The struggle against being pulled under is as hard as it ever was on day one. Harder, truth be told, now that I’m trying to stop three other humans from going under. And I’m the only one who can.
I’ve called for help. Against my will. Because it’s the right thing to do.
I’ve called for a lifesaver – any sort of floatation device. Just to help me when I’m too tired to swim anymore. In response I’ve been thrown plans to build a boat. But I’d have to stop swimming to read the plans, buy the materials, and build the fekking boat. My children would drown.
I have received advice to stop swimming. Float and enjoy the air.
But the current gets mighty strong, and it pulls us all under if I don’t keep swimming.
I did stop treading water for a while, before I had the children in tow. I went under, and when I managed to struggle back to the surface I set off in a different direction. A more promising direction. But the tide is the tide, and the current is strong everywhere.
I just get so tired.
I don’t want anybody to save me. After all, I chose to get in the water.
And I’ve had people offer to save me. Or at least swim beside me. Always they got tired quicker than me, and I had to save them too – or let them drown. Some even tried to pull me under.
From the shore occasional voices have called to me. That my swimsuit is outdated. Or I should be slimmer if I’m going to swim.
Or even congratulations and support, cos I’m doing a really good job of swimming…
The current is coming at me from all directions at the moment. Has been for a while. At some point it becomes impossible to parent lovingly when you constantly have to swim so hard.
These small humans don’t cling to me while I save them. They thrash about endlessly, in joy or panic. And they’re older now, so they now have luggage – not packed in nice floaty suitcases, but floating loose while they try to keep track of all their bits and pieces, while insisting I should. Because I’m the adult. I’m the responsible one.
And every time I get my head up, I can see endless storms brewing, bringing crashing waves – forever…
Today I decided to get out of the water.
I sat on the shore for a while – trying to decide if I really wanted to continue trying to swim. Or just walk away.
I’ve watched everything I care about float away.
I know what I should do.
But diving back in…? I’m so bloody tired. Even if I can save the little ones, they’ll still grow up with the scars of a lifetime of drowning slowly.
If I stay on the shore, evaporating in the dry air…
I feel numb. The pounding in my head from endless waves crashing down on it has gone. The waves that battered me about for years and years and years, while everybody said “Keep swimming. It’s worth it in the end”.
There is no end.