BlogHer 13 Bound!

July 24, 2013

Hello, Readers that Rule! I’m leaving for the airport in a matter of hours, and BlogHer 13 is looking me square in the face.

You just know how freaking weirdo I’m being right now. Gaaa.

Nervous small dog.

I won’t be posting anything new (I don’t think) while I am gone, so I thought I’d share one of my favorites from the archives. It’s a fitting one, because I could use a dose of brave right now.  Send me brave waves, would you? Love you dearly and I will most likely humiliate myself at least once this weekend, so there’s fertile soil ahead.  You know it.     *smooch*

ps: Who is bringing the Valium Salt Lick?



The summer before first grade, I jumped off the diving board. This was nothing less than the second coming.

Because that entire summer? I sat on the sidelines, my butt itchy from the grass and my eyes squinty from sun and my heart shrunken and black with envy as I watched my sister jump, arms flying,  into blue.

I could swim, sure. But always,  I sought the shallow water,  stomach wrenching in terror whenever my toes drifted even an inch off concrete.

Kids much smaller than I took  leaps off that diving board. I saw them. I wasn’t blind. I saw them pop to the surface, eyes wide and teeth flashing; not one of them died or called out for the lifeguard or (worst in my book) threw up in the water.

Once or twice, I made it as far as the stairs leading up to the board. I waited my turn in line,  feeling like a normal kid. But I wasn’t a normal kid, and I knew it in every inch of my skinny little limbs… limbs that ran like a startled goat the minute they touched the warm metal stairs.

Mama was kind about it. “You’ll jump when you’re ready,” she assured me, eyes shadowed by cat-eye sunglasses. “Nothing to be ashamed about.”

But I was ashamed. That board screamed, in green neon, what I already knew: Dana is not a brave girl.

My sister didn’t understand the drama. “Jeez, there’s little babies jumping off that thing,” she said casually. “What, you think there’s sharks in the water or something?”

Actually, I had my doubts about that last item. I mean, have you seen that dark metal grate at the bottom of the deep end? My butt remained on the grass.

One day, near the end of the summer, I watched a neighbor girl who had Down’s Syndrome jump off the diving board. For some reason, that undid me. “I’m going to jump off that board,” I announced to Mama, and marched to the end of the line.

When it was my turn, I tromped up the four rough, metal stairs and walked rapidly to the end of the diving board. And looked down.

I didn’t turn tail and run back. Instead, I froze.

Legs threatening to give, I stood there, staring at the water.  I heard a strange roaring in my brain and couldn’t even discern whether kids were laughing or jeering or shouting with impatience, which actually was a blessing.  Mama got up from her chair and stood close to me, raising her cat-eye glasses. Wordlessly, the blond lifeguard got down from his high perch, dove into the water, and swam to the end of the board. He winked and treaded water. “I’ll catch you,” he said.

I saw his lips move, registered the blue of his eyes, but I didn’t budge. Another lifeguard dove into the pool, flanked the other side of the board. Then the older brother of  Down’s Syndrome girl, a boy named Greg, got into the water as well. “There’s three of us now,” he said, and held out his arms.

His beautiful face turned to blur, and sobbing, I turned my back on all three of them, returning to the safety of concrete. My sister wouldn’t look at me, and I didn’t blame her. I parked my butt back on the grass next to Mama, who handed me a cup of Hi-C and scanned a magazine with Elizabeth Taylor on the cover. Nobody spoke to me the rest of the afternoon, and for that I was grateful.

A few minutes before the pool closed, Mama started packing up our things. The kaleidoscope of children and kickboards and inner tubes had dissipated, and as I rolled my towel up with brisk efficiency, I said, “I feel like I could jump off that board right now,” knowing that it was too late. Knowing I was a liar.

Mama took off her sunglasses and looked me in the eye. “Well, then,” she said measuredly, “I guess you’d best go do it.”

I damn near peed myself.

Gauntlet thrown, I approached the diving board, walked to the edge, threw my eyes to the sky for a quick prayer to Jesus, and jumped.

I gasped to the surface, rabbity-hearted, and waited for applause.

I never got any.  But I did get a chlorine-soaked towel and a soft hand on my back, leading me back to my beloved concrete and the shallow water. Back to home.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Contemporary Troubadour July 24, 2013 at 10:20 am

Rock that conference, Kitch! Looking forward to the post-trip rehash.


Kristen @ Motherese July 24, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Wait a hot second! I didn’t know you were going to BlogHer, you tricky minx, you. I hope you have a wonderful time – and don’t forget to leave your room periodically. Wish I could be there to hug you and lurk awkwardly next to you on the edges of the convention hall. xo


Justine July 25, 2013 at 11:45 am

Kitch and I just made plans to meet – I’m so excited! I’ll at least try to drag her out of her room then :-)

Wish you were here though! I think I have an unknown-to-myself wish to meet all my favorite bloggers eventually, so someday, Kristen…someday…

Kitch, I will just have to remember not to call you by this name when I see you. Haha. It’ll be tough! XO


ayala July 24, 2013 at 5:21 pm

Great :) Have a wonderful time!


Bananas4bourbon July 24, 2013 at 5:32 pm

You’re stronger than you think.
You’re smarter than you think.
You’re braver than you think.

Sing it, girl.

Hope this helps!


Alison July 24, 2013 at 11:16 pm

Being brave is when you do something that freaks you ou, without an audience. So you, my friend, you have balls. Have fun in Chicago!


Faemom July 26, 2013 at 12:14 am

You’ll be awesome. They’ll love you.

Sean tried the low dive last Friday at swim lessons. When he tried to leave the edge, a kindly lifeguard picked him up and threw him off. They did the same thing in Orange with little ones, with a life guard to catch them, to show there was nothing to be afraid of.


Biz July 26, 2013 at 7:27 am

You will be fine! After a bit of rain today, you’ll have sunny skies here – have fun!


elizabeth July 28, 2013 at 6:18 pm

I always love this story, because it reminds me lately of my own encounter with the Yips, which is when an athlete gets so in their head they can’t do the simplest thing they do, because LORD I got a case of the Yips last week during deadlifting (which is my favorite lift) and I struggled. I got through it, but it was SO difficult to do so.

In any case, if your Minxes ever experience this kind of anxiety that’s kind of new and scary, tell them that people who do this all of the time get scared too, because we all need a shot of perspective now and then. :)


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