Thursday, February 23, 2012

Whispers in the Wind

There's a whisper in the wind. There's always a whisper in the wind, but it's up to each of us to chose to listen to it.

Lately there has been a lot of wind. Whistling, swirling, lingering, and trying to tell me something.

It is no secret that my confidence, particularly in my swimming, has remained to be one of the most weighing and troubling parts of this journey. However, the wind has called my name and has reminded me of most of those things that I am unwilling to accept from others, and by no means able to produce myself.

Swirls and calls of those things that I have accomplished, yet neglected to see: being selected as an example of a Paralympic swimmer at a sport demo event in Boulder, being named Colorado Sportswoman of the Year for Paralympics this year, and receiving a few recent donations from strangers that, too, would tell me those same things that I am only willing to hear from the nonchalance of the wind.

On some level, I have come so far in this journey; yet still so far away from seeing an end in sight.

This weekend I will drive down to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs to compete in my last swim competition before the Paralympic Trials in June. I recognized, for the first time today as I was packing that this could very well be the last time I will ever have the opportunity to compete in this prestigious athletic facility-- and, in some part, this own exotic world of Paralympic swimming.

I haven't made a plan beyond the Paralympic Trials. I have done so, or not done so, quite intentionally. I haven't wanted to look into that future just yet-- I'd rather enjoy the anticipation of today. However, when my own monologue realized that this may be the end, I just breathed into the wind and let it finally know that I have been listening, and that I'm not ready to be done just yet.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

That Quiet Underneath

When I am swimming and underwater, it is so much like being somewhere else. There are so few sounds, no voices, little distraction... just me and that quiet underneath.

Underwater there aren't things like bills to pay or mortgages to fret about.
There are no fears of not making it.
Worries of disappearing eyebrows (thanks to that very chlorine wonderland, no doubt) diminish into rising bubbles.

Underwater there isn't a time to say the wrong thing.
There are no students failing, nor struggling to be something more than just a student.
Words like "can't" or "won't" don't exist under the surface of the water.

Underwater there aren't rejection letters for grant proposals, or sponsorships, or manuscript queries.
There isn't any piling laundry.
Facebook, Twitter, and email cannot possibly thrive at such depths.

Underwater there is no miscommunication between friends.
There aren't any wheelchairs.
Juggling multiple lives within the same body just isn't a necessary part of floating among the blueish tiles.

Underwater there is no need for shoveling snow, twelve times over.
There are no restrictions to one's movement or mobility.
Imaginations swim widely underneath the surface of the water.

Underwater there aren't any due dates or deadlines.
There are no crowds that look straight beyond the individual.
Insensitivity, ignorance, and selfishness definitely don't know how to swim.

Yet, all of these things DO exist beyond the water's surface; but being able to escape them for moments at a time make it that much easier to approach them once I am through with that quiet underneath.

Just as I tend to escape and swim straight from many, very real, aspects of my life there are also ones that I wish that I could take with me on my underwater journey, as well as ones that I know I miss out on while swirling around tiles and blowing bubbles.

I think what is really important is that I have that underwater haven to retreat to, reflect on, and then rise from. Without it, I wouldn't know how to react to many parts of my life-- as well as find what's truly important. I have found that those things that I long to be with me underwater are the very things that matter most in my life; and those things that I dare to escape from, are really not so hard once I reemerge.