tests. they get me every time. i’m talking about turn my stomach in knots anxiety. it can be insignificant quizzes or major exams – it doesn’t matter which. regardless of how much time i’ve devoted to studying, as soon as i’m actually sitting down, ready to perform, my mind goes blank and my heart races. i second guess all my answers. i confuse myself. multiple choice tests are the worst. i even missed one too many questions on my first written driving exam and came home without a license.
two summers in a row i had to retest all my lifeguarding skills through the city of phoenix aquatics department. diving 12 feet down to retrieve a 10 pound brick and then tread water with it for two minutes was not one of my favorite tasks. treading water alone i can handle, and i even like. the older women in my water aerobics class were not as appreciative when we met in the deep end.
it’s the weighted down pressure during the test that i dread.
it’s been years since i’ve been called “lifeguard lady” in a thick spanish accent. i don’t have the high neck tan lines from my red guard suit and three, sharp whistles in a row don’t make me jump. but i still get the knotted stomach and shortened breath when i think i’m sinking.
“now, sometimes it’s hard to even stay afloat.” jessica marie luchenta wrote that our junior year in english class… and 11 years later the entire poem follows me. i know how to stay afloat… it sounds so easy when i explain that there’s more to life and a heavenly father is in charge and mindful of us. but while that knowledge comes easily, it’s the everyday remembering that is a little bit harder.
i feel the same way i did after this peru trip as i did last year when i returned home from africa… a little lost and lot confused. mostly about what i’m doing with my life and where it’s going. it may seem like trivial matters. i recognize there are much more pressing issues happening throughout the world and in the individual lives of people i know. but the imagined brick grows heavier, as my legs grow weary and i seem to forget the pool gutter is within reaching distance.