• author
    • Heather Alani

    • May 31, 2014 in Columnists

    My name is not ‘kid’ — you can call me ‘Shark Slayer’

    “Just do it, kid. Go take care of you.”

    I didn’t know how; no one packed me a life tool kit.  I lunged for a life saver.  No, not the yummy orange, cherry, lemon and lime kind.  I grabbed and held tightly to the first man who winked in my direction.  He never shared his life tools with me.  Instead, I became another tool in the toolbox.  Two kids later, combined with his avoided responsibilities, I sank fast. I was drowning in his quicksand.   If you ever find yourself without a life survival kit, a missing toolbox, or downright drowning, swim to the nearest lighthouse.  When you get there, breathe and swim on to shore.

    Don’t assume you can ride on the backs of sharks.

    Round one: There I am, head first, drowning in my life saver’s quicksand. I tried as I might to swim all the way to shore. I grew weak and I cycled right onto a shark’s back.  It felt so good to breathe, relishing the sun on my skin as I rode his slippery skin, coughing up the last remnants of sand that moments before were robbing me of air.   I took the easy way out.

    “You’re a tool, kid. You’re a tool.”

    Sharks never make it to shore.

    Round two: Even though I made it out alive, soon I would be drowning in another man’s quicksand.  At the rate of “oh hell no” I decided I would swim or die trying.  As I slowly slid off the back of my easy fix shark, I let my lungs fill up with his quicksand.  Nonetheless, I would make it to the shore. Here, I would breathe my earned freedom.  A boat stopped to offer me help.  Not this time, baby, not this time – there would be no easy way out.  This swim was mine.  The shore was so far away.  Each stroke grew harder, and at times I thought I would combust under the pressure.  I kept my eyes on the goal.  The shore would be mine.  Mine, alone.

    Any kind of freedom comes with a price.

    Three children and a whole heap of responsibility later, I wish I had been smart enough to make the call.  I wish someone had stopped me from hurtling myself down a spiraling trajectory into the quick sinking sand of another.

    No one saves you.

    Depending on anyone other than you is downright finger-dipped-in-boiling-oil stupid.  When they fall, you realize standing on another’s faulty foundation is suicidal.

    Build yourself on a rock.

    Look the storm in the eye and fly right through it. When the pain climaxes to the point you think you will die, you’re almost there. The old saying, “Nothing worth having comes easy in life” is true.  It will hurt. You will fall.  When you fall, be sure your feet are standing on solid ground. Whatever tribulations come your way, there simply is no easy way out.  Warrior women, who have climbed the high hard road, stay strong.  Keep your eyes focused on the shore.

    “You did this to yourself, kid.”

    “My name is not “kid.” You can call me “Shark Slayer.”

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