For photrablogger’s Mundane Monday #109. I took this photograph in 2011. This is a solo synchronized swimming routine. She lifts her legs out of the water to dance above it, while her arms are keeping her in place, lifted, against gravity,, never touching the bottom or the wall. Only the girl and the water and held breath and arms controlling the position and legs following the music and the lift…. it is not actually mundane, is it?
I am a day behind on the A to Z Challenge but that’s ok! I started a day late anyhow….D for diligence. One of the 7 virtues. This is from the 7 Heavenly Virtues, a different list from the cardinal and theological virtues. Bravery is not on the Heavenly list. Diligence is the match for the sin “sloth“. This virtue does not double as an emotion, just as chastity does not double as an emotion. I can feel diligent but it’s not like saying, “I am a sloth today! I feel totally lazy!”
The photograph is from 2011, my daughter and another member of the synchronized swimming team. My daughter started at age 7 and could barely swim one length of the pool, much less two. She fell in love with it and continued until the team disbanded, and then moved on to swim team. It is a spectacularly difficult sport, to dance upside down in the water. They score on the Olympic scale right from the start, earning scores of 1 or 2 out of 10.
Here they are leading a land drill, with younger team members in the water. This is at a meet, so they are ready with their suits and hair pieces for the team performance.
There are so many things that can be approached with diligence that lead to the joy of doing something well and with one’s entire heart…..
Musicians work with great diligence too….here.
For the Daily Prompt: relax.
Well, no, but they aren’t relaxed! This is my daughter and friends from her synchronized swim team in 2011. We have a home show in our small town each year and the parents and friends and grandparents and everyone is asked to come and see our girls perform their routines. They are waiting for the music to start….
But it relaxes me to see this photo and smile and remember. What a lot of work the parents put into supporting the team and driving to meets and making costumes and funding a new underwater speaker and then another one….
And still it makes me smile. And relax.
For the Daily Prompt: Missing. I am a few days late: nearly missed it.
This is our synchronized swim team in 2010. My daughter turned 13 at the end of 2010.
I miss the girls! They will be home from travels and school soon!
I tried for a long time but now I am back in the water. My tail is back. I am so happy with it that for 20 minutes I just swim and dive and play with my own tail, chasing it. I am ready, strong again. I call my people and the waves.
I tried awfully hard on land. I hid the knife that my sisters bought. He married the other one and kept me in the little building in the garden. Everyone knew including her, it was normal for them. She didn’t enjoy his tidal pull, his pounding, the waves. It gave me so much joy. I sang without my tongue. My tongue was not cut out, that is a myth, one of those stories. It’s just that that is how they like the women: voiceless. Silent. Obedient. Admiring. Wounded: oh, he would kiss the poor feet, mangled jangled feet that I am forced to wear on land.
All for love. But: she had children. Three. And I watched as he treated the males as princes and ignored the girl. Mere princess, valueless, to be trained for a strategic wedding. Added value for the land, a pawn in training. She found me. And I pitied her and raised her and told her tales of my home, where people are people, not a gender. Not raised as a separate species.
She disobeyed and her father had her beaten, only where it would not show, and locked up. Bread and water. Cold and cruelty. And suddenly my love was slain. It was as if I was awakened and looked about and saw his cruelty to women and to his wife and his daughter and to me. I was a toy, an amusement, loved only if I kept silent and was crippled by my feet.
I rose and called the waves. The land flooded and the castle was broken and I reached the little princess in time to change her, to give her a tail too.
She is so surprised: in the water. She keeps trying to go up and breathe air and it chokes her. She swims in wild panicky circles, choking on the air, as I drag her out from the castle.
Now we are in the sea and the waters recede, full of broken bodies. Male bodies. I changed every woman I could find and the children if they were young enough and the girls. I called my family, my people. They came and each grabbed one, to drag towards the sea. The ex-humans fight and cough and wail and cry, but we drag them.
And now we sink, each holding one. We sink into the depths. They hold their breath, fighting, but we are so used to our tails and are stronger. And one by one they let the air go and breathe: and breathe the ocean. Breathe. We are entering the dark and the phosphorescent fishes come to see.
Soon we will be home. Just a little further into the ink black: sink.
I took the photograph in 2012 at the Pacific Northwest Synchronized Swimming Regionals. This is a young team routine with eight swimmers. These two are each lifted by three teammates, using only swimming, never touching bottom……
Yesterday I had the massage that I have once every two weeks.
We talk first about muscles and illness and emotions. He is thinking that if we forget how to use certain muscles and put them in the “armor suit” then that is where our body will store toxins. After all, we aren’t using those muscles. Good storage place. And then that in turn is where illness or cancer could pop up.
I am talking about emotions: that the US culture seems to see certain emotions as “negative”. Anger, fear, grief. I asked my son what he thinks emotion is. His reply: “Chemicals?” I think emotions are neurological information. Information just as much as what our eyes see, our ears hear. If we label some emotions as “bad”, how can a child protect herself from a predator, from abuse, from a charming addict? If girls are supposed to be “nice” all the time, they have to suppress any “bad” emotions. Why would we suppress neurological information? And both my massage person and I think that stuffed emotions go into the armor suit. So toxins from the outside and toxins from the inside…. no wonder we get sick.
In the massage I am paying attention to each muscle, asking them to relax, rather then focusing on my breathing. I am also thinking that I am not sure my back is broad enough to carry what I want to carry, between work and family. I am asking the Beloved about that, sort of…. and then I have the sensation that my back is very broad. Enormous. Very very strong. I have small hips and an enormously strong back. I am 5’4″ and 130 pounds. Yet in this sensate dream, my back is as wide and strong as my friend who is 6’4″ and 220 pounds.
It’s not momentary. It goes on for thirty minutes or more. My latissimus dorsi are tight and sore, punching muscles. We talk about how we would both like to see grade school children taught to activate the slow twitch muscles, to loosen and drop the armor suit. Most of the physical education and sports are fast twitch. “Not synchronized swimming,” I say. The first formal move they are taught is to float on their back, legs straight. Hands controlling position. They slowly bend one knee and then straighten that leg up, and equally slowly lower and straighten it. This is called the ballet leg. My daughter started synchro at age 7 and had to do that at the meet. They were scored on the Olympic scoring from the start: the beginners scored in the 3 range.
“No,” he says, “synchronized swimming must use slow twitch. But that and Tai Chi are the only ones I can think of, and maybe some dance.” He says that I need to learn to release that energy: the wanting to punch, wanting to kick, instead of storing it in my muscles…. I have a heavy bag. I will make time.
I am silent, exploring the map of my back, strong and broad enough to carry much more than I thought….
This is our synchronized swimming team at our small local pool, doing the yearly show, in 2010. The five girls are in a routine and just starting a ballet leg in time to the music….
I am tired of fighting
I am tired of fighting for justice
I am tired of fighting discrimination
I am tired of fighting for health care for all
I am tired of fighting insurance companies
I am tired of fighting medicare’s contractee
I am tired of fighting for prior authorization
I am tired
I am a healer
I am trying to heal patients
I am trying to help patients heal
I am a healer
I help heal cancer
I help heal heart disease
I help heal PTSD
heal heart disease
I am a healer
heal the insurance company
heal the medicare contractor
heal the pharmaceutical company
I will fight no more forever
The legs in the photograph don’t look delicate, do they? They are strong and beautiful and powerful. I took this at the National Junior Synchronized Swimming Competition in 2009. Those girls on the edge of being women are strong, they are a team, they work and play together. They have the skills and the strength to lift their bodies out of the water that far using their arms… think about the practice and strength needed to do that. We all want to heal and create fun and play and beauty. Let’s work as a team.
also on everything2.com