21 Sep A Reflection in Self Punishement by Nick Mevoli
Any one who knows me at all knows that I don’t quit. I don’t let anything stop me from diving. Not squeezes or anything else and people know that I get pissed at myself when I don’t achieve. Sitting on the beach here in Kalamata, Greece watching the Zodiacs ferry people to and from the platform, watching children swarm back to the dock as soon as everyone departs, watching the calm sea as it kisses the rocks of the shore with such gentility that it is hard to imagine how much pain it has caused me. That’s where revelation broke inside me like a levee with a thousand cracks…it was me causing all this pain. Last night I read a proverb that changed me, “As a dog returns to his own vomit as a fool returns to his folly,” ~Proverbs 26:11. I am tired of being a fool, I will not make the same mistakes and expect different results and, more to the point, I will not push my body until it breaks anymore.
“As a dog returns to his own vomit as a fool returns to his folly,” ~Proverbs 26:11
Monday morning my head aches, and not the kind fixed by pills. I couldn’t get my head right. During warm ups the outside world crept into my private sanctuary and began to eat me alive. Quickly I wondered why I was doing this. During my dive, I manifested a thought I had during warm up that I would loose my mouth fill and turn early. Lo and behold, 75 meters, no air, and puzzling what happened. Like a lover who cannot satisfy, I was saying, “I swear this never happens. I don’t understand.” Surfacing, I was fine and clean. Breathing O2 I was fine and clean. After surfacing from breathing O2 is when I discovered that I was anything but fine and clean. For the rest of the afternoon I was donating blood to the sidewalk with each spit as I strolled aimlessly through town, wondering what the hell was wrong with me. I knew the external problem that was affecting my dives, I just didn’t know how to correct it.
I spent the next two days in the same pattern. Walking, thinking and spitting, only donating less and less blood to the pavement. Walking and walking, I have seen the inside of every grocery store and alley way in Kalamata. I found where all the young people hang out and where the hardware stores are. I found many things except the answer of what to do. I spoke to one person who put it all in perspective for me and told me things that I have never thought of before. I am truly grateful this person walks the earth and though sometimes he may question his purpose, I know his dharma and that is to heal.
I bailed out of training again today. Over breakfast with Remy and Tijanna they asked what the plans were and so on. I said, “ There is no reason for me to dive today. I have nothing to prove to anyone. I have thrown out all my preconceived goals for this comp as I have missed so much training already so now I just want to have clean dives with white cards. Diving today would only be punishment.”
To which Remy looked up from his cereal and said,
“Nick you don’t look like someone who needs to be punished.”
Wow! Thank you Remy! I am still piecing together my life and what it all means and why I dive and I have never heard such profound words. I am sure he is right. I am not someone who needs to be punished so why am I flogging myself? Numbers infected my head like a virus and the need to achieve became an obsession. Obsessions can kill. I always think of the cooking rabbit from Fatal Attraction. I promise you I would not taste good with garlic and onions, so I choose life. I choose to be kind to myself. I choose to allow the performance to be an expression of my being and not define what my being is. I ask you, would you like me any less if I was only a diver who couldn’t make it past 20m? Would my mother love me any less if I couldn’t mouth fill down to 100m? Would my father throw me out for not achieving the North American constant weight record?
My non apnea friends barley understand what I do as it is and yet they still call to hang out. I have been placing my self worth on a tangible number and when that number was consumed I wanted more and that left me broken. Today I made the smartest decision so far in my career and that is to, as Zac Brown put it, “ Got my toes in the water, ass in the sand, not a worry in the world, cold beer (water) in my hand, life is good today. Life is good today.” Be kind to yourselves out there and to quote one more lyric, of which I woke up with in my head, “Learning to love your self is the greatest love of all,” ~Whitney Houston. Thanks Whitney!
Post by Nick Mevoli
All commentary and opinions in this post are exclusively of the author, Nick Mevoli. They do not reflect the opinions of the USFA or any other associated organizations or people mentioned.