Three words I want to say to 13-year-old me

If I could go back in time and meet my 13-year-old self, I would say:


Here’s why.

When I was 13, I nearly drowned.

We were midway through our swimming lesson when the rain came.

It got heavier and heavier, and I started to panic.

I was having trouble treading water in the middle of the pool, far from either wall, and I had bad eyesight.

Like 1000+ degrees bad.

Also, I didn’t have powered goggles. They were not a thing at the time.

So I was basically “swimming” blind, with the rain lashing down and chaos around me as there were lots of people thrashing around in the water.

To my highly sensitive self, all I could remember was the feeling of pure terror.

I thought I was going to drown and no one would even notice.

It’s interesting how I’ve locked this memory away for 40 years and never thought about it until a therapy session recently, when it came up.

I was surprised.

But also not.

It made so much sense when I put that memory next to my inability to trust and surrender, which is the flip side of my insatiable need for certainty and control.

I even have trouble relaxing physically, so my scalp, neck, and back are constantly tensed and give me pain.

The body keeps the score, as Bessel van der Kolk says in his book of the same name.

Our bodies store all our memories, experiences and traumas, and manifest them in lightness and heaviness, ease and dis-ease.

What about you?

If you could meet 13-year-old you, what 3 words would you say to him/her and why?