It was monday again. The wheels stopped and
I was ready for my 100th rehearsal to ditch my swimming lesson.
Here are the steps of my master plan.
Step one. when the engine starts, lie down.
Step 2. Pretend to take a nap.
Step 3. when the car makes the 15th turn, take a silent deep breath.
Step 4. hold your breath.
Step 5. play dead. don’t move.
This plan made more sense when I was 7.
I still wonder why I dreaded swimming lessons,
why I felt ashamed to see my skin exposed,
why I was anxious that I might cross the lanes,
or be the slowest one in the lane,
why I saw the shadows of sharks lurking behind my feet.
I was scared of these sharks and
To avoid them I would play dead.
I would spread my imaginary fin, keep still and wait until the sharks disappear.
Inside this narrow lane, I am trapped.
I am told to kick faster to hold my breaths
to learn and conquer the force of water,
They tell me that if the lane hits your ribs.
don’t worry it’s just trying to keep you on the track
keep going. exceed everyone in your lane. don’t be the weakling of the lane. you become what you are when you reach the end of the meet. keep going.
play the game.
but I am not a natural conqueror especially with the speed I am capable of moving
I am too slow and too tired to catch up on others.
the end to my efforts seem never clear and I am trapped in the circle of catching up.
People say that human bodies are made to float.
We are made of things that find themselves akin to the water that locks our body,
and floating makes us immune to gravity, the force that shows where our roots lie.
but my body does not know the water that I am swimming in.
I am a child born in the water of love that needs no force nor judgements nor efforts to fix me because my body is different.
my heart beats in a rich burgundy stream, the water of love that guided my first passage to the world and reminds me of unconditional love.
Now as I force myself to kick harder and hold my breath,
something in my body refuses to learn the force of water,
it tells me that I don’t need to play the game,
it shuts off the power generated from the tip of my toe to the biceps of my propellers.
I am running out of breath and I can’t hold it
the chlorine makes a forced entry through caves of my system
and my body repels it, I can still feel the stinging sensation in my nose,
and finally I had enough.
I am tired to apologizing for my lack of adaptability,
for not meeting your standard
for not being the girl whose chest touches the wall before her nose
for not being the girl to let you cut her hugs short because apparently hugging the opposite sex is bordering on cheating according to your definition of trust
for not being a good sandwich maker who dreams of a day for when a guy pops that stupid stone in front of her face.
for not being the girl to let you straighten her beliefs parallel to your lane of beliefs.
As the time progressed, the seven year old girl who once saw the shadows of the sharks realizes that they were not the shadows of the sharks, but the shadows of her own insecurities
the shadows of her internal struggles to meet the never-ending demands of her patriarchy
Two decades later the same girl proclaims the end of ditching and playing dead.
She is ready to swim against the current of the waves that once hurt her
and she hopes that one day,
she will find her way back to start a new tale of the burgundy streams.