I've been sick most of this week with some kind of flu. Whenever I get sick, which thankfully is not often, it feels to me like being underwater. I feel cut-off from the rest of the world. Removed. And it's not just the physical isolation (as I did in fact sequester myself instead of infecting everyone around me), it's a mind thing. My mind feels submerged in a watery underworld when I'm sick.
Come along with me as I continue with this half-baked water theme, won't you?
I'm not a strong swimmer but I love swimming once I'm actually in the water. I'm terrible for getting into water if it is even the slightest bit cold. This is tough when you're Canadian because there are few bodies of water that aren't cold. Most lakes in the summer near where I live are quite delightful to swim in and don't take much getting used to, but I'm still a total chicken anyway. People will be flopping, diving and jumping all around me and I will be slowly wading in, prolonging the unbearable shock of that first full dunk. It's the transitioning from dry to wet that I don't like. Once I'm in, I'm good. Until then, it takes me way too long to get in.
This past summer it took me almost thirty minutes to get in a lake with my daughter. This was a lake I had quite happily swam in the day before, but because the sun wasn't shining this particular day, my body rebelled. It did not want to go in the lake. This was a jump-off-a-dock scenario you understand. There was no slowly wading into the deep, the aquatic plants were too thick and icky for that. I tried to slowly go down the ladder, but that sent me scurrying quickly back up to the dock and under my towel. So I leant over the dock and splashed myself with lake water, but that only made me shiver more. Eventually there was nothing left to do but jump.
After the initial shock (my body was correct, it really was a tiny bit colder without the sun), I felt compelled to apologize to my daughter for being such a chicken, It really was poor modelling behaviour. She had intently watched the whole sorry performance from her, half submerged position in the lake, floating on a foam noodle like some kind of preteen manatee. After hearing my apology she said, with kindness:
"That's OK. You live and learn."
It is so humbling when your children are calmer and wiser than you are.
I have a friend who's father so hated, then Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney that he used his hatred as a way to get himself into the chilly Pacific Ocean when he wanted to go for a summer swim. Perched on top of the rock he intended to jump from, he would then convince himself that he was Brian Mulroney and then he'd feel so angry at himself/Mulroney, he'd throw himself/Mulroney off the rock and into the cold water below.
If' I'd been trying to get myself into a lake today, I might have attempted this technique by using my feelings for our current PM in a similar way on myself. Depending on how the election goes tomorrow I might have to throw myself in a lake anyway.
I figure this technique could come in handy. That's why I thought I'd share it. If you wake up really unhappy on the morning of October 20th, throwing yourself in a lake might be the only thing to make you feel better, or at least alive. This technique could help millions of Canadians, but let's hope we're not going to need it.