Battles of life.

Across the street in front of a store window you see a family gathered around a gleeful child. The child beams with excitement and wonder. The family is close nit and welcoming; you wish you could intertwine into their love because that is all you seek. Instead, you continue down the other side of the street; which seems clouded and musky with a hushed noise engulfing you up. No lights or laughter is along your walk. Only a gradual darkness on this lifeless street.

Years pass and again you walk along that lifeless street; however, this time you are next to your partner. You love them deeply and your walk now has a glow of happiness surrounding your essence. You walk hand in hand down the pavement path, but they stop suddenly causing you to run into their shoulder. Their eyes stare to the left, you follow their gaze to a beautiful human in front of that store. This new human radiates warmth and love. The person stands so tall and proud glancing at all the wonders in the store. Your partner stands there a second to long and you know your love is fake. Their heart is still searching, where as yours was complete and satisfied. Your partner pulls away from you and leaves you there on this side of the street. Without a word of goodbye your partner greets the radiant person as if its love at first sight. You stand there on the now dark path depressed to the core, “Why is life so unfair?” and you continue back down the lonely path and are submerged in the darkness.

Time passed and you have given up on life. You walk this hard paved path and you don’t care what crosses you. Nothing surprises you anymore; you are just not one of the fortunate souls in life. This side of the street has grown more unwelcoming. You can only see a footstep space in front of you. You’ve given up trying to lead a fake life knowing that somehow it will be taken from you. You continue stumbling toward the end of the block to the full submission of darkness; this time not stopping to look over at the side of the street you can never be a part of. You journey on, eyes cast downward, wanting to stop all movement and be done. Darkness…

Life isn’t perfect but its not in total gloom either. You still have no one, but you walk now head high and curious about what will come your way. You are not expecting much from day to day life, but you are optimistic that one day might be better than another. The side of the street you walk on is now slightly brighter. You can walk freely without fearing of tripping over an obstacle. You stop in the spot that has many a day changed your fate. You turn and look towards the side of wonder. In front the store stands a couple and child. The child beams with excitement and the couple are radiant in the light. The family exudes love and you cave and wish that for yourself. You forget your previous mindset and dream of a better life you desire. You turn and continue down the hard pavement path pondering on how you can have what they have.

“Why bother, nothing ever happens for me,” a new day has come and you walk head hanging low. Tears pour down your face. You pour your heart into person after person and they never love you back. You falter every step as you continue down this path. “No one will love me,” and you walk into the shady darkness…

“Life…” you say as you step onto the ground which hasn’t changed. “It’s my own life and I can do with it as I see fit.” You decide that moment on you don’t need anyone, instead just live your life for you. If things happen they happen, but if they don’t you at least love yourself. Every life has love; others might have more, but all lives have love. Walking along the path you follow everyday you pause in the space…You turn your body to align with the spot in front of the window. No people are standing there that spot is vacant.There are lights shimmering and couples and children giggling. “Is this real?”

Standing there alone searching across the street to a bright vibrant side, you step towards it. Your foot falls onto the asphalt ground. It’s firm and will hold you. You continue each step towards a brighter life uncertain if it will be striped away from you. Walking across the street you think back over your life. How you could have changed you life if you had been brave enough to live it alone. Realizing, you had been alone all these years, and you could have been living them alone in a world of light and laughter. Last step…

You are here. The window of dreams and light. You peer inside and you see what all had seen before you. SNAP! A light engulfs you. As your vision comes back, you see your own image in front of you. You are a small human standing wide eyed and dreamily into this gleaming world. You look radiant against the dark shadows behind you. The picture is proof that you live. Life is about living it. You live in the bright and darkness of the world. To say you only live in the bright happy one is fake, and to say you are doomed to live in the darkened one forever is fake. Life is living between the two. Constantly battling and struggling to stay in the middle.

Looking up and down this brightened street, everyone is too happy, faking their emotions. You don’t feel comfortable here, because this is not life either. You turn back towards the darkened side. You walk to the center of the asphalt road…This is life; where the shadows mix with the light creating the perfect balance. A path suited for living.

As life goes on, you stumble and falter between the happy and sad sides of life, but you always stop, gather yourself up, and return to the center.

Live life. Live it for yourself. Take the battles on. Follow the path designed for you. Love.

Fake

Store All You Love.

“One pillow. One blanket. One pajama shirt. One Pajama pant.” placing each item inside as I mentally check off my list.

“Honey, what are you doing?” Mom called from the room across the hall.

“I’m packing mommy! You will be so proud of my accomplishments when I finish!” my voice creeping louder as my words continue on. Probably due to my face being stretched wide to fit my prideful smile.

“You don’t need to worry about that dear. I was going to pack your things.” Her voice travels past my room and into the bathroom. “Packing can be very difficult due to limited space; if you do not do it in the right order.”

Hearing her collect objects reminds me I need my batman toothbrush and bubble gum toothpaste. My mother’s body passes by my room again and back into her own. I go collect my bathroom necessities. I add a roll of toilet paper to my case, because daddy always says, “You can never have enough of this lifesaver.” So I’ll pack it for him.

Thinking to myself, “What did Mommy mean about order…my order is working just fine.” So I place the toothpaste and brush on top of my pajamas and the toilet paper too.”Now where was I on my list?” drilling through my brain for that mental list….”Right…underwear!”

“Honey, are you going to say bye to your friends. We won’t be back for about 3 weeks. That can seem like a lifetime in kid years.”

“I did yesterday. I explained to them that it is not for forever. They said they would come say good bye before we leave” my friends are awesome, as I place the three pairs of each superhero & barbie underwear on top of the bathroom stuff.

I can’t believe Mommy gave me this tiny little suitcase to fill up with my most loved things. My new mental list has too much on it and it would have been impossible for me to fit it all inside so I did what Mommy keeps telling me…”Use that creative brain you have and solve problems.” Which is what I did. Making it possible for me to place my teddy bear: Mr. Pinky, coloring book and crayons, Lego, my three favorite books, a package of gram-crackers just in case I get hungry, and my tiny diary which holds my deepest secrets. Mommy told me to always keep my most loved items close to me…Feeling accomplished I close the lid and zip it shut.

I lay on my bed exhausted from my morning…

“Okay honey I am ready…” Mommy stops mid sentence as she enters my room.

I sit up expecting her match my same huge smile, but instead I see fear and contained anger. “Oh no…” I think to myself, ” Mommy’s mad again. “Mommy?”

Her face changes several times until she changes back into my beautiful mommy. “Honey I thought I told you I would pack.”

“I know, but I wanted to help you because you are the best mommy ever and I wanted to give you a break.” I run to her and squeeze her as her knees dig into my chest. I pull her towards my creation.

She stops before the suitcase, “what did you do?” Is all she can muster as she stares at the suitcase.

“Well you always tell me to use my brain before anything else, and I knew before I started packing that what I wanted to pack wouldn’t fit so I tore the bottom of the suitcase off,” which actually took a lot of work, “and taped a sheet to the bottom,” I used that tape that Daddy always uses when something breaks that he doesn’t have time to fix at the moment. That strong stuff; which is tough to rip off the roll. “Its kind of like the Mary Poppins bag, Mommy!”
She stands staring at that suitcase. She moves towards it and  lifts the handle. She pulls it off the bed slowly.

I am crossing my fingers hoping that my Mary Poppins bag stays strong. It should because I used the entire roll of that strong Daddy tape. I watch as she begins to lift the case and sheet extension off the ground and…

“It held!” I squeal with excitement. I stand a bit taller proud of my invention.

Mommy places the case back on the floor, and plops on the bed. She opens her arms and I climb inside my castle of warmth and love. Footsteps sounds wander through the house and Daddy’s head pops into view. His face changes just like mommy’s did: from confused to angry to calm again. He sits down right besides us and hugs my Mommy and rubs my back.

“So it seems that our dreamer packed her own things this time.” Daddy says as he messes my hair and smiles a proud smile for me.

“She did. She did it for me. She wanted me to have a break.” Mommy says to him with a sweet smile.

“Did you fit everything in your case?” Daddy stands and lifts the handle and the case and sheet follow. “Oh…” his face changes to confused again…

I caught the smallest of look that Daddy gave Mommy. He looked to her ever so quickly that I almost missed her caring eyes saying something to him. It’s probably and old person thing that I won’t understand for a long time.

Daddy sets the case back down and sits back upon my bed. “So my creative genius used her brilliant mind again!”

“Yeah Daddy, I did.” My smile returning to my face. “Mommy told me to pack the most important things to me, and I knew what I wanted to pack wouldn’t fit in this case so I need it to be bigger.”

“Did you pack everything you need?” He asks as he squeezes the breath out of me.

“Yeah! After I change my first plan of packing; everything fits perfectly.” I squeeze him right back.

“Ellie! We are outside!!” voices flood through my window from outside.

“Can I?” I jump up and stop at the door.

“Go ahead.” They say together.

_12 years later_

“What’s this?” As I pull it out from the back of my closet.

“Oh wow! I haven’t seen that for years.” Mom says as she sits on my bed holding the object. “This was your suitcase when you were 6. We went on that vacation, and you decided to pack all your stuff yourself.”

Drilling into my brain trying to find that memory…”Right, My Mary Poppins bag! I  extended it with a sheet to fit my most loved things inside.” I sit holding that suit case/sheet. “Its smaller than I remember. I would have never fit my original plan,” placing that memory on the bedside table.

“What was your original plan? It always made me wonder. But you were so young I didn’t know if you would remember.”

Smiling to myself as I sat down beside my mother. This time I embrace her in a loving hold. “I wanted to pack you and Dad. In my mind I needed a case big enough for you both to be comfortable for the trip; so that’s why I extend the case.”

“I never expected that. Your father would be so happy to know this if he were here.” Her small body falling into my own arms and remembering Dad in this moment I rub her back.

“But then I remembered I needed you to travel with me, and since the case was already extended I filled it with other things I loved.” Remembering opening that bag once we got to where we were going…everything sticking to each other because the toothpaste exploded; the toilet paper winding around everything; the gram-crackers powdered over everything. My poor mother…

“Oh…I’m sorry Mom for ruining your suitcase. I just realized I ruined it for any future use.”

“Oh, its fine dear. The thing is, I gave you that case because my mother gave it to me. She said it had been used as several different things before becoming a case; through our generations it has be changed into whatever someone needed. This is a traveling invention in our family. You are part of its history because do you know why…”

Remembering Dad…”A creative genius with a brilliant brain…” taking up that case again, and embracing it along with Mom.

“Yes, my creative inventor.”

Suitcase

Art…

 

For some Wish was mereason I love drawing this girl.

I do see myself, but I also see someone I wish I was. Its like this girl is at war with herself, this one in particular…

She is confident but shy. She is simple but vibrant. She is peaceful, but containing her wild side.

I feel this way all the time. Wanting to be one thing but afraid what will be the repercussion. No matter how I portray myself I am terrified.

So to me this picture is saying, “Be Brave…” which is what I say every morning I begin my day.

(Also I wish my hair was this color…)

The Eating Machine.

I have been doing this calorie counting app for about 2 months now. I am not using it as a way to diet or lose weight I was just more curious about what I was eating. As an athlete I could eat anything and it didn’t matter. But now as I eat this Greek Honey Yogurt I ponder on why I am eating it….

I’m hungry! And even if it takes up 300 of my calorie intake I will eat it anyways. Because I am one weird eating machine…

Saturday I ate the right amount of calories and I stayed the same weight. Monday I ate not enough calories and I gained weight. And Yesterday I ate too many calories (insert evil laugh, “Mwahahaha”) and I lost a pound. I don’t get it. Even my brother told me I was eating too much for dinner, but I was hungry so I ate it all! 

I know it won’t be like this forever, but I still find it odd…the funny part is the app graphs your weight as chart, and mine looks like jagged/vampire teeth…

I know this is a weird post, but it’s what was on my mind at the moment…It’s kinda funny to me. 🙂

A Story: Part 10

A Story: Part 9

Sun…the brightest sun yet pierces my eyelids. The beach again; I had wished I might dream about the forest. Strange…I know that day was reality and not a dream; I can feel the stabbing splinters in my knees from the mulch. Also, I have had many dreams of the sky and I have never imagined it so blue. There were small hints pink, purple, and yellow hues hinted through the sky. The soft white clouds seemed to float aimlessly through the breeze without a care. It was peaceful; it was adventure. Instead, I know I am back on that stupid nightmare beach; again, probably to be tortured by my mind, David, or both.

Blaring heat surges through my body, and I press my body deeper into the cloth beneath me; it must be Danny’s.  “Danny…” tears whirl up inside me as I think about that little boy who didn’t know there was a reality beyond that evil red door. He never experienced the sky, birds, or sounds of peace. He lives inside me, but never free…just like me.

Far off steps come towards me; slow and softly, trying to sneak towards me. “David…” my body tightens and I grip the material beneath me and my palms begin sweating. They said my neck was from someone powerful; could David be this powerful? “Is that why he lives in my brain, but still lingers in the foreground never surrendering?” The pain and worry stir my head into chaos.

The steps keep coming, and I can no longer take the suspense. My eye open and I lunge up and prepare…

“David…” his mangled but strong body comes towards me. He looks to be alive but dead in all senses. He looks strong though in this ugly state. And he continues towards me not faltering or stumbling this time, but slow and steady towards his prey.

“David? What do you want?” my body is wavering, so I dig my feet deeper into the sand. That will hold me for a while. “David!?!”

He is about ten feet away and he stops. His dead eyes travel up to mine and they stare deep inside me. His arms tense and he bring his hands up level with my neck and his hands tense into talons. Then he continues towards me.

My mind is blurring and my limbs are wavering, but I hold my ground. “David! Stop. Talk to me.”

He stops. His eyes flicker a moment before continuing his march…

“David?” this human who has tried to kill me several times, and been the cause of other’s deaths…I step towards him.

He stops suddenly and his face contorts to an expression of…fear. He steps back once too, to regain his balance. His eyes spark life and they search my face. His body is tense and looks to be in a state of fight or flight.

“David?” I keep moving towards him. Small enough steps to keep a distance just in case, but I continue to close the gap. “David…” what was that…The smallest of tears ran down his face before he whisked it away from my sight.  “David?” and I extend my palm towards him.

He stands stilled in his tensed perch; he looks to be at war with himself. I am only a few steps away and I can hear the raspy whisper of his breath. I can see the blood and mud smeared skin. I can smell the many smells he has been covered with. “How long has he been like this? Is this what it is like in my dreams for the many essences in my mind…? Danny…?” my mind beginning to fog.

My palm touches David’s jawline, and he face is cold and rough. He looks old and worn this close, and his eyes show a hint of sadness. There is a track in the mud upon his face where the tear scurried down. My face inches from his…his body begins to shake…either fear or…

“David? Speak to me…” I say in the softest voice, not wanting to scare or change his mood.

“J…J…Jan…”

“JANE!” an invisible hand grasps my shoulder and pulls me back into reality.

My eyes open instantly and I am back in that dampened tree trunk room. A pair of hands still shaking my shoulders to awaken me.

“Stop it!” and I shove the hands away without thinking.

The body falls of the bed, and onto the floor.

A thud is all I hear. “David?” I think before anything else…why did I have to come back now…

“Are you all right?” the voice, from the body still sitting on the floor asks.

The voice brings me back into reality, the voice…Liam.

I swing my body towards his form and produce my chest over the ledge of the bed, just above him. He sits there collapsed on the floor, head down with his long locks cascading around his face.

Liam… “Umm…uh…”

His head jolts up and his eyes look directly into mine, like he can see through me. His hair falls down around his neck and he sits there without noise looking at me.

Without know why I fling my body back away from him, his eyes seemed to pierce my soul. No one has ever look as intently and focused at me before. It made my chest well up inside, but also with a mixed in feeling of fear.  I sit holding my knees frantically in the middle of the bed, trying to calm myself.

Liam’s body moves, and he stands before me. His body towers next to me, and it seems like if he were to extend a little more he would hit his head on the ceiling. He stands there awkwardly a moment before sitting on the edge of the bed next to me.

Every movement he makes I notice…the way his hand places itself within inches of my foot to brace his body. How as he releases a long breath his back slumps and relaxes ever so slightly. How when he breaths his hair flutters from his breath. How his eyes search my face then the room, before focusing again on me.

“Liam…” I say and his eyes jump to mine, his eyes alive and excited. But more like and excited fear.

“I didn’t know if you would remember or not,” his voice is different from before, deeper but more like a whisper.

Silence fills this little room. Even with another person to gain so much more info I feel like I can and cannot trust him. I want to know more, but I do not want to be lied to by him. “Liam? Why did you pull me out of my dreams?” The only thing I can think of to ask…

His face changes slightly, “Sorry for the harsh awakening. I tried to wake you but you didn’t respond and I was worried you were gone. The only way I could think of was to wake you was with force. Are you alright?”

So he didn’t wake me because of my dream, but because I did not wake. Strange it seemed like he was pulling me out of my dream by force to end it. Realizing I hadn’t answered him, “I am fine, I just wanted to finish my dream…” never knew I would ever say that about my nightmare beach…

“Was it a good dream? I am sorry to take you out of your peace.” His eyes clouded with sadness.

“It was an interesting one. Just an experience I wanted to know how it would end…but it’s fine, really.” Trying to end this conversation, because I don’t want to have to lie to him about anymore dreams.

Silence again creeps into the room. I feel content with the silence, because I don’t want to start another conversation and Liam seems to be a war with his mind. Instead, I watch his eyes change. They go from a sadness, to excitement, to fear, to determination, to nothing in seconds. His eyes are still the beautiful orange color. With every different emotion the ablaze in his eyes liquefies and switches to another. They seem to dance and spark with his emotions. His body lets out another breath and his eyes focus again on mine.

However, my eyes were already staring into his so when his eyes meet mine they show excitement and a hint of fear at once, making the flames sparkle. We sit there in silence pouring into each other’s eyes. Trying to discern anything without speaking.

“Jane…” he says…

“Liam…what are you doing?” a voice enters the atmosphere and our bodies tense. Liam turns to face to voice, as he does his body reveals the small girl from before standing in the door frame. She is holding a bowl of water and a towel over her arm. A small whiff of honey and peaches seeps into the room.

“Penny…” Liam says without thought…and he sharply turns towards me. The small girl of honey and peaches, drops the bowl, sloshing the water all over the ground, and the bowl clatters unbroken. Liam’s body is over me. His eyes dance with fear. “Jane…you must not say you know her name. Please, don’t call her by name!”

The voice of the old man comes into the room as Liam pulls his body away from mine. The old man is just that an old man. But his body suggest much pain and war, but it also shows his strong nature and stubbornness. His arms and legs are scarred and beaten. But he still looks strong enough to kill if need be. “Child are you alright?” he asks the small fragile girl, as she stand carelessly stilled and frozen with fear.

She cannot or will not answer him. The man’s eyes travel from hers, to Liam’s, to mine. His eyes are dark blue, with a hint of brown. But mostly darkness produces from his eyes, and they tear into mine in search of a reason.  I look away, because I don’t want him to know anything about me, I don’t trust his eyes.

Liam is the first to speak, “I am sorry for the commotion. She,” gesturing to Penny, “did not expect me to be in here. She was startled by my presence and so she dropped the bowl.”

Liam said that quite effectively and without wavering. He is an excellent liar…The old man seemed to buy the story and his body relaxed a small amount. His eyes still lingered over my body and I could feel his glare barring down into me. However, he turned back to Penny.

She was not a good liar, her body was still shaking with fear and she seemed to be about to burst into tears…

“So, who are you?” my voice breaks before her sobs do. Liam’s body stiffens and Penny’s face contorts to fear, but it silences her sobs.

The old man turns back to me, and I prepare my eyes for his intensive gaze. His eyes drill into me; his expression telling me I will not know this answer. He steps towards me and the room seems to shrink in size. He is larger than he looked and as he came forward his body straighten to almost match Liam’s height. Liam still stands beside my bed, but his body tries to stay firm in this man’s way; however, as the old man nears Liam moves to give way to the man’s destination.

I feel so small on this bed, as the old man towers over me. Liam is no longer able to be seen around this massive body, and Penny is silent. The man hesitates slightly before racing out a hand to clasp my shoulder.

All my strength is gone, but I can feel everything. A whirling fire soars through my body. It’s like a current of pain reaching ever crevasse of my figure. It feels like a snake is slithering through my veins in search of something. I lose all sense of sight and I fall into darkness, but I am still conscious. My essence falls into my subconscious and, “What…?”

There in my mind stands an apparition of the old man. He is wandering into my thoughts searching for something. “How is this possible?” I think to myself hoping he is not able to hear my thoughts. Every step the man takes I can feel. I can feel his eyes drill into my memories. However, I close off the tunnel to my dreams. Those are mine. I stand from afar watching him. He aimlessly wanders, but he is determined…

“This must be strange for you?”

“That voice… David,” and David’s body metalizes beside me. I feel fear, anger, and sadness towards him. “How…why…?”

He just looks at me, and I know he won’t answer. “How do you like someone else wandering inside your brain who is alive still?”

True. All the lives inside my brain are there because I put them there, this man is here because he put himself here. “David,”

He doesn’t acknowledge me, but he does smile a wicked smile in the old man’s direction. Without moving David vanishes and appears behind the old man.

“DON’T!” My voice cuts across to the old man and he vanishes before David’s hands clasp his throat. All around me is fading and all I see is David’s body bowing towards me like, he is commending his action for me in some way. Again darkness fills my mind and I lay alone in blackness.

“What happened?” Liam’s voice enters the void. “Are you alright?”

A scuffle and noises come too as my eyesight returns. There in the chair next to bed is the old man. But he looks smaller and fragile; he looks to be fifty years older. Liam is next to him trying to revive him. Penny is across the room getting more water. She returns to place a wet cloth on his forehead and she mumbles something and the old man surrenders to the cold water. His body relaxes and sinks into the chair.

I am flat on my back laying on the bed. I lift my head to see better, and Liam sees my movement. He quickly moves to my side and whispers in my ear, his breath warm, “lay quietly, do not stir until we move him…I will come back.” He lifts his head and his eyes find mine; he is telling the truth. I close my eyes and lay stilled upon the bed. But my eyes stay sharp listening to my surroundings.

“Come quickly!” Liam calls out and feet shuffle down the stairs and many new bodies enter the room. “Take him to his own room,” Liam says, as his body slowly moves out of the room.

I feel alone again. Grunts and winces sound next to me as I can sense many men lift the old man to carry him from the room. I lay as perfectly still as possible.  But before the forms move away one says, “She is beautiful.” I wonder to whom he was speaking…

The bodies carefully leave the room and climb the stairs; I hear them until they are too far and I am again left in silence. I am unsure if I am alone so I stay laying, eyes closed, and alone in this room until Liam returns.

I hear a shuffle of steps across the room, but without knowing who I lay stilled and frozen.  I am terrified, because I don’t want to die. Steps continue towards me and a hand places itself caringly over my mouth. My eyes open and there is Liam, suppressing my mouth to tell me to be quiet. His eyes are glazed over; I cannot read his feelings. He removes the hand and he collapses onto the bed again beside me. This time, however, his body hunches over and he rests his head between his knees to slow his breathing. I resituate myself into a more upright position so I can witness everything. My head swirls slightly. Penny comes through the doorway with another bowl and she carries it to table beside me. She places one wet towel on Liam’s neck, and then she sponges way my sweat from my brow and chest. She sits there in silence eyes cast downward wiping away. Liam’s breathing slows and his backs cracks releasing tension, but stays hunched over.

Penny drapes a new wet cloth over his neck and he sighs deeply. She seems better than before but her baby blue eyes seem sad and vacant. No one says anything, and it seems like they will not. I try to sit content that they came back but I cannot. My emotions will not let me, and my boil begins to boil. “What happened just now?”

My question cuts through the moment of peace and stillness. I feel like I just poked the belly of the beast. Liam’s back lifts and sits up straight; holding a breathing, stretching his muscles, and then releasing it his body slumps once again before turning to me. Penny seems to bow out and she leaves the room. Liam’s eyes are vibrant once again, but filled with fear and anger.

I cannot discern if the emotions are directed for me of at me. He looks straight into my eyes and his flame seems to ooze into my soul. He stares down into me, and I feel my body pulling away, but before I can his hands clasp my shoulders and pull me towards him. I am inches from his face and his breath soaks into my flesh…

“What did you just do?” Liam says point blank at me, furiously.

“What!?!…” I about to speak…

Liam’s hands grip tighter and he shoves me against the bed frame, and my back digs into the metal bars. He is strong, stronger than I imagined. I cannot move. His face inches from mine. His lips move, but I hear nothing. Penny is next to us and she is mouthing something. Liam falls away from me, and my mind fogs. Penny handles my body back onto the bed. I drift away into darkness with a lingering smell of honey and peaches.

Fight.

Fight…can be brutal, casual, abusive, exciting, debates, physical, empowering, mental, determination, childish, or just a fight.

I have heard many and experienced all of these types; I am sure I forgot some or I have not yet had the pleasure of experiencing them…

A fight can be in many different ways. It does not just mean a physical altercation with another physical body. I have experienced the brutal fight, but this one I was the controller behind the brutality. I know this makes it sound like I did something stupid but to me it was when I would race. In a 50 Freestyle it is a fight to win. In other races you can set your own goal and race your own race, but in a 50…you have to fight back against the other swimmers and hit the wall before them. So, if you want to be the winner you have to do many things, all at once perfectly, without screw up. It is the hardest race for most athletes and only the best get to race it in the big leagues.

So to me the brutal part in the fight to the wall was lack of oxygen. You must hold your breath, while sprinting, while fighting, while losing consciousness, until you hit the wall. And the controller or boss of your lack of oxygen is yourself. You have to want “it” more than air. You have to want to see black spots in your vision and win before you can have that healthy breath of oxygen.

I remember my coach always telling me to stop breathing. I thought that was kind of funny, because that’s something you say when you are extremely mad and you want the person to drop dead. But as a swimmer you hear this all the time. It is a natural thing to hear. My response every time was, “I know, I know…” I am sure my coaches were annoyed at me at some points of my career, but I am also sure they were excited when I swam. Because swimming was my fight. It was what drove me to wake up every day. It made me want to be an athlete. It has made me fight for want I want in life.

But it has also made me a passionate coach. This year I get to coach the varsity team; everything is faster, quicker and more intense. Not as intense as when I swam but way higher than JV. But, I can get a little too invested in my athletes lives. Some of them are swimming to stay in shape for polo season. Some are staying in shape for the summer. Some girls just want a good tan for that beach day. Some swimmers like swimming as a fun sport, but don’t have the drive. But I do have a handful that personally told me they want to be the best they can be, and they will work hard to be the best.

So, to tie in the breath control thing…we had a swim meet yesterday and I put all of them in the 200 Freestyle Relay so they could all do a 50. But also, relays have so much more pressure to them; they were one of my favorite parts of the sport. Because if you messed up your own individual race it was just “your” bad. But if you messed up on a relay or went to slow you lost if for yourself and three of your other teammates.

But on Wednesday, before the meet, we worked on breath control, I gave them an easy set, however the catch was that they could only take two breaths. Some of them they looked at me like I was crazy or it was an impossible task. You should only be taking 1-3 breaths in a 50. I always took 1 so 3 is giving them a buffer. I would say on average that 15 of my 22 athletes take on average 8 breaths in their 50…sometimes more like 11. So to some of them it seemed impossible. But I wanted to challenge that handful of people who like swimming but have never been challenged…they thought I was crazy, but they still attempted it…

They found that when you don’t breathe you push yourself harder to make it to that wall before you take that extra breath you don’t really need. If you put your head down and let your limbs pull your body to the finish the race will be over before you know it. As of right now, for them, it is only a 23-25 sec race. You only have this much time or less to be perfect. So if you take one factor out, breathing, then there is less to worry about. One less thing to have in your mind as you race and fight for the finish makes it that much easier to succeed. The fight is a fight to the finish…

Fight