Post for a New Year, Yes, New.

Posted: January 17, 2012 in Uncategorized

This year comes a full circle. 1. Nearly two years post grad school; post my last decent job, post the break-up of a long meaningful relationship, this long awaited year feels full with potential. Tangible potential, this year the future becomes a present tense in a way I have been waiting for. The slow unraveling of a self imposes a limbo built mainly of waiting. My last thread pulled out from its knitted place in order to begin again in a new form. Flip turn.

I like circles: their completeness, how they encompass whatever they surround, that they are found in nature, in recollecting, in my daily swimming practice. I swim in circles, long rhythmical circles. Daily face water, give myself over to it’s conditions. Lie face down and forge headfirst against its yielding. Flip turn 2, extend and reach with my triangle hand, rotated shoulder against my cheek, and my ears full with liquid, hips twisting to further my reach. Stroke, stroke, stroke, neck turns for a breath. Ear empties to fill again. Exhale in strings of bubbles, bubble, bubble, bubbles. Legs straight and long and kicking and kicking incessantly. Stroke, stroke, stroke, breath; a rhythm I cause eagerly. Stroke, stroke, stroke, breath. Flip turn.

I pay close attention to my every movement when I swim, stay aware of each muscle and how hard or not it is working and whether my form is efficient. I taught myself to swim mainly through youtube videos, podcasts, and the occasional living room chat with fellow swimmer friends. When learning mainly on your own improvement takes a lot of time. Flip turn, 3. And I have a long history with impatience. As a kid coming up I wanted to be older than I was, faster at everything I did, already done with what I was starting. I wanted the outcome before I put any time in. My focus always on what comes after instead of what I was in. Flip turn. Swimming face down through deep water where breathing must occur in a timely synced fashion causes this hyperactivity of mine to stop its flail-skipping. Time doesn’t say a word while I swim, the future doesn’t taunt me. Time only measured in how many strokes my inhale will last. My thoughts dappled with numbers I recite as I go, flip turn, 4.

My orange tinted goggles fog up after three laps, this fucks with my depth perception but I adapt and keep kicking and reach and keep kicking and reach. I am calling this my creation year. Year I find fulfilling work, year I exhale grief and loss and carry on with starting something, and then finishing it. This year I make and sell mini tunnel books. Year my son turns nine and my oldest turns twelve this year, turns a corner she can’t unturn; my daughter already seen by men. Well in this year of full circles, I keep swimming. Flip turn. Twelve-hour work day—I swim. Kid home with chicken pox—I swim. Wake at dawn—I swim. Eviction notice—I swim. Frustration from break-up—I swim. Accept a humiliating job—I swim. Bank fiasco—I swim. Another job rejection—I swim. Thank you water for having all of me. O, this new year I welcome full-heartedly, as a relief from the past two years. Watch my dive full frontal into.

Flip turn, 5. I need to improve, am constantly driven by my need to improve. I keep swimming, past impatience; through the urge to forward think over critical steps, I keep swimming in long slow circles. I need to succeed in water, in my body of water. Stroke, stroke, stroke, breath; stroke, stroke, stroke, breath. Surface tension breaks easily when I dip my limbs down into the pool yet how easily those parted molecules become a force that resists my kicking and strokes and tires my muscles as I work to move faster through circles. Flip turn. Arms rise to arc over my head and slip back into water to grab at nothing. I reach with each stroke to pull that buoyancy under me, pull it all the way through behind me. Push the last of what I caught in my s stroke back behind my propelled form. Push my trouble with the tomorrow or the next day away from what I face in this next stroke. Right now. Reach to grasp again for the invisible resistance of water.

Numbers are too easy to lose track of amidst the repetition of movements and inhales and exhales. Flip turn, 6. My breath suspended in the Gaussian blur of sunlight lying down with water. I want to stop dead in this reflective spot but cannot. Am I living life right? Nearly two years of [un]settling down, down, down into resignation. I’ve shaved off the nearest and dearest to me, voluntarily or forcibly doesn’t matter which now. I live certain that dependence on others is mythical. I resist the touch of invisible connections with people but allow water to engulf me completely. Yes, I need to swim for all those lost years [I mean loves] behind me, you see? Flip turn. Now, I’ve heard good folk say, “ask for what you need.” And I say, “how [dare I].” How do you ask to be cared for, to be loved? When your only need is for nurturing and care, how do you ask for such a thing? Love me, ok, even if you’re busy with whatever we’re all busy with or if you barely know me—or if you tire from loving, if you tire from caring, what, how, who to ask for then. Flip turn, 7.

Can you see how I swim? Can you see how hard I work to get going, to get anywhere? My heartbreaking a sweat, the bubbles of exhale, the scshlock of my hand cutting through, the soundless pull and push of my arms dancing with resistance. Flip turn. I share the pool, sometimes my own lane, with the other bodies in this body of water. Some bodies push me to work harder or boost my sense of accomplishment, “well, if I am faster than him, than I must be excelling, I must be great.” Other bodies stir up self-criticisms and disappointment, “why can’t I go any faster, why am I weak.” See how I swim, see me at the start of myself. Flip turn, 8. I want to be seen. I want to be seen through water, my horizontal feet, the back of my head, my arcing arm reaching to gain on this unmoving liquid.

A completely transparent opposition resists my progress—this has a dizzying effect. I am circling the same force repeatedly, indefinitely. Only movement and light make this visible. I can see everything through water: dropped hair ties, band-aids, a lost gold chain, shed skin. Oh the water is mine, every invisible molecule of it and I am of it entirely. Perhaps I too can be seen through. Yes, I have been long practicing my invisibility. Once crossed into Canada as a hitchhiker in a car of strangers without the border police asking for my story, purpose, name, I.D. or anything. The border cop looked right at me; I was sitting with my green card at the ready, in the back seat behind the driver, nearest the little booth he was leaning out of to interrogate our company of strange. Flip turn. Many a kerfuffle my existence somehow blotted out of. An avid conflict avoider, I am quick to raise my hands and walk away, or up and move. Though I suspect I’m being followed. But this year, after Pluto’s crossing shadow flees, this year I’ll spend training to become a conflict mediator. Yes, I will sit at every table with conflict. I will look and prod and question conflict until it buckles under the pressure of speaking and listening. And until I exhale the held breath of my unmet needs. Flip turn, 9. This year for coming full circle.

These last difficult seasons I somehow held onto a blind faith that the seemingly unmovable would falter, would break and give air back, give movement and light to the invisible so my pulling against all the unseen resistance would finally yield. Flip turn indeed.

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