I’m going to do my best swan dive

Last week I officially accepted the admission offer to enter Old Dominion University’s Human Factors Doctorate program.  I typed out the official email, pressed the Send button and cried.  I have been very emotional lately due to exhaustion and stress.  I had a migraine for 48 hours recently because I allowed all the tension in my body to slowly creep into my shoulders, neck and temples.  I was holding too much inside even though I’d cried multiple times in the last six weeks.  This time, I let it all out.  I tried to make sense of my emotions.  Emotions are just information. Why was I so upset?

I’m proud of myself.

Whew. Yeah, I said it.  I’m proud of myself.  I’m happy.

Despite all the nonsense, drama, pain, anger and mistakes of my past, I’m here.  I made it this far and it feels so good to be able to say to myself, “I made it this far and now I’m getting my PhD.”  How can a girl come so far in just two years when she spent most of her life (no, wasted most of her life) thinking she wasn’t worth much, didn’t deserve much and certainly wasn’t good at much?  I don’t know the answer to that question.  All I know is that I worked hard and made many changes in my life since August 2008.  Sometimes I forget my life before 2008 even existed.

I’m happy with my life right now. I’m happy to be me.  I’m happy even though some days I cannot and do not get out of bed because I’m so exhausted and sad.  I’m happy despite the physical and emotional extremes with which I live daily.  I’m happy despite  longing for someone to hold me in his arms while I cry during these important moments in my life.  I’m happy despite the panicking, stressing, regretting, questioning and failing.  People ask me why I would put myself through this kind of stress day in and day out.  This is who I am and this is where I am supposed to be.  I am willing to make sacrifices because this is what I want and need in my life in this moment.  This is who I am.

As I was having my break down in the middle of the afternoon at my desk, I thought about a song (as I often do during times of reflection).  I always hoped that one day I’d get to a point where I truly felt comfortable in my own skin and with my life.  I hoped to find a moment when I knew I’d taken a swan dive into a new life and come out the other side alive and thriving.

I am… alive.  Thriving.  Content.  I’m in love with many people and many things.  I’ve learned so much about myself, my friends and family, my goals, desires, dreams and needs.  I’m thankful to all the people who helped me see that I am worth something to them. I am blessed to have each of them in my life. I’m happy.  I’m also proud to call these individuals friends. I’m proud that my hard work is paying off in the little moments. That is why I was crying.

To be where I am and who I am today, I had to recognize what I was doing was no longer working.  I had to love myself.  I had to do my best swan dive. Sometimes words written by another capture what we feel and what we want to say better than we can ourselves. So, here is the song that has come full circle for me since I began grad school.


Swandive – Ani Difranco

I’m cradling the softest, warmest part of you in my hands
Feels like a little baby bird
Fallen from the nest
I think that your body is something I understand
I think that I’m happy
I think that I’m blessed
But I’ve had a lack of inhibition
I’ve had a loss of perspective
I’ve had a little bit to drink
And it’s making me think
That I can jump ship and swim
That the ocean will hold me
That there’s got to be more
Than this boat I’m in
They can call me crazy if I fail
All the chance that I need is one-in-a-million,
And they can call me brilliant if I succeed
Gravity is nothing to me
I’m moving at the speed of sound
I’m just gonna to get my feet wet until I drown
I teeter between tired
And really, really tired
I’m wiped and I’m wired
But I guess that’s just as well
Cuz I’ve built my own empire
Out of car tires and chicken wire
And now I’m queen of my own compost heap
And I’m getting used to the smell
I’ve had a lack of information
I’ve had a little revelation
I’m climbing up on the railing
Trying not to look down
I’m going to do my best swan dive
In the shark-infested waters
I’m gonna pull out my tampon
And start splashing around
Cuz I don’t care if they eat me alive
I’ve got better things to do than survive
I’ve got the memory of your warm skin in my hands
And I’ve got a vision of blue sky and dry land
I’m cradling the hardest, heaviest part of me in my hands
The ship is pitching and heaving
Our limbs are bobbing and weaving
I think this is something I understand
I just need a couple vaccinations
For my far-away vacation
I’m going to go ahead and go boldly
Cuz a little bird told me
That jumping is easy
That falling is fun
Right up until you hit the sidewalk
Shivering and stunned
They can call me crazy if I fail
All the chance that I need is one-in-a-million
And they can call me brilliant if I succeed
Gravity is nothing to me
I’m moving at the speed of sound
I’m just gonna get my feet wet until I drown

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14 thoughts on “I’m going to do my best swan dive

  1. SO insanely proud of you.

    Since getting to know you in the last few months, you exude more gratitude, passion and wisdom than most people I know. You are a GEM. And? You’re sincere.

    Thanks for your beauty & honesty.

    Remember me when you’re winning awards, writing books and kickin’ asses & takin’ names, okay? :)

    1. This comment really helped make my morning. This means a great deal coming from someone I admire and respect. You are an amazing woman and I thank you SO much for such a kind comment.

      And I will most definitely remember you, lady. 😀

  2. Wow, congratulations! That is amazing! You SHOULD be so proud of yourself. I hope that sending the email gave you a little bit of relief and at least one good night’s sleep. You deserve it!

  3. You are one of the most inspiring people I have ever met, and I am privileged to call you my friend. Seriously.

    I say this a lot, but it’s very true: I am so so proud of you, and for how far you’ve come personally, academically, professionally etc.

    And I’m so proud of you for swan diving into it all, and finding just how worth everything you actually are.

  4. I just stumbled upon your blog and this entry made me cry (in a good way) because I am SO THERE. It’s my first year of grad school and the crying and exhaustion and the not getting out of bed thing… I get that. You are so not alone…you will totally get through it and it will be so rewarding! Congratulations on all your success (because survival sometimes is the biggest success) thus far!

    1. Wow. Your comment made me all teary! THIS is why blogging is so wonderful. You will make it, too! The first year is absolutely the hardest. It’s always hard, but that first year is filled with so many life adjustments. HUGS to you.

  5. I adore this. Congratulations to you for working SO hard and for accomplishing so much, not for the sake of accomplishment but for the sake of passion. I love and admire you working so hard to do the things you do and to pursue these endeavors of yours. I think your overflowing of emotions is totally normal – no doubt you kept your emotions bottled up while trying to auto-power your way through hard work lately. It’s ok to let them spill out. Swan dive, beautiful girl!

  6. Wow! Congrats to you, and that is an amazing song. I know how you feel when you say that you forget that life before 2008 existed for you. Sometimes my life before about a year ago (law school, a sorority, and many other not-really-me decisions) seems like a past life. Now I am really living and it feels great. Cheers to making conscious decisions towards an empowered and happy life.

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