swim baby, swim
I like the feeling of being isolated in a bubble. The feeling you experience when you dive into water, close your eyes and register that sounds are strangely different from when you’re above the water. I like that swimming isn’t a sport that calls for being social; it is a sport that allows you to be just you.
From 5 to 15 I tested a number of sports. Gymnastics, badminton, tennis, basket ball. At school I realised athletics were not for me, and even though I have tried many times running just isn’t my thing. All in all there are only two sports I have been doing consistently. One is aerobic which I did in my last school years and in my early twenties, the other is swimming which I have done all my life.
In a land with a 7000 kilometre coastline, my mother thought it vital to learn how to swim. The only sport she has ever pushed me towards was swimming. I never competed. The one time I tried, I lost, got in 4th, and spent quite some time feeling the bronze was robbed from me as the girl who got in 3rd used a hand and a foot when turning instead of two hands and should have been disqualified. It didn’t help that she was a frenemy.
To me swimming is a kind of meditation. I am not a regular swimmer, but the minute my body touches the water I feel as if I come home. I go because it’s good exercise for a bad back, but once I am there I remember how soothing and relaxing swimming is. I don’t have to think when I swim, unable to clear my mind I start counting my strokes, often I do it without even thinking about it.
I dive in; I push through the water, the taste and smell of chlorine kicks in. I push off the wall and flow the first few meters; I see the backstroke flags and know I am on my way. When I see them again, I know the turn is right before me.
I am tired and feeling used when I get out of the water. I shower and wash my hair. I can’t keep the thoughts from invading my head any longer. Work starts to creep in, I wonder at what time I can be there.
I race off on my bike. I don’t even think I say goodbye. I am angry and hurt and just want to get away. I am still at the old job. A colleague of mine has been a moron, told me off in front of the other people at my office, used me to make herself look better. I shake my head. I am unable to see what is up and what is down. I try to rethink the events of the day, but I can’t. I am too angry.
I push off, I start counting. 1-2-3-4-5-6. I concentrate on counting. The anger tries to creep in, but I focus on counting and slowly I loosen up. Everything is going to be alright.
It isn’t surprising that swimming soothes and comforts and makes things better. Technically we swim before we walk. Linus has a blanky, I have my swimming.