The internet was kinda alright this week. Highlights: Having a hobby, academy jerks, Meghan McCain’s tears, the pain of Oprah, the first drag queen was a former slave, Tressie McMillan Cottom, J.Lo and Shakira’s Super Bowl, Christine Sun Kim’s patriotic act, how we make homes, and Erykah Badu’s pussy.
I swim obsessively. I grew up swimming and playing water polo but stopped consistently doing either when I transferred during junior year to a high school that didn’t offer any sports. I didn’t start swimming regularly again until last fall, when I began graduate school—it is the first place I’ve been since I was 15 that has an easily accessible pool.
The pool is only open for lap swim three days a week, and my entire schedule for six days every week revolves around swimming, and the pool’s peculiar hours. Swimming governs everything: when I sleep, when I eat, what I eat, and when I work. I swim for many of the same reasons Ann Helen Peterson declares for running in this essay: “because I like schedules and routine, but I find I am unexpectedly nourished by the vast nothingness of a long run. You’re forced to hang out with your own mind — even if you’re doing it with someone else, you’re still hanging out with your own mind a whole lot. Some people call it meditative, and I guess that’s what I mean when I say that it forces present-ness: you can think about work things, or relationship things, or plan your outfit for the next day, but you’re still right there in your body, doing the thing for the foreseeable future.”
I like swimming the easy sets, long, smooth, and relaxed. Where you can almost fall asleep—the ones where your mind loses count of how far you’ve gone, but your body remembers. I also love the hard ones. The sets where the only thing you can think of is how surprised you are that your lungs haven’t exploded.