Two Platforms

You know that feeling when you want to go for a swim, but it’s not quite hot enough that the water won’t shock you with its chill? That’s how I feel about blogging at the moment. 

Bathers on, I’m standing at the edge of the ocean, all conditions are ripe for me to just wade on in… yet I feel hesitant. 

Should I just run and dive, or should I ease in, step by step, salt water swirling around my ankles, then my calves, submerging my knees, then my thighs. 

Once I’m in, I know it will feel glorious, and yet… I find myself stuck on the shoreline, scrunching sand between my toes, hesitating. 

 

Has it been so long since I went swimming in the ocean that I’ve lost my nerve? 

Is it the vastness of the ocean that’s stopping me from plunging in again? 

Do I feel self-conscious in my bathers? 

If so, isn’t the obvious answer to plunge in, so only my head is exposed? 

 

My family used to stay at my grandparents’ holiday house each summer, and we would spend hours at the beach every day. 

Every summer without fail, someone would place an old tennis umpires chair out in the water, not too far out that we kids couldn’t reach it, but far enough out that you would encounter some slimy seaweed as you swam out.

Once we reached the chair, we would take turns to scramble up the ladder then leap off the top, doing bombs or belly flops or diving deep. 

I don’t recall the chance of encountering seaweed ever stopping me from swimming out to reach that little platform. 

 

Now that little platform is this blog, and though it may seem effortless to the reader, it requires some effort to get from the shore to the platform. 

For me, the seaweed isn’t concern about trolls or negativity, it’s more about exposure and silence. 

My bathers don’t feel the same as they did when I was a kid. The blessing of my childhood in the 70s was zero concern about my body. I don’t remember ever thinking about my body, I just lived in it. 

Summer holidays were about shorts and tee shirts thrown over bathers, about hoping dad would be dispatched to the bakery to buy a Boston bun for us to have after lunch. 

Now, before I head out to my platform, I find myself wondering if the exposure and journey is worthwhile, or if it has any meaning. 

Should I go to the effort of digging my bathers out of the back of my top drawer and shimmying into them? 

If I do, should I shave my legs? I should. No; they’re my legs, I don’t want to shave them. But Annette, if you’re going to put *this* body into bathers, shouldn’t you minimise any opportunity for critique by shaving? No. Yes. No. Maybe. 

Ahhh just forget it. 

 

Round and round it goes.

Hmm I should blog today. 

I’ve got nothing interesting to say. I went to work and then came home. Big whoop. 

How many times can you write about trees and the sky? 

I want to be heard. 

It’s so noisy online. 

I want to be quiet.

I’ve lost my momentum. 

I want to speak. 

I read other people’s words and I feel connected to them. 

I should blog. 

I want to tell my stories. I am a teacher. 

Get over yourself. 

Hey, pipe down. 

Blogging isn’t about what I do, it’s about who I am. 

I don’t know how to tell my story. What even is my story?

Just write. 

I’m afr… not afraid, but *something* is in the way. 

It’s me. 

Oh. 

 

Opens iPad and decides to write. Nothing I thought I would say comes out. 

I haven’t thought about that diving platform for ages, yet here we are. 

 

Telling has a way of dispersing things. I read that today, and it sparked something. 

 

When I jumped off that platform in the sea, I dispersed water, splashing it everywhere as my body broke the surface of the ocean. 

When I write here, I really have no way of knowing what you will think of my words, whether they splash you or leave you high and dry. 

But I got past the seaweed today, I reached for the ladder, and I’m jumping. 

That’s enough. 

 

 

Annette 

 

10 thoughts on “Two Platforms

  1. And just like that Verbs lets loose with a beautifully crafted story. One that started without a plan and ended with a piece that not only she could dive into but us too. And now I’m dreaming of the ocean, my kids on the beach and of my toes in the sand. Aaah yes those very real tentative steps into the first swim for the season. I do need to shave my legs first! I just prefer to. But I’d swim without having shaved them … I wouldn’t want to miss the swim. Such a treat to wake up you a bloggie from you.

    Fran x

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  2. Great read and I for one hope you can write “your heart and soul stuff” when you want to and any other damned thing. Loved the story about the beach. How cool for you all on those holidays.

    Denyse x

    PS always welcome to link up in a very friendly space on Mondays x

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  3. I loved this story, old and new, nostalgia and new beginnings, so cleverly and finely crafted and woven. Thank you

    Cheers Kate

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    • I’m so glad I decided to write today. It’s a great feeling to get beyond the seaweed! Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. It means so much to me.

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  4. You, my friend, are teacher, poet, story teller, memory evoking, blogging legend. Every time you write I’m both inspired, and just that little bit envious that you were brave enough to publish. I’m so glad you shimmied into those bathers and out to that platform for me, for us; and especially for you.

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  5. This resonates with me on so many levels. I love your beach metaphor. The sea is such a powerful medium for understanding the world isn’t it. I am still swimming in the beach each weekend and (my legs were extra hairy yesterday ‘cos who shaves regularly in winter?!), perhaps I should use the approach I take when diving into the sea, for my blogging. Really, there is nothing to lose by diving in. I’m so glad you did dive in and you might have just given me the push I need to dive back in too.

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