Yesterday I swam in a lake without really planning it.
In fact, I had actively planned NOT to swim in said-like, fearful as I was of its unseen inhabitants and of the certainty of gross and squishy shit to step in on the way back to the dock.
But how often are you on a lake with your friends these days?
I took my shirt off and marveled at the fresh air on my pale skin. I did not wince at exposing my heaviness to the clear sky. I could not figure out how to safely wriggle out of my shorts without toppling the canoe entirely, so I just left those on. (I know you were wondering.)
I set down my paddle and scooted my way carefully to the back of the canoe. (I like canoes.) I wish I could paint you a portrait of grace and ease, but in reality, I am fucking astonished that I did not upend that little boat and send poor Kati Grace hurtling into the lake herself.
But the point is that I slipped off the back of the canoe somehow and I ended up submerged in cool lake water, surrounded by unseen fishes and musk turtles, and I thought about forgiveness.
I thought of propelling myself through water with my arms and legs that are still strong, whatever else I might think of myself. I thought of laughing up into the sunshine, surrounded as I was by love and consideration. I thought I was allowed to have those things.
You would laugh at me, I know, and it’s okay, but I think I hoped the lake would fix me. I let the lake water get into my shorn hair and I let the fish nibble away my dead and useless skin.
I think maybe the lake did some healing magic, if only because I asked it to.
Because what is the lake with your best friends if not for some sunset witchy stuff? So near to the Sturgeon Moon, I wrote down what I dream of the most and I set it on fire and I watched it float along the lake that had safely surrounded my sad, soft body just hours earlier.
I don’t know if you’re supposed to tell people these things. Is it the same as wishing on a star or on a penny? If I tell you, it won’t come true? I reject that. I think telling you is the only way it can come true.
“I dream of forgiving myself” is what I set ablaze with one of those long, skinny lighters and then dropped into a little lake before holding hands with my friends and looking at the clouds.
I dream of forgiving myself.
Maybe it is less of a dream than a choice. I choose to forgive myself. And I forgive you too, I must. I think I said good-bye to you in an actual dream last night and my head and stomach hurt a little today, if I’m being completely honest, but it is okay.
I forgive myself, which I think I am just discovering only I have the power to do.
I know I talk about moving forward A LOT and I very seldom heed my own wisdom. But maybe this time. Maybe the lake was what was missing. Sometimes it’s just easier to think in a different spot, you know? Sometimes it’s just easier to breathe and be still out on a dock, surrounded by people you love, with the promise of cupcakes and wine and scary movies back at the cabin.
I am afraid of jumping, I am afraid of leaping. But I have slipped off a canoe of some kind (forgive me) more than once in recent memory and maybe I have inhaled a lot of murky water, but I have made it back to the dock each time, mud between my toes notwithstanding.
(I don’t know where this is going, but it felt important to tell you.)
It’s just this, I guess, really, what I want you to know:
I forgive myself. You don’t have to.