Friday, April 15, 2011


You wouldn't know it's been almost a week since my Nationals meet. My shoulders are still reminding me of every single second of it. However, the clothes on my bedroom floor are reminding me to get back to work and back to the "real" world. But what is that?

I now realize that I have been living a dual existence for several months now: socially-awkward biology teacher by day, while something entirely different at other times both before dawn and dusk alike.

My training is slowly creating its own persona. At the gym, I am commented upon on a regular basis... the hours that I spend in the pool, the ever-growing size of my biceps (when will that stop?!), the insane amount of gear that I carry... Although, I am happy to announce that I don't believe a single word of it.

One thing that is getting increasingly hard though is coming back. Coming back to a daily routine and leaving behind the excitement of the competition surprisingly leaves holes and aches in my heart-- a feeling that I have only known once before, when leaving India. My heart is telling me that this is something important, this is something to hold on to.

This week has been a whirlwind. I have spent most of it nursing my shoulders, forearms, and hands. I have listened to their woes and rocked them to sleep at night. Beyond that, I have spent a lot of time in my head. I have been bantering with myself about the importance/unimportance of me making a selection team.

See, the National meet also doubled as a selection meet for both the Parapan/Am Games as well as the Parapan/Pac Meet, and I was trying desperately to forget about that. However, my innate neuroses led my fingers to my keyboard no less than 200 times per day, checking for any sort of indication or update that the list was out. Finally, I couldn't take it anymore--so Thursday morning, before I even had a chance to say "good morning" to the sun, I was cycling back and forth in my aquatic haven when I ultimately decided that I was not going to make a select team and that was completely okay. Fine. Done.

Flash-forward 6 hours to me scarfing my favorite of microwaved burritos while taking that 8 minutes alloted in my day to actually take in a mindful breath, when my inbox dinged at me the way a petite cartoon mouse's doorbell would. I could barely look with both eyes.

After giving myself the necessary encouragement to even open the email, I did it and held onto my breath tightly. In typical form, I--no doubt--was playing off of a lack of confidence the entire time; because, lo and behold, the email title was, "2011 Parapan American Team Nominees."

I scrolled down with eyes and cursor, skimming words like, "congratulations" and "training camp" and even another "CONGRATULATIONS"... though I was still in disbelief. A mistake? A rude mass email that goes to all athletes?


I made the team.

In 7 months I have coached myself the best way that I know how and apparently someone else noticed. In 7 months I have turned a love for swimming into a LOVE for swimming. In 7 months I have transformed and created a powerful competitor that can't wait to continue to try.

So, patting my shoulders and sending them care, I start training for the biggest thing I have ever known. The Parapan/Am Games will be held in Guadalajara, Mexico in November. They are estimating nearly 140 athletes from the US to compete in 13 different sports for their country, and I will be one of them.

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