Little Struggles: Every Day We Are Given Another Chance.

It has been almost six months since our relationship transcended friendship.  In those six months, I have been grateful for every day.  This is not to say that every day has been easy or that every day has been without struggle or hardship, because that is not the case.  There have been days where it seems all was lost.  Days when I feared it was over.  And days when, if even for a mere few hours, it was.  These days are not easy.  They are full of emotion.  They fill me with fear and anger and sadness.  And in the midst of a day such as this, when it seems the whole world is crumbling to pieces and there is nothing I can do to stop it, I simply have to realize that this is true... there is nothing I can do to stop it.

Have you ever been surfing?  It is the single most difficult, amazing, liberating and frightening thing I have done in my life thus far.  You start on the shore, dry, content, warm, perhaps there's a breeze.  Life is good.  The waves look amazing, the water is blue, the sky is blue.  You see other surfers out on their boards, awaiting the next exciting wave and you think, "Wow, it's such a great day for surfing.  Look how easy those other surfers make it look!"

So you get your board, strap the safety cord to your leg and carry it out to the water with high hopes and thoughts of wave-riding glory.  And as you descend the sand, the waves look bigger than they did when you were on shore.  And as you lay your board, which is now a part of you, an extension bound to your person, onto the water and wade out into the waves, you feel excited and powerful.  And then the first wave hits you.  And maybe you saw it coming and you held your board and jumped over it.  Then the second wave hits you, and you got salt water in your face, but you laughed it off and prepared for the next one.  With determination you push over the waves until you realize that you should get on the board, because you can no longer jump the waves on your own.  

Now you depend on the board.  The board and yourself must work together to get past the waves you encounter now.  And you have to paddle.  You HAVE to paddle.  You can't stop, except when a wave comes, then you must work with your board, push it and yourself into the wave and through.  After all of this struggle you finally make it out beyond the break.  You and your board, together, have made it to a place of calm.  Exhausted, but proud of your accomplishment.

It is time to wait.  Time to rest, alert, on your board and await a suitable wave.  The sun feels warm on your skin, the water cool on your toes.  You are happy in the water on your board.  But a wave comes and together, you decide to try for it.  You paddle as fast as you can and feel for the moment the wave is ready to take you and if you're lucky, it does.  And the ride is great, and the wave is just what you expected and your board handles the ocean with ease and you trust each other to do your part.

Time to paddle back out.  The wave was glorious.  You're ready for another.  Exhilarated, you jump and duck waves like a pro until you reach the familiar calm of the ocean beyond the break.  And again you wait.

Another wave comes, and you and your board take the challenge.  And this time the wave is too fast, or doesn't take your board.  So you wait some more.  This new wave takes you.  And you are doing everything right, and the board is doing everything right and then something changes.  Something you could never have anticipated.  Something, perhaps, unknown.  This time you fall.  This time you are thrown into the wave.  Into the blue ocean.  Into the great abyss.

Stricken by fear, you may try to paddle, you may try to reach for your board.  You may struggle for air or panic and thrash.  Your board may have been ripped to the end of its cord, you may have no concept of where it is.  Or it may be right on top of you, tumbling in the blue ocean with no sense of direction.

But the right thing to do, the thing that will get you through best, is surrender.  Let the ocean take you and trust that all will be well.  Let your body flow with the water and you'll come up for air in no time.  What's more, you won't have spent all of your energy fighting the inevitable.

Now comes the true test.  After such a frightful ride and such a taxing paddle-out ahead, do you go back out?  Do you grab your board and paddle, weak and exhausted, back out to the deep calm of the ocean?  What if the next wave is like this last one?  What if it's worse?  What if you break your board, or lose it, or injure yourself?  Or get lost?

 

My relationship, I feel, follows this metaphor.  Every day there is a new wave, or set of waves to choose from. Some days are just like the serene blue ocean beyond the break, and we float together peacefully, letting waves pass us by.  Some days are a killer ride on an awesome wave and everything goes perfectly, the excitement and joy that we find together through a moment of unity is spectacular.  There are days when I feel like all I'm doing is paddling out.  Others when all I do is fall and tumble and struggle to breathe.  Sometimes I fight against ocean, the fear of losing my board or myself overwhelms me, other times I surrender and allow the moment to flow over me, trusting that I am connected to my board and that we'll find each other after this passes.  

Sometimes though, if the wave was really bad, or the fall left me searching for my board, I become afraid that every day is going to be like that.  Or worse.  I forget about the good altogether and fear the bad.  I question my ability to surf.  Maybe I compare myself to other surfers and see how well they are doing compared to me.  I become doubtful.  I lose faith in myself, in my board, in the ocean.

 

Every day has little struggles.  Every day brings new waves.  The one thing I've tried to do, as this relationship has progressed, is to be patient with myself.  To allow myself to be scared and to allow happiness.  Allow myself to feel the sun and the water.  To commit to trying.  To commit to being there.  

I choose my partner.  For all that he is.  I choose to be with him.  I choose to confront life and to be brave and to try.  I understand that it will not be easy.

I surrender to the whims of the ocean.  Because there are scary times, but the good times are so so worth the struggle.

jackson7263 jackson7263
26-30, F
1 Response Apr 4, 2010

You have chosen to make your life more difficult than it needs to be. This is unfortunate. Are you in it for the excitement? I hope you don't bring kids onto this roller coaster because they don't have the same choice you do. Let's not forget that bi-polar is genetically inherited and is the most hereditary of the psychiatric illnesses, if you have kids with your partner there's a 15% chance your kids will have it.