Always got to keep on swimming.
Under the sea may be wetter and so much better for singing crabs, but we’re not living that kind of life.
I don’t think.
I’m finding it hard to think of situations where sinking is helpful. I guess there’s investigating the deep, but I suspect if you’re doing that you should first spend some time learning to swim. There’s not much point in reaching the bottom if you can never get back up again (unless of course there’s something utterly unexpected happens, but it’s fairly absurd to bank on the utterly unexpected, even as you should occasionally prepare for it).
Swimming is movement. Toppling oceans by swinging your arms the right way. Cresting waves and bobbing onwards.
I recently did some damage to myself swimming. It’s really good exercise. Really good exercise being something I haven’t really done for a long time.
But I swam. I got to sea, and then realised I had to come back.
Or I’d have to sink.
It really just didn’t seem like an appealing option on any level.
So this week at least, I’ve felt like sinking would be giving up. Giving up on swimming. Giving up on movement.
To me, that’s farcical. There’s no point where nothing will change. Stasis is not something the universe suits. We are not static beings, no matter how sedentary I am capable of being given appropriate amounts of cake within arms reach.
I’ve said it before (in a text I return to whenever I feel a sinking in my stomach; it helps): Life is change, movement, flux.
We must not give up. For there is nothing there but drowning. Movement is akin to hope. It’s where we go when we seek something new. We should always seek new things.
Learning is also movement. And movement is one of the best kinds of learning.
Action. And feeling within those actions.
Swimming uses your entire body. It’s a full engagement. For me, it’s an arrhythmic, un-coordinated mess of splashing, but even I can see that the professionals, with practice, end up with a perfectly organised balance of breathe, legs, arms and everything in between. Timing and rhythm. Parts of body in synch.
Sinking is just becoming heavy and shrinking.
Which sounds more enlightening. More engaging. More forward facing.
Not that we always have to be these things.
From my agonisingly misjudged swim, I learnt that treading water is fine. As long as you don’t lose sight of your destination. Or the notion that there might be one somewhere.
If this all sounds a bit proactive, perhaps I should note that treading water is sometimes the best bit. A chance to pause and breathe and look. See the immensity of the sea you are engulfed in.
But you can’t stay there forever, eventually you have to ponder the options.
Sink, or swim?
Always swim. Always somewhere. Always with my whole body and self.
Swimming is a good thing, I think.
Illustration by Maria.