Appearances and Realities (Day 60)

I was excited to get back to the bulb with my crew this morning. My adventures this weekend were fantastic, but at my core, I am a creature of habit, and the bulb with its familiar faces, landmarks, and routines, was calling to me. 

It was a little bit warmer today (a lot warmer than last week) and Angie, Colleen, Arwen and I had a lovely swim. It wasn’t a particularly picturesque day, though. An inversion layer shrouded the city and bridge in a brown haze and the water was pretty scummy on top. The tinge of grubbiness that hung over the morning wasn’t evident when I downloaded the pictures, though. In fact, it looks like it was a gorgeous morning. 

Of course appearances are not reflective of realities, but my pictures today really brought this point home. It got me thinking about all of the other ways this blog fails to reflect the realities of my life. Or, rather, fails to capture the whole story. To go by these daily posts it would appear that my life is dominated by one joyful swim after another. In actuality, I’m kind of a mess: war, attacks on trans kids, abortion rights, racism, drought, climate change… the world, and its seemingly endless stream of disasters have me down these days. Plus, I’m worried about my kids; Eliza’s ongoing health problems, Hazel’s mysterious (to me because she won’t talk about it) bouts of sadness. I feel like being a parent is like reading an amazing book, but someone keeps tearing out the pages and you are stuck trying to piece together the plot from whatever bit of text is left. They will both be fine, but worrying about them occupies a significant proportion of my days. 

Also high up there is my writing frustration. I’m deep into my second year of looking for an agent for one—and now a second—novel. The relentlessness of rejection is harsh. Everyone loves the story of the person who fails and fails and then finally succeeds. But what about the person who just keeps failing? The world must be full of stories like that we just never hear. What if that’s my story?

Sigh. The truth is, the joyful daily swims ARE the reality of my life. As are walks through the flower-scented neighborhoods of Berkeley in the spring; laughing with my family; good meals and conversations; music, friendship, love. I spend more time enjoying my kids than worrying about them and writing nourishes me despite my lack of success. But, like the scum on top of the water at the bulb today, all of those other things are also there—they aren’t going to stop me from swimming, but I can’t pretend they aren’t part of the story.

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