It is truly beautiful, bodies moving in concert, gymnastics, strength, not breathing while doing twirls, faces in the water for what feels, even to me the watcher, like forever. It is an amazing demonstration of athleticism. And yet, I have often heard people say it should not be a part of the olympics, it is not a sport.
I beg to differ.
It is astounding. It looks like a bunch of women having a good time swimming around and doing tricks. The work that goes into it is invisible: who wants to know about the struggle, the difficulties and problems, the work that goes into creating the ultimate presentation?
How does that relate to us?
Many of us have dealt with people who disbelieve our pain, who insist we do things even after we say it is something that is beyond us because of the pain. We also know people who say 'because you look good, you must feel fine'.
We go out when we can, we do our hair, we get dressed, for those of us whose pain is so bad even getting out of bed in the morning can be beyond us on some days, we mount the fight. We get up, we go downstairs, we do our hair, we get dressed, go out in the world, and try and present a non pained face.
Most do not want to know the struggle, difficulties and problems, the decisions - can I wear the
shoes with the ties?, can I sit on this side of the church, can I go out today? - that went into our being a part of the world, a part of a family, and for those of us who can, a part of a workforce. They see the results, shoelaces tied, clothing clean, hair brushed, smiling face. Even if asked "How are you today?" most do not want to hear the full true answer, "I have pain but I got myself here".
The synchronized swimmers are rightfully proud of all the work they put into getting their wonderful end product. We need to own that pride too, in being able to get through the day, to be a part of.
The final result is well worth the effort, no matter what that is, even if 'only' starting the day. We rightfully deserve that pat on the back, the applause that is often missing.
The people who see the end result; the lack of understanding that what you see is only the tip of the swim, only the end result of the struggle with our pain, miss out on knowing a major part of us, the part that shows what kind of fighters we are.