Monday, December 17, 2012
Out Swimming Demons
There were days past when my Demons were such constant companions I was more likely to notice when they were absent, than when they were pestering me. They had become so commonplace, so banal, mundane, pedestrian. Oh, don't get me wrong, there were many smackdown, hella cage-match fights between us. And I was not always the victor. But my Demons have been relatively quiet for some time now, I had nearly forgotten what it is like to have one riding my shoulder, flagellating me with its sibilant hissing. Nearly forgotten, but not really. Freud said, "We do not forget. We chose not to remember." It is truth. I chose to not to remember. I am not sure what allowed one to slip back into my world, but it was there today, just behind me, whispering in my ear, finding the cracks and prying them open with taloned fingers. This time of year, I am careful to keep my workout agenda packed and tight. I plan ahead, and do not let myself falter. Tonight my swim bag was packed and I had my fees in my wallet. I would swim despite the Demon battering on my self-esteem. I admit, it took me a solid ten laps before I could even find my rhythm, and then it was a battle to keep on track and moving smoothly. At one point I became so distracted and distraught that I had to start counting strokes to bring my mind back to center. Counting laps, counting strokes. Rolling side to side, breathe in, breathe out, stroke, stroke, breathe. Letting the sound of my bubbling exhales soothe my jangled mind. Stroke, stroke, breathe. The rhythm, the exertion, focusing on making making every stroke the same. The simple monotony is hypnotic. As long as I kept counting all was well. But falling into my normal habit of mind working in overdrive while body swims lap after lap was not the safe route. Not tonight. I swam 2.27 miles, until I was out of time. I wanted to swim longer, I had not yet out swam my Demons. They were still riding my back, like stowaways. Vicious, petty stowaways. But I swam. And swam. I did manage to dilute my Demons in the chlorinated water, bleach them out a bit, leaving them pale and pruney. But they are still here. Maybe I am just tired, susceptible to imagined slights, fatigued, raw, oversensitive. It has been a rugged week, I feel heavy-hearted and drained, vulnerable, delicate, fragile, brittle. I am glad I swam, even if I did not out swim my Demons, it will help me sleep, and that is probably exactly what I need. And maybe the best I can hope for. Trying to out swim Demons is a hard fought race that I did not exactly win tonight. But maybe it was a tie. Time will tell. For now, I just need sleep.