I had a conversation with a coworker yesterday. At some point he said, “Black people don’t swim.” I laughed. For the most part he’s correct… I guess. I mean, maybe. When I envision the lap swimmers at a local pool I don’t picture a bunch of Black Americans doing laps for exercise. That’s probably because I haven’t been to a pool in YEARS. As a culture, we don’t swim. I’ll embrace that. We hang out in the pool acting a fool and socializing, but we don’t linger on weekends to perfect our butterfly stroke. Do some Black people swim? Of course.
We “don’t do” activities because historically we were denied access. We were marginalized into our own communities with little access to awesomeness. Think about it. Name something Black people “don’t do.” Now look back at when it became popular in America. If, at some point we were denied access through legal or social infringements it’s probably not apart of our culture now and frankly Black people, that’s lame. We gotta do better.
I’ll swim. I don’t mind it. It’s not like I’m afraid I just haven’t had the opportunity in recent years because of work. If I’m at the pool I usually supervising a bunch of excited youth from the sidelines. Becoming a whitewater rafting guide, however, is on my “Do before I die” list. I’m in this place with work where I want to quit but haven’t figured out my next step. I like my apartment so I want to keep that, but I also want to travel.
I just had a mini daydream about happiness. In it, I went to the local co-op, bought bulked goods, and put them in a storage container in the back of my yet to be purchased vehicle with all my camping gear. I pictured myself traveling with my dog and cooking food on my camp stove and sleeping in the back of my car with the hatchback raised so I could see the sky.
Why don’t I just do that?
Note to self: Answer the above question.
*End Dance Break*
One reason I haven’t swam/swum/what word goes here? in a while is directly connected to body image issues. I haven’t felt at home in my body and I don’t want people doing to me what they do to women at the beach. I am uncomfortable when people remark on my body even if it’s for a compliment. That’s why derby is so fantastic.
I can skate around in fish nets, panties, and a halter top and throw myself around for 90 minutes without someone saying ANYTHING about my body. I love those spaces. I’m going to try to make “swimming holes” spaces like that for me.
Summer goal: Engage in the activities I want regardless of societal pressures. (I’ll let you know how that goes.)