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The Pier Jump

When I was young, I did a summer program led by local lifeguards in my hometown. They taught us about the sea, how deep, dangerous, and beautiful it is. We learned how to respect the veracity of the rip tides and appreciate its gifts. We conquered fears in the ocean, and the biggest one was the pier jump.

I've found the anxiety of healing reminds me of pier jump day. That anxiety of impending doom doesn't seem to go away. It's the way I felt as we made our way down the pier, knowing the only way I was coming back was in the cold water below. Climbing onto the rail, suddenly feeling insignificant and small, frozen on that platform. Fins up. Fins out. Step off. The crowd of parents, family, lifeguards watch expectantly. Hesitating, I can't seem to move my foot out into the open air. The terrifyingly open air. Thirty feet of open air. That feeling, that gut feeling when you finally step off.

The weightlessness takes over, engulfing me into the turbulent free fall. My stomach kisses my throat as the wind whips around me. I start to wonder when it'll all stop, when I'll meet the surface of the ocean.

And then it happens.

A plunge, an icy entrance. I'm a torpedo, bubbles crawling around me. My skin tingles with adrenaline and relief. I've made it. I'm alive, and I'm okay. I took the step, I hurdled my fear. And it was okay all along.

That's how I feel. I'm in a perpetual cycle of pier jumping. I'm constantly trembling in fear as I climb my pier, battling the anxieties, taking the plunge, and finally doing it. After the jump, I realize I'm finally okay.

I've jumped the pier a few times in my life. But metaphorically, I jump the pier everyday. I wake up everyday with my anxieties and fears. I worry about things I never worried about before, and some days I can never quite get myself to step off the pier. But what I've learned in this process is that there's always a pier to jump off of, and it won't be easy. But with time and the help of encouraging voices at the jump site, I am fully capable of overcoming my fears. So I take it day by day, pier jump by pier jump, and soon I won't think twice about stepping into the open air.

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