The Fast Lane

This morning as I started to drive back from swimming this tune caught my ear on the radio reflecting back how I’m feeling this morning. Feeling better after last night releasing my frustration and sadness in my previous post.
It always feels good to get rid of it so I can take the next step.
To speak out loud. Sometimes removing when it feels more personal but just putting it out there for a moment makes a difference.
The song lifted me a little more after my up and at em swim with a lovely encounter at the front desk with my old boy J who I’ve made friends with in water water. I normally only see him in there and at first he didn’t recognise me with my long hair down and clothes on.
I like him the best probably because he’s smiley and very sweet and chatty but in a quiet and gentle way thats not in your face. I recognise that.
He looks and sounds like an 80 year old version of my bro.
And he’s a doer.
Alternating days in the gym and in the pool.
I love his gentle and warm way and his amazing energy.

While I sit and have my morning after swim cuppa on the hammock before I tackle todays job of putting in my objections to the 3 x proposed plans for our flats, I felt a wish to post my previous thoughts that had already been written just prior to receiving that letter.
Before my lack of motivation set in as I thought “why can’t I just live in my own way in peace?”
And then ending up watching the hunger games part 1 and hearing the phrase. After survival comes the fight.
Yep love that but I wasn’t quite ready for it as I tiredly went to bed.

I made myself laugh as I just wrote that in how I can turn my much more boring version of trying survive in this life into something more dramatic in my own invisible revolution with some movie provoking inspiration.
Perhaps the odds are always stacked in favour of those with more power but that doesn’t mean I have to become a victim in it and not fight back. Win or lose I gain something in standing up and being counted.
I’m not just gonna lie down and be walked over without throwing back a few punches.
Can’t be bothered unless it feels important.
Don’t try and bully me. I may be small but I have the strength of a one woman army.
With a brain that I am using as I look through the plans and spot their discrepancies and mistakes in them. Talking of communal areas that are contained in my lease and land registry. Thankfully the solicitor back then was very thorough. That lease last for another 980 years.
And I was just as meticulous over the past month as I spent my time going through every old piece of paperwork. Shredding what was not required so I could easily get my hands on what was. All easily to hand in this moment.

Sometimes I have to wait and be patient for those moments while I keep my head above water.
And then times like now, to play them at their own game with my own strategies and intelligence as I swim a little harder and faster to assert my right to retain my little bit of space in this world. You want it then you’ll have to fight me for it.

Sometimes in life there is no choice but to join the fast lane…..

The Fast Lane

For the past three days I’ve been swimming in the fast lane.
Originally not by choice but the whole pool was heaving. I had the choice of being caught in the slow moving lane where I couldn’t swim, the crowded middle lane with the majority, as they struggled to find any space to swim or put myself in the speedier, but less filled fast lane.
So over the barricade I went taking a deep breath.
Swimming amongst the three men who when I entered were already controlling the pace.
The young white man “The Shark” in black hat black goggles who powered through the water with super speed but with a seamless accuracy to his stroke that created few splashes as he silently and invisibly glided through the water with purpose. I was always aware of how much distance there was as I started another new lap but never knowing when he was behind me until I could suddenly feel his presence on my heels. Id make it to the end just in time and then wait at the steps as he glided on by.
The young asian man “Splash of Red” complete with red shorts, red hat and black goggles.
I always notice all the little details even when I’m swimming.
Again front crawl with a few splashes but considerate in sharing the lane. Much faster than me but after he did a few lengths he would take short breaks before then continuing on.
I had enough distance there to avoid being caught for at least one length before then swapping back to being the follower. Worked for me.

And the older fella. Also asian. “Beach Boy”
He reminded me of my friend, just in an older version and with no hair. But a greying beard. No hat required, black shorts and no goggles either. He smiled and I would say the odd word every now and then as I finished a lap.
Just swimming lane small talk. “Isnt it busy” “feel like I’m being chased by a shark”. Again faster than me with his messy front crawl, making loads of splashes.. but after 1 lap he would take a long rest. I mean a looooong rest man! He just had this super chilled thing going on. Not a serious swimmer all all but with a presence that said I belong in this lane.
Timing his moment to start a new lap when the coast was clear and swimming as though he was in an azure blue sea before just standing around in the water feeling the sun.

Made me feel like I belonged in there too despite my lack of similar speed and style.
He has been in there every day that has followed. Always starts out in the jacuzzi first. Always stays till the end of the session.
Feel the comfort a little more in that lane, because of his chilled out vibe.

And then me. “Miss Broadstairs Breast Stroke”. Sounds slightly porno but anyways .. swimming quietly and without a single splash or ripple. That’s ripple.

What I noticed in that environment was that I had to adjust my strategy. No changing of directions in this lane. Having to push myself a little harder and stopping for a few seconds at the end of each lap to avoid shark attack. But in the main swimming up and down at a slightly faster but still consistent pace. I felt happy if a little more under pressure. But what I lack in speed I make up for in stamina. I just keep going for 45 minutes without a rest. Only those few second pauses for the shark.
Like a swimming Duracell bunny. I just keep going. I like the feel of the water as I push it to the sides with my arms as though I’m laying a pathway through the water. I like the weightlessness. I like the feeling of leaving another world behind me as I enter this water world where everything feels more peaceful and simple and everyone exists together in all their different swimming types and styles without any serious discussion in how to achieve that. Just swim.
But in the fast lane I feel the pressure more. Having to hold my own to prove that I have a right to be in there.

Of course Water World isn’t a complete utopia. I’ve heard the odd argument. Some lady got her swimming cossie in a twist one day because the man in the fast lane was splashing so much it got her hair wet. The man said sorry but she then complained to the lifeguard. He didn’t know what to do.
I mean its water world .. you’re gonna get wet.
But I guess she just wanted to avoid having to wash her hair.
My gran would have been the same but whenever she went in swimming she would always put on her big flowery cap. Like a Vivienne Westwood creation. Full protection in place for that rinse and set.

Anyways as I continue on with my thoughts from the other day, I found myself this morning taking my “work a little harder” approach back into the middle lane. The fast lane was rushing like a motorway. It’s a Sunday. Im needing something a little less crowded.. but there were only two of us in the middle for the last half hour. Interestingly the man who tried to race me when I wasn’t racing.
Starring at different ends of the pool. I had the space to be able to swim my perfect version of swimming. Where I have space to really move through the water with more grace and strong arms pushing that water to the sides with wide strokes. Taking my breaths at correct intervals as I moved rather than forgetting as I avoid others to find space.
Pushing myself a little harder as I felt energetic and strong. Setting myself the objective of catching “The Racer”. It was less competing and more to see how much of the gap I could close if I was trying. Little by little passing him nearer to his end as I felt the gap begin to slowly close. Not within a couple of laps but over the course of 20 minutes. I could see it closing little by little and I could tell he did too as he pushed off a little harder against the wall. But I kept on coming until I found myself swimming just a little way behind. At which point I diverted off into the empty slow lane and rolled over into my back and floated away slowly like a little kid.
I didn’t feel a need to go past. It wasn’t anything to do with beating him it was to show me that if I have the space and try a little harder and believe in myself a little more then I’m a force to reckoned with. It’s in me. I was only really racing with myself.

“All battles are first one or lost in the mind”
Joan of Arc

And heart ❤️ totally heart ❤️
Don’t underestimate what cannot be seen

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