• Madison Kolla

The Plunge



** I wrote this nearly a month ago, and didn't feel right about publishing it until now. Something has since shifted and I'm feeling much more myself. Yay spring! Yay acupuncture and herbs!

Big thanks to the amazing supportive humans in my life who help me through. xx mm

Life is a journey. Life is a highway.

Life is a river with a strong and insistent current.

Mostly, I've been lucky - able to float with that current, to be carried forward in a way that's felt safe and secure and purposeful. I've enjoyed some lovely scenery, some lazy meandering waters and some fun little rapids. And then, something happened. As somethings often do.

Something scary, something traumatic, something transformative, something devastating, something derailing. Something that shook me to my core, left me questioning every decision I've ever made, every path that brought me here.

Here, where I've spent the past 6 months desperately clinging to the banks. Scrambling, clawing, fighting to keep my head above the water. Willing the current to slow, to stop, to give me a minute to catch my breath. Rendered so terrified, that I consider climbing out of the river entirely.

I'm left wondering why on earth more people don't.

Rivers carry much more than ordinary human lives. They carry detritus, debris. Things like floating logs that can be troublesome to navigate when they come up behind you, when they sideswipe you, when they catch you unawares. They can change your course, push you out of your comfort zone, scratch and scrape and bruise you. And as I refuse to swim, to float, to allow myself to move forward with the current - while clinging to the banks in frustration, half in and half out of the water - as that floating log comes whizzing towards me, you can bet I feel an impact. All of the impact, of each and every little bit of debris.

Deciding to carry on would probably be less dangerous, would keep the unexpected from hitting me quite so violently. The bank is steep, and honestly, I'm not likely to make the climb up and out. Sometimes it feels like a strangely comforting option, but it's ultimately a fantasy - one that prolongs the holding and resisting, when the only real option left is to let go and try to keep one's head above water.

Fear and panic and anxiety and resistance is embedded deeply, like riverbank dirt under my fingernails - maybe I've forgotten how to swim, maybe I'll sink like a rock, maybe this river isn't going to get me where I thought I needed to go. There's frustration and anger - I wasn't supposed to be a clinger or a climber, I was so good at floating - this isn't me! And the inertia - after being paralyzed for too long, It's very difficult to want to get going again.

I've been playing a waiting game - secure in the knowledge that everything changes, I've assumed that I'd eventually feel ready to let go, drop in, carry on. Like one day, I'd suddenly wake up and feel strong and capable and buoyant and brave. Needless to say, this hasn't happened yet. And I'm left looking for other options. Maybe I could borrow some of those dorky water wings, put my pride aside and let them hold me up for a bit. Or maybe bravery is dropping in, despite not feeling buoyant. Despite not feeling strong or worthy, or capable. Maybe strength is a deep breath before the plunge.

#healing #learning #mentalhealth #breathing

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© 2013 by Madison Kolla | Photography by Michelle Pichert, Douglas Ludwig, Sherida Rae Taylor & myself.

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