When I was about 13 or 14 I was a swimmer.
Swimming club, swimming practice. Swim meets every weekend. The whole bit.
My brother and I only got into it because my sister was a little swimming champion and our family spent a lot of time working around her swimming schedule.
It was easier to join up and have a go than hang around being bored all the time.
So have a go we did.
Backstroke was my stroke of choice. I had powerful shoulders and long arms, with a kick that could propel me ahead of the competition at will.
But my hand positioning sucked.
I was always getting called out for it in practice. I always had my wrists turned the wrong way.
One day during practice, I was doing laps in the dreaded first lane of the local pool.
The narrowest lane, right next to the rough concrete surface of the side of the pool.
And thanks to my funky hand positioning, just before I hit the wall to turn at the end of the lane, I smashed my hand against the concrete.
Blood poured, chlorine stang.
I was left with a massive sore, then scab, and then scar.
I tell you what though, my coach never needed to call me out for my wrists being turned out again.
15 odd years later, that scar has faded. I can barely see it at a glance anymore.
It’s odd – that scar has been a part of me for so long, I still expect it to be prominent.
But I guess it has done it’s job.
It reminded me to correct my positioning.
To change my stroke to glide through the water more smoothly.
And though I don’t swim much anymore, I still remember that feeling.
Realizing how much faster I could go when I taught myself to work with the water, rather than against it.
Feeling my arms glide through, be accepted by the water, rather than being met with resistance.
And finally – nearly five years into this parenting gig – I’m learning how to position myself.
How to glide through, without too much resistance – from life in general, from myself.
That doesn’t mean it’s not hard work. Or that it isn’t stressful. That I don’t sometimes meet my match (hello, Zombie Eye Disease!)
But the more I learn, the more the water accepts me, and I accept it.