Column: Three Feet Under

By Madison Woo, Arts & Culture Editor

I took a bath the night I was rejected from my dream college. It was the first time in awhile that I had been submerged in water, in fact, the last time was the ninth grade swimming unit where I was more embarrassed about my back acne than my slowness in the pool. Yet there I was at two in the morning sitting in the tub. It wasn’t relaxing at first. Each pore on my body puckered from the steaming tub, the scabs flaking off into the water and the folds on my stomach more amplified like my double chins in photos.

But I didn’t want to think of those things, so I took a deep breath and went underneath.

I used to be fearless. Or so I was told. At two I would jump into the pool with just my diaper on and I knew that somebody would catch me, whether it be my dad or the water. Because underwater I could do anything. I would sit there so I could pretend that I was a seal, I would do handstands underwater and I could scream as loud as possible and nobody could hear me. I loved it there: blowing bubbles to the surface, somersaulting and that scratchy feeling I would get when water went too far up my sinuses. At home, I would beg my mom to fill our tub with cold water because back then, I was small enough to pretend I was in my own little pool.

I haven’t been underwater in awhile and with that I have stopped imagining and started doing. I tried out for the Slam Poetry team, filled out applications to dream summer programs, applied to colleges, told my crush I liked him — I regained that childlike impulsivity but this time knew that it was possible for my goals to be achieved.

But I didn’t get into the Slam Poetry team. I ended up having no back up to the rejections of summer programs and I don’t know where I’m going to college yet. I had enough bravado to tell a boy I liked him and was rewarded with him dating another girl. And it sucked, but it would have sucked more if I hadn’t taken the dive.

I realize why I liked being underwater. It was there that I acted first before thinking, I would stay in the pool for five hours even if it meant I would get a god-awful sunburn. I unapologetically did what I wanted to do. I’m not sure about a lot of things but I am sure that I want to take more risks. I may not make the right choices all the time but I really won’t know until I make them.

I am not that same impulsive two-year-old because she didn’t know the consequences of a waterlogged diaper. I was, I am that fifteen-, sixteen-, seventeen- and soon eighteen-year-old who likes to crochet hats and drink bad coffee concoctions and maybe will take more baths.

Maybe I’ll come up for air soon but for now, I’ll be under the water if you need me.