The pool was mine. I jumped in with no coaxing, and little reservation. My only fear was that I would be so out of shape, forgetting my stroke, gasping for air after only swimming one length of the pool. I wasn’t sure how my body was going to react. In March I had suffered an incapacitating back injury. Numbness circulating in my lower back shot down my right leg. I went stir crazy siting in one position waiting for my body to heal, causing an immense shock to my system. The one thing I knew confidently was sturdy now crumbled. I was broken.
I had always been active, an athlete. For twelve years swimming was not just an activity; it defined me. The label of an athlete was something I wore in my form, in the way I carried myself. But, I grew to resent it. The early mornings, long practices, the icy waters, and over-hyped competition, but it was the one thing that I knew I did well. I am the type of person who strives on routine. Once your stroke is down, very little changes. It was comfort.
Caged by my own body. I was forced to stop all strenuous activity, swimming, and going to the gym. Harboring a grudge, watching those engage in the daily activities we take for granted; as they only caused paranoia in that I would somehow re-injure it.
I made a full recovery a couple months back, but am still cautious. I was advised to start yoga by those around me, to strengthen my muscles. The physical activity bandaged the void, but I was done sitting on the sidelines.
Swimming, my mind was blissfully blank; pure ecstasy, gliding so effortlessly, my hands placed themselves one in front of the other. When we walk, our feet know they need to go in front of each other. It is implicit. When I swim my body becomes an empty vessel, going through the uncomplicated motions. When you find your rhythm your thoughts drift to nothing, like finding the stride in my walk. Even though I was out of the pool, the strict positions drilled into me were manifesting. Naturally, they had always been there. When I walk, I favor to the right side of the street. When you swim, you enter the water on the right turning, finishing on the left side of the lane. I walk with one foot placing directly in front of the other, creating a straight line; never straying. When I swim, my hands place themselves in the exact same spot, creating a streamline.
Our bodies in motion leave tiny traces, marked, bones knowing precisely what to do next.
I should have never worried, my body can take care of itself