being with water

Perched on the edge of the dock, the smallest amount of my flesh possible in contact with the wood, I try to appear casual, as if slipping into the water below is as routine and natural as drinking tea. A thing to do alone or with company. A commonplace activity we all learned to be comfortable with long ago. But it’s not. The tightness in my stomach tells me so. There are too many unknowns, suffocating memories, habitually reactivated fears. There is clearly a way to be with water that I haven’t discovered yet. An ease that exists, is present in those near me, but rushes into dark corners whenever I’m around. It’s not a thing to fake; “Look at me jumping, splashing, diving in!” Choking. Gasping. Drowning. Dead. Not a game of “breathe and push through it”, although I’ve played that one before and enjoyed the outcome. Sometimes fear is fear. The knot in my stomach tells me so. So I sit, chatting with the nearest soul, sunning myself, counting minutes off like elongated years, hoping no one will notice that I’m not yet wet.

— heidi kalyani, 2017 
from the *nothing is black and white* project: illustration created out of meditation with a single unbroken line