Taking the Plunge

- by Kim Watters

I have an aversion to water slides. Crazy I know, but the steeper and longer the more the fear. Probably stems from the time I went down the slide that seemed so innocently easy. By the time I discovered just how steep the last drop was, it was too late. Let’s just say there was a yard sale for sunglasses, a hat and my pride at the bottom pool. The poor lifeguard wasn’t sure what to do. Help someone old enough to be her mother collect her stuff after she helped me find the surface or watch the next victim, I mean swimmer, come down the slide.  Somehow, she managed to do both.

So fast forward a year to our long weekend in Tucson this past summer. The resort pool had a water slide. So if you saw the woman in the black and white bathing suit hyperventilating near next to the entrance of the waterslide, that would have been me. Didn’t help that both my kids ran past me fast enough to cause a dust devil to appear.

“Come on, Mom. Let’s go.” My son grabs at my hand.

“Not today, dear.” I manage to squeak as I hear a scream before a teenager torpedoes into the pool.

“Aw come, on Mom.” Now my six-year-old gets into the action. “It’s fun”

So why did I hear you scream all the way down the first time?

“Chicken.” They both clamor together as they make another mad dash to the stairs. “You don’t now what you’re missing.”

“Maybe on the last day.” I mumble and head back to my nice, safe lounge chair.

Of course, that’s the moment my kids decide to have radar hearing. In their minds, I’ve made the commitment to go. In my mind, maybe is a definite no.

My kids remind me of my critique group.

“When are you going to send in your proposal?”

“Soon.”

“Chicken.” They all give me the ‘that’s no excuse’ look.

“Maybe when it’s ready.” I mumble and reach for my nice, safe wine glass.

“It is ready. What are you afraid of?”

What am I afraid of? Another rejection? Another yard sale? Or a moment to let go, savor the moment and have some fun?

So, on the last day of our vacation, with no choice, really, because I couldn’t disappoint my kids, I escaped from my comfort zone and crept up those stairs. And yes, I hyperventilated a bit as I stood at the top waiting for my turn. At last, the dreaded moment had arrived. I sat down and pushed myself off. I twisted, I turned, I laughed once I let go of my fears. And at the bottom, I hit the water with a splash that would make Orca proud. But I did it. And I did it again. And again until it was time to leave.

Just as I send out the proposal time and time again. With each time it got easier. The same with the water slide. By the end, I was looking forward to the climb, or the trip to the post office. Because each time, it meant another step closer to victory.

I made it to the bottom of the slide and the top of the editor’s pile. This last time, instead of a big splash into the pool, I learned how to position myself so that my head stayed above water. This last book I sent in finally made it to contract. On Wings of Love is available February 2010.

So what’s keeping you from taking the plunge?

Let go of the fear and live life to the fullest. There’s nothing better than to see the adulation in your kids faces at the bottom of the pool, or finally getting that phone call from the editor after years of hard work .

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