My cousin finally got Ren & I to venture with her to the indoor pool in our neighborhood to add another dimension to our workout routines. For weeks she's been researching when it would be open again for use, what the pandemic protocols would be, how much it would cost, and then went to see it for herself. I was apprehensive, but for her I'd try (almost) anything. I was in.
So here I am on an otherwise regular Thursday evening after work: swimming laps around the pool -- first freestyle, then backstroke, then *my* signature breast stroke. Ahhh yes... the breast stroke was (is?) my THING. I wasn't the fastest swimmer, but the mechanism of this particular event always fascinated me, and I was determined to learn and do my best. Naturally, as my father was both a teacher and one of my coaches, he always had catch phrases for teaching proper form:
As is in the natural, so it is in the spiritual, I suppose. Folks, I've been a fish trying to swim in this big pond of a sprawling metropolis affectionately known by some as Gotham for over 2 years now. Oh, I initially thought that coming home would be akin to riding a bike. (It's not.) I belong here, right?! I also assumed that I would just move straight to gliding into my life like I never left for 13 years. (I didn't.)
Woman plans, God laughs.
Every. Single. Time.
It had only been 6 months into my transition when that wretched pandemic came along; just as I was starting to feel the ocean floor beneath my feet, the vicissitudes of life drew me back into the deep like a current with no bottom. New York City can sometimes make its inhabitants feel like we're ships lost at sea; surrounded yet isolated and at constant risk of drowning. To survive, I felt like I had to detach myself from what was happening around me, but unfortunately, detaching our emotions from pain makes it incredibly difficult -- if not impossible -- to find those emotions again when it's time to experience happiness.
On paper, things are going well. I could rattle off a list of God's blessings, yet I am struggling to connect with the good parts, still feeling myself going through the motions of survival. Still dealing with vivid flashbacks, still exhibiting signs of depression, searching for the surface, letting go of the weights that so easily beset me. Releasing myself from the bitterness and guilt of it all. Whew.
Perhaps it takes experiencing the power of nostalgia to realize that I can pull strength from within, breathe in the peace I make with myself, kicking away from despair towards hope and find myself gliding back into joy again. Oh this fruit of the spirit is sweeter than I could've imagined.
I heard his voice loud and clear as I began to break through the water from end to end.
Aqui estoy. All in.