides are equally horrible to be in but like you said, just facing it is a way to overcome it.

    1. That had to be scary for you and for your daughter.
      I imagine that experience made the two of you stronger, a life lesson.
      Stinky life lessons.

  9. Your first few sentences had me feeling like you may have been my sister, the story sounded so familiar…. except…. the ranch LOL!! For us it was Bologna and Ketchup! (I know, ewwww haha). The rest of your reflection again brought me back to wondering if we were somehow related.. it all sounded so oddly familiar. I suppose as moms, women we all have a common bond somewhere, this may be it, the strong will to overcome and desire to be more.

    1. Bologna and ketchup…. niceeee! 🙂 Hey, when I was younger I use to eat ketchup and eggs (ewwww).

      I guess, it’s a good thing we’re all seeking some sort of greatness; that we have drive. BUT, we shouldn’t let it kill us, defeat us, but makes us stronger, and that’s where I’m and are hopefully heading.

      I’m glad to have a bond with you in womanhood, motherhood, and blogging, too.

    1. I guess we keep swimming. ?
      I watched a wonderful TedTalk this week that made me feel less conflicted. It made me see that I’m not alone in this struggle for greatness & the feeling of failure or fear of it. I’d share the link but I don’t have it on me, I’m on my phone. BUT I did share the link on Friday’s post. Maybe it’ll help you too. ??

  10. I’ve felt that way in the past but am floating in calm waters right now. Life is full of changing tides and just like in a real riptide, sometimes ya’ gotta let it take ya’ further out until you’re finally free.

    1. I think I’m finally sailing back to calm waters. I’m not there yet, but the angst seems to be receding.. thank goodness. 🙂
      Thank you for your sweet words!

  11. I think we all go through stages where we feel like we are drowning or being pulled under by the riptide. I’ve found that the best way to deal with it, is to acknowledge the fear and then work to overcome it. Sometimes just embracing the suck makes all the difference.

    1. Stupid inner demons!! Let’s make a pact to always slay those demons!!
      Wishing you a lovely rest of the week, Rebecca.

  12. Keep going. That’s what you do. And some day you’ll look back and be glad you did!

    In my own world, there is no reasonable way I should keep blogging. I’m not monetarily successful at it. But I can’t stop writing and other, different doors slowly, slowly open. It’s so interesting.

    So, keep going!

    1. You are completely right, Katy. Thank you!
      I’m excited to see what the future has in store for you and I!
      I’m so happy those doors are opening for you. I just need to be patient, I know it’ll happen. I also know I need to get out of my own way.

  13. I believe I was caught in a riptide this summer and I’m slowly working my way out of it. Life can come at you and stifle things sometimes. I’m hoping to be able to fully breathy (freely) soon. I feel you are destined for greatness. What ever you are holding back on, trust yourself and just do it. You’ve got this!

    1. Thank you, LOWANDA!!!
      I’m so grateful to have you in my corner. Seriously, that was a great pep talk, I need those sometimes. 🙂 Thank you!

      I’m glad you’re working your way out. I think going back to the place where you’re admired and you can be creative may help. 🙂
      We’ve got this this!

  14. What a great share! I love the water too but can’t swim so I always stay in the safe area or what I feel is safe. Fear is such a pain in my butt lately in certain areas in my life but I’m breathing through them one step at a time 🙂

    1. I think that’s the best thing you can do. I’m sure we’ll come out safe and sound on the other side, we just have to let go of that nagging fear.
      Wishing you all the best, Mari!

  15. I think we all feel this way at different times in our lives. Life is a constant battle of conquering our fears because we’re constantly growing and changing. I think the important thing is to never give up. Don’t let the fear win. This is something that I’m working on in terms of taking my blog and writing career to the next level. It’s scary and overwhelming to be chasing after what I want to accomplish, but when I think of my why and the rewards that will come from it, it’s worth it.

  16. I have felt like this since becoming a mom. I am bigger than this one thing and I have so much more to offer but I can’t do it all while molding two other humans how to be good citizens. I totally get the feelings you describe in this post!

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