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That time I went off the deep end

Every time I write an entry I try to remember my childhood. I switched away from simple comments about pictures. Doing that for 284 days or so would have driven me insane. Instead I'm using the remaining entries in this year-long project to write out my own autobiography, or at least to make an attempt at one. I do realize the some parts of it I have to leave out because I'm not the only one in the family who will be reading this. Although I don't mind telling my own story, some people don't like their stories being told. Since I must tell both the dark and the light, I think it's better for me to only focus on myself.

Childhood is the best place to start an autobiography because it's the beginning. Like every story, even our own stories have a beginning, middle, and end. Of course, I must be somewhere in the middle now if I'm able to write to you about my own beginning. If time is not linear, as some physicists theorize, the end may have already transpired. In the space of our memory, all things happen at once. All moments are a flash within now. That is why my stories will jump around the time line a bit.

Throughout my journey, I've never been alone. Despite the days of not so happiness, there’s always been a force that protects me and prevents me from hitting the absolute bottom. I call that force my Guardian Angel. She has been my protector. I'd like to say that it's an illusion but I can't. I have felt the force of it my entire life and I have been saved by it on several occasions.

The very first time I felt the presence of my Guardian Angel was at a pool. I was in elementary school at Saint Joseph Franciscan. My mother put together what little money she had and enrolled me and my siblings into Catholic school. It was her way of ensuring that we did not remain at the same station in life. Once a week, the school took us to the local pool. The pool was inside of a school for mentally retarded. Instructors tried and teach us how to swim but I never learned. I remember hanging on the edge of the wall with my feet sticking out and kicking. I remember wearing a life vest or lifebelt and trying to paddle. But I never learned how to swim.

At the edge of the pool, boys were throwing girls into the water as a prank. The girls loved it and wanted to be thrown in. I think that I even granted a few of the girls wishes. Unfortunately, someone had gotten their revenge by pushing me in as well. It was a horrible and nearly fatal mistake because I couldn't swim. At first, I panicked. My arms and legs flailed underneath the meters of water. That's when I heard her speaking in my mind. It was a voice that said to me , “Remember what your teacher said about calming down in the water. Relax.” I heard it as loudly as I can hear my own voice speaking now into the dictation machine. I did as the angel said and released the tension in my muscles. I began to float to the top. I tried to grab the edge of the wall but I panicked and sank again. Remembering the words of my Angel, I released the tension in my muscles and floated to the top a second time to grab the wall and pull myself out of the pool.

She saved my life. If I had not heard her then I would have surely drowned in that pool. No one knew I was there. There was no way to shout , “Here I am come get me .”

(I took this photo at show in Tokyo.)


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