Friday, June 8, 2012
(This one is a little longer than my usual posts—sorry!)
For over a month, I’ve been planning this post. Originally, I was going to write (once again) about myself. About how I keep submitting and querying and how I’ll never give up, no matter how many rejections I get and blah, blah, blah.
But I changed my mind.
Today’s post isn’t going to be about me. It’s about other people in my life. People I believe in, and who inspire me. People I know will someday have the world at their feet if they continue to persevere. That person could be you. Or someone you know. Or someone you’re related to. (But don’t ask if it is, because I’m not telling.)
The Girl Who Never Gave Up
There once was a girl who yearned to swim. When she was little, her parents introduced her to water, and she taught herself to stay afloat. Later in life, she visited nearby pools and lakes, where she learned how to backstroke, and breaststroke and butterfly.
One day, she saw a picture of the ocean, with its endless expanse of crystal blue, and knew that someday she would go there to swim and live forever. That same day, a friend told her about sharks, barracudas, swordfish, and a whole lot of other scary creatures who could swallow her whole should she ever encounter one.
And the girl was afraid.
That friend told her that these creatures swam faster than any person, that their teeth were sharper than the blade of any knife, and that they were experts at hide and seek.
And the girl, however much she longed to swim, pictured the ocean as a dark, frightening thing. A place where no self-respecting, independent young lady should visit. But her desire to go there, to bask in that never-ending stretch of water, would not die, no matter how hard she fought the idea.
In the back of her mind, she began to plan. Twice a day, and often more, she practiced swimming. In pools. In rivers. In lakes. She learned to scuba dive, and studied books about creatures of the sea. She joined the swim team, and though she competed well, swam better than many other swimmers, was eventually cut from the team because she refused to stay within the dividing lines.
Then something terrible happened. Her beta fish—a most trusted, loyal companion—died. His final wish was that she not flush him—as most people would have done—but instead, to release his body to the sea. So on that day, when she was more alone than she’d ever been, the girl faced her greatest fear, and also experienced her greatest dream. She saw the ocean. And after she’d released her fish, she dove in herself.
The fresh, cool water invigorated her senses, reawakening the hope that fear had tried to extinguish. She swam and swam and swam until she encountered a shark. The shark opened its enormous mouth, and the girl cried, “Please, don’t eat me!” And swam with all her might.
The shark gave chase, snapping a powerful jaw full of razor-sharp teeth. But the girl was faster, and eventually, she got away. When she made it back to shore, she crawled up on the sand, realizing something about her was different. The ocean had changed her.
Not only was she no longer afraid of the ocean, she wanted to stay in it. Live in it. No amount of scary creatures could keep her from this place, this thing, that she loved. After many, many years, and hours and hours of swimming, conditioning, practicing, she experienced the biggest miracle of her life.
She grew gills and a fin. And with a shout of, “Never surrender!” the girl swam away, never remembering that she’d been cut from the swim team or that she’d been afraid of the ocean or that someone had convinced her that her dream was impossible.
And guess what? She lived happily ever after.
(If you think that story was cheesy, then most likely, it was meant for you. Also, there are a bazillion more cheesy stories where that came from, but I try to keep them out of my “real” writing. Usually. Most of the time. I swear!)
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