I’ve never been the settled type – dancing my way through life from day one with more exuberance than most of my teachers had ever seen. After I graduated, this inability to sit still manifested itself in years of grand adventures – moving to Ecuador on 12 days’ notice, visiting 22 states and 11 countries in less than a year, living in 4 states and 2 countries in the past 5 years, and a million smaller adventures thrown in the mix. My friends and family rarely remembered where I was until a new picture popped up on Facebook to remind them (which happened extremely frequently). Travel, adventure, and the associated adrenaline were my first choice method of swimming (and living for that matter), and I was really good at it – a extreme extrovert constantly meeting new, exciting people from all over the world is bound to be in their element.
Then things changed. I got tired. Hopping around was incredible, exciting, and exhausting. I decided to move to upstate New York and learn how to be still. For a Floridian whose go-to swim was travel and adventure, this move was a bit challenging… all of a sudden I was not only grounded, I was snowed-in, and drowning.
As a life-long horse back rider, the biggest upside to my new hometown was the ability to get my own horse again for the first time in a very long time. This was how I’d swim – how I’d fly – on the back of this prancing, dancing, filly. Until she broke herself on the trailer on the way to me. Hmmm, that wasn’t going to work. Back to the drawing board.
So, I signed up to volunteer at the local queer teen center (as a queer person who lives for my camp summers, this seemed the perfect plan – swimming, fighting, and helping kids all at the same time!). Long story short, I only got to go volunteer once before camp thanks to a paperwork snaffu. It was back to the drawing board. And back again, and back again. Everywhere I turned, things were falling apart or failing to function or just being frustratingly slow.
Here’s the thing though: when you can’t swim, you can tread water. You can find the joy in the puppy snuggles, or sunflowers sprouting, or Christmas card-esque snow covered mailboxes, or pony snuffles, or Friday nights with friends. Even when these things don’t feel like the massive swim of moving to a new country with no notice, they’re more than enough to keep you afloat, keep that fire going, and teach you to swim in place.
Since returning from camp, somehow everything clicked in place. I’m volunteering at the queer teen center, the filly is back in work, I’ve joined the Y for some literal swimming (and yoga and barre and other such fun-not-soccer-mom working out), and – somehow – I’ve done it… I’m swimming where I am.
Photo Credit: Here