I just went for an amazing swim at a pool in Burnaby near my bro’s house.
As I looked through the sun window in the ceiling, feeling my arms go higher and higher each stroke, and focusing on relaxing the tension stored in my muscles I remembered that I had written about swimming while I was in Edmonton, but hadn’t been sure if I wanted to post it. I wrote in a frustrated frame of mind and it deals with a personal struggle I am going through right now. I deliberated between thinking ‘that my business’, and saying to myself, ‘I’ve read some really personal things on tumblr that have shed light on my reality and have been like a reassuring hug by a stranger’, so I decided to share..
Swimming in the pool I used to swim in as a kid, the diagonal windows reflecting my arms-only stroke and spending more time in the hot tub than doing laps, the activity I used to be able to do for hours, it hit me: my bod aint like it used to be. I was operated on, casted, splinted physio’d OT’d in order to make me as mobile as possible. And I was, for less than ten years. I grew accustomed to, with a little bit of pushing, functioning just below the level of stamina and energy as an average ordinary. Hiking, cross trainer, standing up to cook. Tonight in that pool as my cardiovascular self craved the panting and exhilaration of lots of laps and fast, my muscles and joints said I don’t think so bucko. No rodeo for this cowgirl tonight.
It worries me that I can’t reach that level of exercise for my heart and mental well being. It worries and frustrates me that I can’t walk to where my cousins parked their truck let alone walk a few blocks to my friend’s house. That the ways I used to be present in this city are no longer a reality for me; rushing to bus stops, my feet my primary mode of transit, going up and down stairs for exercise, not gauging what to bring downstairs at my Mum’s house, my childhood home, because I don’t want to have to come back up. Like ever. It is a drastic change and not one I anticipated.
There is a medical narrative around arthrogryposis telling us from birth that it is not progressive, non degenerative. Well why am I so tired? Why was I climbing mountains and drinking my face off after high school graduation and preparing myself for the long walk across the stage at uni graduation? I’m only 26 I said to the lines in the ceiling as I arm-back-stroked my second and final lap. I’m not 85 fucking years old.