I groan internally. This is not the time I want to wake up to.
I’m usually a straight sleeper – I knock out and wake up once a day. Maybe it’s because I know I have to wake up earlier than usual to hit the gym because I’ll be in LA for work today. Maybe it’s because the door’s open with the light from the kitchen streaming in. I don’t know.
But I know it’s useless to try to fall back asleep. My body is tired, my mind is awake.
I unlock my phone and lie to myself that I’ll scroll through social media to fall asleep. I’ve seen enough Buzzfeed and Huffington Post articles to know using electronics before sleep prevents sleep.
I watch a 15 minute stand-up comedy of a guy I’ve never heard of. And then I decide I’m going to write.
As I get into it, I know I’m not getting into it. I quit. I check Instagram, the next logical course of action.
My friend has messaged me and, knowing him and his sleeping patterns (he has none), I hit him back up fully expecting a response at this time. I get one.
An hour passes talking about life. Talking about going after the things that matter. Him pushing me more than anything to go for what makes me happy. To fuck what everyone says. To step into the rest of everything that’s supposed to happen after one quits her job, namely living with no regrets.
I love talking to him because he says everything I want to believe. Everything I want for my life, he speaks it. It’s like… porn for me. I don’t know that sounds but if that sounds scandalous, that sounds about right.
Because it’s the secret things, the things I wouldn’t even utter to my friends for fear of having to explain myself, for fear of being told to face reality, to face the fact that I need to get my head on straight and do something logical for once.
But he tells me that what I want is valid, it’s legit, and worthwhile. He tells me sweet… things. Whether they’re sweet nothings, full of intention but void of actual execution, or sweet somethings, I get to decide. And because I rarely get to hear it the way he says it, it’s a secret pleasure to lean into our conversations.
Damn, I think I make it sound more scandalous than it is. Hahaha. But it is. That’s what scandalous is to me – it’s listening to myself, being open to failure, being excited about the unknown, vulnerable to the universe yet aware of its respect and care for me. These things excite me, they arouse me.
I feel alive when I acknowledge that. It scares the shit out of me. But I feel alive. I crave, I lust after it. I glorify it, and desire it in my utmost deepest being. Can I say that about a lot of things? Not really, I think. Everything else is vanilla. Anything that doesn’t make me breathe deep and close my eyes out of sheer enjoyment is vanilla. Everything else is okay, tolerable maybe, but it’s not everything.
Am I crazy or what?
I conclude our conversation saying I’m going to try to get in an hour in before I have to head to the gym. I do not understand how or why he’s up, especially since he’s on the east coast. Not my business. We bid each other deuces and I close my eyes, feeling a little more restful already.
I go in and out of sleep until my alarm rings.
I get up without groaning, moaning, or bitching. It must be done. I pull on my swimsuit and workout clothes, lug all the gear I’d prepared the night before – my laptop backpack, change of clothes, and breakfast (two boiled eggs, a small sweet potato, soy milk, a cucumber, half an apple, and my vitamins).
I get to the gym, and after stowing everything in a locker, I get in the pool. It’s empty. Good.
I set the timer, go for the first warm up laps, and then into my actual workout.
I feel my arms ache with that dull pain, my muscles complaining ever so slightly, making sure I hear their tugging. I think they hope I’ll listen. But I’m too far gone for that. I know what I’m doing, I know what I came for. Or at least I thought I did.
I pull each stroke, feeling the strength of my arms, feeling the mileage behind me, all the laps, all the flip turns, all the desperate sucking for air every three strokes. I feel it all and I know there’s no way in hell I’m stopping for anything.
I count the strokes. I’ve been counting with area codes because I got bored with 1-2-3, 2-2-3, 4-2-3… Now it’s 5-6-2, 6-2-6, 7-1-4… Lol. It works.
I count the laps – I only count up to 10, but count every 10th lap with 20, 30, 40 as I go to keep track.
Then, at some point, I’m no longer thinking about the counting. I’m no longer thinking about the strokes. I’m no longer thinking about the laps. I’m no longer thinking about the swim. I’m no longer thinking about the destination.
I’m movement – fluid, smooth, powerful movement.
My goggles have completely fogged up – the lane indicator at the bottom of the pool is a blur of dark blue against the light blue of the pool floor. My swim cap feels like it’s flapping and it’s inched its way above my ears now.
But I’m not thinking about how my body is sensing things.
I’m movement – instinctual, animal, lithe movement.
I pull and pull and pull and pull and flip and pull and pull and pull…
The numbers come, the numbers go – 30, 40, 60, 80…
I don’t doubt my counting like I used to – was that the 5th lap of the 40’s? Or the 5th lap of the 50’s? Or was that the 7th lap?
I’m trusting completely and I know I am because there’s so space between my being and my movement for doubt. I go go go…
And I realize… this what I came for. I didn’t come to the pool for a workout. I didn’t join the gym for a training plan. I didn’t sign up for the triathlon to stay in shape.
I’m in the water, on the bike, on the treadmill/sidewalk, day in and day out, looking for rhythm – that sacred rhythm where everything makes sense and nothing makes sense. Where the only response is to let be – or perish.
That moment – that moment of realizing this is it, and letting it wash away because when you’re in it, you’re in it. Don’t think too much, you’ll ruin it. Don’t glorify it, it’ll dissipate because it has no ego. Don’t chase it, it doesn’t want to be needed. Don’t fear it, you won’t get stuck in it.
Because the rhythm knows – it serves us and it serves us well. It’s the up-and-down of life, coming around full circle every time, but never to the same spot. It’s the crest and trough of our days, months, and years. It’s the reminder that we are part of a cycle and there’s a cycle within us. It’s the remembrance of our place in the universe – unique yet part of the whole, like all the others.
So what does this moment have to do with the conversation from earlier?
I don’t know. Hahaha. I really don’t know. I’ve half a mind to split this up into two blog posts, one to post today, one for tomorrow. But I’m not here trying to meet a damn quota. I’m here to do my thing.
I think that conversation ignited something. I think it let me know I’m in the rhythm, and the rhythm, this sacred rhythm I can’t understand fully, is taking me somewhere – I’m not too sure where. I just know it doesn’t matter. Because I’m movement, and movement doesn’t doubt. I just know, things aren’t the same.
To be pushed to the ledge in the conversation reminds of all the times in the past I’ve been pushed to the ledge, stretching my faith, my religion, myself. It’s coming around full circle, just never the same spot. It’s happened before and it’s never happened before.
I wish I could say it’s easy going going forward, that I simply need to go with the rhythm. But I know, I will be fighting the world to protect the rhythm, to listen to my heart and soul. I will be duking it out against logic and rationality. Because if I don’t, I’ll perish.