Well, folks. I think I’ve done it. I beat swimming.
It’s pretty much a wrap so everyone else might as well stop. Swimming is over. That includes you, water-based fauna. You might as well evolve, grow legs and come up here on land. Or go into space where, let’s be honest, half of you cluckers look like you came from somewhere out there, anyway. There’s really no point anymore after the perfection I achieved tonight. As far as you hu-mans go, you might as well retire your little Olympics competitions and your freediving and your water births and your amniotic fluds and your —
I may be a grown ass man but I’m still disappointed that there wasn’t a certificate. With the little cartoon fish on it. Also, the MyZone MZ-3 doesn’t work in the water, which is a bummer because I got worked tonight.
On to swimming III. Narrowly.
Prerequisite: Swimming II or skill proficiency to swim unassisted on front and back at least three body lengths using arms and legs, and to submerge face in water for at least three seconds. Class emphasizes increasing endurance and independent swimming skills. Skills include rotary breathing, entering deep water safely, treading water 15 seconds; and swimming front crawl and elementary backstroke 15 yds., and back crawl five yds. without assistance or support.
Remember in my last post about swimming I was saying how if it wasn’t challenging enough I’d try to find a way to make it more challenging. Like maybe I could try to tread water the whole time? Well, that was a ridiculous thing to say.
Swimming is exhausting. For a beginner, anyway. If you can’t breathe naturally and if your movement is inefficient you just tire yourself out the whole time.
Where Swimming I was about the basics of being in the water, floating, basic kicking, basic arm movement, rotating in the water, and the basics of breathing, Swimming II is more about building up the movements. Trying to get them drilled into our muscle memory. Hm. I didn’t practice at all this week. Lame.
Hopefully, we’ll get a chance to hop into the deep end this week.
At the beginning of the first class, the instructor had us do a few things to see where we were. Freestyle and then backstroke or the back crawl(?). I’ve never attempted proper backstroke before so that was interesting. I was pretty much underwater by the time I reached the instructor.
To my credit, I’m getting pretty good at getting water up my nose. Where’s my certificate for that?
2017-2018 goal: I want to swim in the Caribbean Sea.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Doing anything outside of your comfort zone is a matter of trust. That’s what I’m learning. Swimming is pure, in a way, because it’s not about gear or equipment. The only thing you have to put your trust in is physics — hydrodynamics. Literally all you have is your body, air, and the water.
I love learning. I love that feeling of downloading and installing new software into my bioware, my operating system. New knowledge. New skill. New levels of competence and efficiency. It’s miraculous.
I tend to excel at whatever I put my mind to. Maybe that’s because I immerse myself, no pun intended. I gear up, watch instructional videos, do research online, ask questions, attempt to sate my insatiable curiosity. It’s a trait I appreciate even if it’s an addictive personality trait, as some would say.
I wish I could do a video somehow for my channel. It might help a lot of people to see a middle aged black dude learn how to swim because even though there are plenty of black people who do swim, statistically speaking, it’s not enough. Tragically so.
I don’t like to see people leaning so heavily on — how do I say this? Past trauma, whether historic, cultural, or personal. Being stuck in victimhood is life-stealing. All of that history is true, egregious and had/has consequences but, to me, it’s a matter of emphasis. Place emphasis on what you can do and what you can control and what constructive actions you can take. Remember the past, teach the past, learn lessons from the past and always, always, always move forward.
What did I do last year? I had ideas. I had plans. It didn’t go as I expected.
This isn’t about current events, politics, or the national and global zeitgeist. 2016 was a tire fire in many ways.
I did cross some things off my list. I took a handgun class. Have to follow up on that for more. I went hammock camping a few times. I went on some pretty cool bike rides. Did some good hikes. Went canoeing for the first time. I finally traveled abroad and got my first stamp on the new passport.
I lost family members. My cousin, Debbie. My second cousin, Cousin Bill. Rest in peace, family.
I had knee surgery, which is also a good reminder that time is passing. Subsequently, I didn’t do any Winter sports and my season pass went entirely to waste. Sometimes I think I may sell my snowboard gear and sometimes I think I’ll just buy some fancy boarding knee braces. I didn’t go backpacking at all. I only went camping a few times when I intended to be out a lot. I didn’t lose weight. Well, I did and then … the ciiiiircle of liiiiiife.
I’m a visual person so imagery really helps to put things in perspective.
If you’re all you’ve got that means always create something to look forward to. Once a day, once a week, once a month, Wednesday, whenever. Plant seeds. Outsmart your habits, your tendencies.
The truth is that there are times when you’ll sing and no one will listen. You’ll write and no one will read. You’ll create and no one will look. You’ll tell your story, pour out your soul, and no one will be moved. Do it anyway. For you. Because you are.
Always. Not constantly but always. Keep moving, learning, growing, living. When your batteries run dry, take time to rest and recharge. Take care of your source. And keep moving.
There are things in life that will come easy and there are things that will only come with herculean effort. Everyone is different. There are things in life that you’ll burn for. And there are things in life that you’ll burn for that you’ll never have. No amount of wishful thinking, positive thinking, meditation, visualization, prayer, research, strategy, planning, work, effort — and you’ll never get it. You’re never going to get it. Never.
Acknowledge that there’s probably something even better for you. Something worth the effort. An alternative path. It might be more difficult, more convoluted.
Try anyway. Fight anyway. Pave the way. Clear a trail.
First, let’s get a few things out of the way. I am not a nice guy. For a few reasons.
In recent years, I haven’t heard the word “nice” used to describe a person as a compliment — not a man, at least. “Nice” is the word that precedes a phrase starting with the conjunction “but”. It has a connotation of “Yeh, no.”
If you had any idea what goes on in my head….
My motives are never fully pure or altruistic. It’s always complicated. I’m a human being and a dude.
So I’m not the most enlightened person in the world, is what I’m saying. I’m not a guy who claims to be a male feminist or a social justice ally. Those labels mean a lot of things to a lot of people and they can and do duke it out over who’s doing it right to their heart’s content.
Also, I start a lot more blog entries than I finish so I don’t want anyone to think that I don’t care about all the other madness going on in the world. I usually don’t post about something until I’ve given it a lot of thought and, frankly, I can’t keep up.
In the past few weeks in the news I’ve seen some stuff, boy, and it bothers the hell out of me. It just keeps building up so I need to vent. (It was the mutilation one that did me in.) There was a lot of talk a while back about a “war on women”: maternity issues, equal pay, contraception, abortion, and other lofty social issues. Strong language, for sure. A striking rhetorical device.
I’m not talking about rhetorical devices, though. I’m talking about a physically (and emotionally and psychologically) hostile culture. Well, maybe it’s a bit more complicated than that. The line between desire/hatred and between respect/resentment is thin and razor sharp.
Let’s get to it. Here are some articles in the news recently. I tried to keep it to 2016 but some are older. Brace yourself. Trigger warnings. Horrific inhumanity ahead. In no particular order or grouping, and crossing all boundaries of countries, cultures, religions, races, and ethnicities: