Go ahead, have a fit.
I’m tired, hungry, stressed and don’t want to be social.
It’s Friday night after work. I’m planning on going out—and I will. I just need to throw a good old fashioned tantrum first.
Some people thrown down. Some throw a party. I’m throwing a fit and my local swimming pool is hosting.
Starting my usual warm up, I push off the wall. Instead of stream lining 25 yards ahead to the opposite wall where I usually do a flip and head back the other way, I finish a few strokes, arrive at the 13-foot deep end and start to tread water. My magnificent display of utter flailing foolishness begins.
I’m at the pool but I don’t want to workout. I don’t want to follow the black line at the bottom of the pool. I don’t want to jog from point A to B. I don’t want to bend over or breathe when someone tells me. I don’t want to sit and watch my thoughts. I don’t know what’s for dinner, where it’s going to come from or whom I’m going to eat it with. I need to go to bed.
So, I do what any adult would do—I throw a tantrum.
I kick the water, pound it with my flexed heels, making unladylike splashes. I jerk around and somersault forward tucking my head into my chest, squeezing my eyes shut, giving my core a real good glare. Interrupting my momentum, I arch and open backwards. I’m all staccato. Sharp fists pound the water. My neck snaps side-to-side.
I don’t want to go with the flow. I want to move against it—create my own waves.
I’m already in deep water, in over my head, and here I find the perfect place for an adult to throw a fit.
It’s never packed.
Friday nights at the gym are usually sparsely attended. The chance of having a large audience is minimal. I have a whole lane to myself and only two other swimmers with me in the pool. Space is key.
There’s a built-in lifesaver.
For a $5.50 fee, I’m guarded by a high schooler paid to care about me. Between texts, he will save me from myself. Plus, I can’t break anything. There’s nothing to throw, no walls to dent or people to upset.
It will end.
I’ve had a brooding temper simmer for days before. Tonight, though, there’s a time limit. This production has to end in 30 minutes. The pool closes. I don’t want to be removed kicking and screaming, so the large clock on the wall reminds me—move furiously, stay focused.
I have to breathe.
I can’t hold my breath. I gasp. I welcome the urgency to come up for air, a forced break before the thrashing starts again.
No puffy, teary eyes.
Fill goggles with tears, rinse and repeat. Treading water with goggles on, I can’t rub my eyes. The cool water helps reduce red, swollen, puffy, crying face. No one will ever guess what I’ve been up to.
After my unruly spectacle, I swim back to the wall in high spirits. I’m spent and ready for a shower, a warm transition back into the world.
The elderly gentleman in the lane next to me says, “I saw you out there. Do you swim the medley relay?” Ha! I probably did look I was trying to swim the back, breast, butterfly and free—all at one time. Like my onlooker, I too am trying to make sense of nonsense.
Do you ever fall apart to keep it together?
Editor: Kate Bartolotta
Like elephant journal on Facebook
hot on elephant
The 4 Stages of a Good Divorce. A Letter to my Children: You do not come from a Broken Home. Mom, can I Call her Mom, Too? To the One Who Tried to Break Me. An Open Letter to the Fixers. How your Stored Memories in the Amygdala can lead to PTSD. Jon Stewart makes first appearance since retiring—”it’s not your country.” Waylon shares 10 transformingly beautiful Quotes about Love. These People are Rare Gems—Keep Them, Fight for Them, don’t Give Up on Them. 40 Things I’ve Learned in 40 Years.