I never wanted anyone to watch me. I was afraid of embarrassing myself. I was never a skinny child...and I never could wear the cute, trendy swimsuits like my friends. Mine were usually from the "child plus" section in the specialty JC Penney catalog.
Somehow, I would muster the courage to walk around to the other side of the pool, stare up at the huge ladder, and place my foot on the first slippery rung. I would take my time climbing up, making sure that no jerk-faced kid was trailing too close behind my...behind.
When I finally reached the top, I would pause for a second and catch my breath. The change in altitude had a dizzying effect. My feet would wiggle on the sand-papery diving board, and, all of a sudden, I would wave frantically to my mom, friend, or whoever was there to watch me....forgetting all fears of embarrassment and just desperate for someone to witness this immeasurable amount of courage.
But then, with all eyes on me, I would laugh at myself, say "Who am I kidding?", and turn around and head back down the ladder. Going down was always more difficult than going up. Admitting I wasn't ready...admitting I was out of my element...admitting I had no business being there in the first place....were tough pills to swallow, especially since, at that age, I was still hiding pills in my turkey sandwiches so that I wouldn't have to actually launch them down my throat.
It's amazing to me that at the age of 25 (almost), I am still standing on that high dive, looking down at the water, contemplating jumping into the next, new exciting adventures in my life...but yet backing myself down the ladder before anybody gets hurt.