The Scars of who we are. 
Part V
From the night which covers me, as dark as shadow of the darkest abyss, with only a blanket of stars to guide my way, I thank God for my unconquerable soul. In the fell clutch of chance and circumstance I have not winced nor cried aloud. Bludgeoned by both chance and circumstance my head is bloody, yet unbowed and beyond this place, past the tears and brokenness and all my despair, is my rebirth and beginning life anew. The past is behind me and if that or other demons shall menace me, they’ll find me unafraid.

 It’s never as bad you think, so many things we all take for granted, such as life. It’s like when I was nearly drowned when I was just a little over four and my mscan0016other had taken me to her sister’s to swim. Her sister had married into money and lived in a mansion with her husband Skip. The pool was immense, with an indoor pool that connected to a much larger outdoor pool. Usually my mother would leave me to my own devices and I would jump in with my little floaties and swim around having a ball and sometimes I would bring toys with me and have epic battles at sea. Usually with my old he-man, GI-Joes, or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toys.  However this one day, this one day, I had taken off my floaties to go the bathroom and to then wanted to lay down on one of the benches to bake in the sun. Mostly because I was tired and had after after a few hours in the pool by myself I had grown a bit bored, so I wanted to relax in the sun for a bit. My mother however had other plans, when I returned from the bathroom; she scooped me up in her arms and tossed me into the deep end of the pool.

                At the time I still didn’t know how to swim and still required my swimming floaties , but she had thought it’d be fun to toss me into the deep end of the pool. I still remember the laughing that ensued as hit the water screaming. Then how I thrashed and gasped for air, until I eventually began to sink, all the while envisioning her diving in after me, but help never came. Every time my head broke the surface of the water, I cried out and every time I saw her and my aunt laughing hysterically, neither one making any kind of move to me, in fact, they weren’t even looking at me. The memory of that will always stick with me, no matter how hard I try to forget. I know I was just a child, but I think we always remember the time when we’re almost killed. Although I must admit I’ve always had a extraordinary memory, not photographic, but I remember a lot and sometimes I feel like I remember too much.
                But did you know that when you’re drowning you don’t actually inhale until right before you black out? It’s called voluntary apnea. It’s like no matter how much you’re freaking out; the instinct not breathe in any water is so strong that you won’t open your mouth until you feel like your head’s exploding. Then when you finally do let the water in, it stops and it stops being scary. In a way it’s… almost kind of peaceful, giving up and just letting the water in. But, sometimes, if you can endure that excruciating pain, making you feel as if your heart and lungs are about to explode, with your head feeling as though it’s fit to burst, if you hold on just for just a few more precious seconds of life, you slowly sink and hit the bottom. It’s then once you hit the bottom that you can find the strength to fight the shadows that are encroaching on your vision and as you cling so desperately those last few seconds of precious life, you can find the strength within yourself to fight your way back to the surface.  (And life is always worth holding onto in my opinion) So no matter how dark your world becomes, if you hold on, you may be surprised by what you find and by the courage that’s been lying dormant within you and the strength to persevere.
                Once I felt my bottom touch the bottom of the pool, I summoned what little strength I had and kicked off from the bottom, then clawed my way back to surface. I don’t know if it was really me, or the grace of God, or simple good luck, but I believe it was God who guided me to the pool’s ladder. But what I can tell you with absolute certainty, that when my head finally broke the surface of the water, and as I coughed and gasped for breath, I saw the ladder was right there in easy reach. Frantically I reached for it, hugging it tightly against me as I pulled myself against it as I coughed up a lungful for water, hearing my aunt teasing me, warning me not to drink all the water in her pool, as I climbed furiously up the ladder.

Looking up at them at that moment, I don’t think I ever before or since felt such anger towards anyone in my life. My mother and aunt just standing there, laughing like nothing had ever happened, as if I’ve done this stupid thing to myself, ignoring the fact I nearly drowned. So I took a breath and summoned up the most hurtful words I could string together.

“I hate you and wish you both were dead!” (That got her attention)
Before I knew it she had stormed over to me and I tensed up, half expecting her to toss me back into the pool, instead she gripped the underside of my arm, digging her nails painfully into my flesh as she wrenched my arm up and proceeded to beat the living crap out of me, spanking my backside as hard as she could, with the first swat knocking me off my feet, but she held me firmly by the arm, preventing me from going anywhere. I can still remember how her nails bit deeper into my arm as she continued to hit me, enough times that I eventually lost count and once she was done she tossed me the ground as if I was some little annoying plaything, that disgusted her and ordered me to be quite, otherwise a second beating would follow.
                I never did understand how I warranted the beating I received that day, or the grounding that followed. To me it seemed a bit extreme, being as I was the one who nearly died and granted my words may have been a bit spiteful, but I was still a kid and I had every right to be angry with her. It was also the first time I really began to wonder if she hated me, for she showed no remorse and never gave me so much as an apology.
                Now I know if you’re reading this, you’re thinking I didn’t have very many sunny days. But not every day was dark and stormy. Yes I know my life hadn’t always been all sunshine and rainbows either. But it’s the bad days that make us appreciate the sunny ones and for me, my sunny days were the greatest. I got to have an involved father who loved spending time with me, taking me out to movies, parks, who taught me how to play and always had something planned for us to do whenever I got to see him. I had the best grandmother in the world, who later took me in and showed me how a true mother should be and I’ll forever love and miss her dearly. I also had some pretty incredible friends who took me in, dusted me off and became like family to me. In a weird and roundabout way, it was like God saw how broken and lonely I was, so he helped me make the right kind of friends, those who would help fill the hollowness in my chest, left by mother and her family. So take it from me, the next time you’re feeling all alone in the world, take time to really think about all the people in your life, the ones you may sometimes try to push away, but always come back anyway, or the ones who simply wait till you’re ready to return to them. Someone does love and care for you and you’re special in your own way and incredibly unique and an amazing person to boot. Think about everything you’ve endured and you’re still here! You’re not just a survivor, you’re a warrior! You’re tougher than anything this life or the other throws your way. And you are, so yes life will kick you around sometimes. It scares you and beats you up, but there’s a day when you realize you’re not just a survivor, you’re a warrior and you’re a fighter. You’re tougher than anything it throws your way. You are.
                Before I get too far away from the time I almost drowned, I need to tell you I have social anxiety, which many often confused for mere shyness. This anxiety often feels like you’re drowning and you can’t breathe and I know there’s medication for anxiety, but there’s usually so many side effects you’re usually better off learning to deal with it like I have and for the most part I’ve overcame most of it and came a very long way. But like most people I have my good days and bad days and there are numerous factors, such as if I’m alone, or in a familiar environment etc. Then again I have my days when I walk into a room full of strangers and within minutes be the center of attention and charming everyone around me. But sometimes, I struggle and I feel like I’m drowning and these are the times I usually need a friend to help me out. So I decided to write this for this purpose, since I’ve experienced friends or family who has told me to simply get over it, or talk. But it’s hard sometimes and for any of us who suffer any kind of anxiety, we need a little time and patience, understanding. We will get through it, just be patient with us, believe it or not I think most are like me and slowly working through it, may never be as fast as you would like, but we can’t be rushed.
                But Like I said, I’ve made great strides in overcoming my anxiety by first getting a job where I’m forced to deal with the general public on a regular basis and whenever I’m out and feeling particular confident I try to strike up a conversation with a stranger, which is always scary and a bit nerve wrecking at times, but hey, I’m a writer and it’s my job to meet and get to know people. Also I found working out has helped me a lot, it took me about two years of working out at home until I eventually got the confidence to join a gym which I did and began making it a point to go about four or fives times a week. Becoming physically fit has helped my confidence a great deal and I found that the better you feel about yourself the easier it is to deal with social situations. So these are just my tips and I’m always trying to better myself, more so now than I have in my previous years, because I’ve learned that everyone has a story to tell and their stories can only add to your own.