Saturday, July 03, 2010
The tyranny of the horizontal



I was able to accomplish a smooth turn at the wall in the pool a couple of days ago. This is the first time I've actually completed it. I usually get a tiny sliver of panic/uncertainty that I can turn and swim away without being overwhelmed. It is an unrealistic, emotional response of fear that distracts me/impedes me. So I come up at the wall and take extra breaths before heading back. It is exciting to conquer this tiny panic. Swimming offers small triumphs -- for me. When I feel changes in my physical responses -- more graceful movements, better posture, deeper breathing, more strength, more stamina - (stamina is a thing easy to observe and gratifying to document) - I credit swimming.
When I thrust a pair of hard, foam dumbbells into the water between my legs in fifth position and jump up and kick my legs to right and left diagonally I always laugh heartily. It's an exhilarating feeling. I ponder how many complex, exhilarating, deeply pleasurable movements we don't perform on land because of social convention, physics and THE TYRANNY OF UPRIGHT STANCE. Are we not in our finest moments when we are horizontal: sleeping, swimming, making sex, dead? Straight is possible -- perhaps more possible- in the horizontal. I often feel that when I straighten in the water -- trying to accomplish my best technique my body engages all of my sometimes very lazy abs and back muscles and I can tell that I am as straight as I will ever be. I push my fingers toward an aqua horizon - my forehead is at the water's lips as I try to do the stroke right. I'm reaching and I put all that I am reaching for just ahead of my fingertips so that I will keep forward. For the first time yesterday, I realized the confidence to make the turn without fear -- without breaking for a "calming" breath -- and begin to go for the other wall. Sometimes I wiggle my fingers beneath the water. It is an expression of glee and of confidence that I don't have to be technically perfect to swim -- swimming is to be enjoyed -- it is a personal practice. I learned this from the many people I encounter at the pool. Some go up and down the lanes doing things that my swimming teacher told me not to do. Yet they are moving contentedly and most any movement you make that doesn't drown you or befoul the water is good exertion/good therapy.

Posted at 07:01 pm by Tourmaline

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January 6, 2015   06:48 PM PST
 
thank you for sharing this information very useful
 

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Tourmaline
Female
New Jersey







 
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Onward only! I can't turn back and I won't turn around.

Celebrating eleven years of swimming!




stroking onward and upward
swimming for the wall 2010




“Centuries later historians would ridicule as a numbers game attempts to count the millions forced to suffer the trauma of the transatlantic passage. Yet for those who witnessed the murderous raids by Arabs, Europeans, or hostile black Africans upon their communities, for those who were discarded on their march to the African coast, for those who were banned to the hold of the ships, for those whose bodies were cast overboard, for those who made it to the unknown on the other side of the ocean, every single one mattered. For every single woman, every single man represented the difference between life and death, between the "I am" and chattel, between history and the void, between the voice and silence. For every single one defined the whole.”

from Black Imagination and the Middle Passage by Maria Diedrich, Henry Louis Gates, Carl Pedersen


“As you were speaking this morning of little children, I was looking around and thinking it was most beautiful. But I have had children and yet never owned one, no one ever owned one; and of such there's millions -- who goes to teach them? You have teachers for your children but who will teach the poor slave children?
I want to know what has become of the love I ought to have for my children? I did have love for them, but what has become of it? I cannot tell you. I have had two husbands but I never possessed one of my own. I have had five children and never could take one of them up and say, 'My child' or 'My children,' unless it was when no one could see me.
I believe in Jesus, and I was forty years a slave but I did not know how dear to me was my posterity. I was so beclouded and crushed. But how good and wise is God, for if the slaves knowed what their true condition was, it would be more than the mind could bear. While the race is sold of all their rights -- what is there on God's footstool to bring them up? Has not God given to all his creatures the same rights? How could I travel and live and speak? When I had not got something to bear me up, when I've been robbed of all my affections for husband and children.
My mother said when we were sold, we must ask God to make our masters good, and I asked who He was. She told me, He sit up in the sky. When I was sold, I had a severe, hard master, and I was tied up in the barn and whipped. Oh! Till the blood run down the floor and I asked God, why don't you come and relieve me -- if I was you and you'se tied up so, I'd do it for you.”


Sojourner Truth, 1856


This text of her address was recorded by the acting secretary of the Friends of Human Progress Association of Michigan, Thomas Chandler, and published in the Anti-Slavery Bugle




 
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