Last night's dream began as most of them do with the swimmers on the blocks... as you do. Take your marks! (I did, like a cat waiting to pounce.) I love the look of an Olympic sized pool, so blue, so still, stretching out in front of you, waiting to be messed up like a clean bed with fresh linens. I'm waiting for the buzzer... for the reflexes to snap and dive; instead, however, I heard a splash. False start. Clearly there would be a restart. But, there wasn't. All in a matter of fractions of seconds, so and so takes off in a sprint, the buzzer goes off, we all glance at each other, realize the officials are just letting this all go amiss, and one by one we dive in. I was one of the last off the block, and it almost seemed like I really woke up in the water, all Inception style and whatnot. I was trying to remember what stroke I was supposed to be doing, unsure whether it was butterfly or free-style. I nearly did a flutter-kick which would've gotten me disqualified, but I remembered, butterfly, managed to pull off a not so good streamline, nonetheless, and dolphin kick for my life!
I was so frustrated to be off to a bad start...
I took my first stroke and I was already exhausted. It felt impossible. I was way in over my head. But I kept moving.
There are those moments when you're digging deep, pulling out every ounce of energy you really don't have. Like that weird tingly feeling before passing out, and your insides are turning to mush, and you think you might be sick, and at any moment your arms, legs, heart, body is going to cave no matter how much you tell it to MOVE! A feeling of being so heavy and weightless all at the very same time. The cool water felt hot, and it was a struggle to keep the breathing pattern, tempted to breathe on every stroke. My ears were ringing in the crash of the water, but my eyes are fixed on the wall.
And the next thing I know, in my peripheral view, I'm moving past each person and end up at the front of my heat. Wait, what?
Then, came the split second calculation of whether to glide into the wall with a kick or to do one last stroke. I'd rather not underestimate with a glide, so I pulled. The middle of my forearms ready to collide with the wall, but I managed to control the impact. I take that first breath, and look around, realizing I'd finished first!
But, instead of the adrenaline rush of winning and wanting to do a happy dance or fist pump, I felt overwhelmed with emotion and just wanted to cry tears of relief, mostly... and maybe some sort of happiness that I hadn't given up. The race started unfairly... I was exhausted from the moment I began. It looked impossible to even place at all... I would've been happy to finish. But, I finished... and finished strong. And in the end, it didn't matter how crappy it started, because the result was in my favor. I didn't quit. And moments like that make me want to cry... it's so beautiful to reach the other side of a deep struggle. When the outcome is good, in fact, better than expected. When you can say, it was all made good... that redemption won out in the end... it mattered... no more disappointment.
I didn't even realize just how much I feel like this in my life right now until writing this all out. I'm tired of being strong. I'm absolutely exhausted in every way that one can be. I feel like I'm teetering over the line of giving out, no matter how hard I push. My mental, emotional, spiritual, and even physical muscles are starting to spasm... There's a ringing in my ears... the roar of the waves around me... But, my eyes are fixed. I'm not entirely sure where the finish line is, but I keep moving. One day at a time. Keep pulling one day at a time. Hoping the outcome will make it all worth it... that love and redemption does win.