So, without any further ado… Meet Chloe!! Dive into her description of self, as well as one of her super short yet highly impactful stories!
Breath and Swim
Breath. Down. Take a breath. And swim…
The air wasn’t coming easily; your lungs in a frenzied panic, desperately reaching for anything but the choking, suffocating water. Screaming for a reprieve. Screaming for relief. It burns, streaming down your throat in a fiery path of control. Still you push on. There’s no time.
Slicing through the pool, it’s difficult to see your competitors. They could be behind, or they could be ahead. You can’t let them be ahead… Kick. Kick. Kick. Push harder. This is your last chance to qualify for the Nationals. You need this. You want this. But they want it more.
Your parents have been pushing you down this slippery path since you swam your first length, gangly limbs and strong lungs, pushing through the water as fast as you can could. You don’t feel quite as fast anymore.
You remember your first trainer; he used to encourage you with a warm smile and calloused hand. He would embolden you to push a little harder, swim another race or survive the endless aching and intolerable early mornings. With him, you felt like you were the best, with him you were excited for the glory. His enthusiasm made all of it worth it.
It was a few years ago when you considered quitting, it didn’t seem fun anymore. He picked you up and showed you what could come out of your time. He showed you what was possible.
He left a few months ago now, leaving you in this drenching ambition. You’re tired, out of breath. You feel like you’re sinking. It’s draining. All of it. But you still swim, still kick. You can see the end, the repetitive white tiles and the tips of people’s feet as they cheer you on. The roaring reaches beneath the water, eating it’s way into you. They’re cheering for you. They want you to win.
Or maybe they’re screaming for the winner. The winner that isn’t you.
You can see your parent’s faces in your head, smiling, hiding the disappointment behind their false grins and supportive pats when you drag yourself out of the water, no strength left and no medal. They wanted you to win. They wanted it more than you did.
Tomorrow morning, you will be back in the pool going over what you did wrong. The sound of frustration filling the air, echoing off walls until it disappears into the consuming water. You will listen, swim harder, like a frenzied animal, hunting down its prey with an unrelenting fervour.
Or you won’t… Or you could lie around in bed all morning. You’ve never done that before. You don’t have to do what your parents want. You could do what you want; what you feel like doing.
You could be happy.
Strokes slowing, head resolving, you close your eyes. Your body relaxing in the churning water around you.
That lane doesn’t quite seem so constricting now.
When you open them you see the other competitors racing past you. All of them. Overtaking you, barely noticing you. You had been ahead…
Turning your head away from your anxious parents so they don’t see the grin slowly forming on your face, you tip your head back. It should bother you that you could have won the gold.