PERSONAL // Words // The Simple Getaway

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I don't know how to say this so I'm just going to put it out there bluntly. I loved camping this past weekend. Prior to coming to Lake Murray State Park in Oklahoma, I found myself being swept up by the fast pace of work and other commitments. A huge photo job came my way shortly after completing my Korean course wherein I would be shooting for a more big name client than with whom I am used to working with. I generally am someone with high expectations but when I set bars on myself I usually become unbearingly overcritical. This photo gig was huge for me. The next step to my career I guess. There were so many connections that could made, money to gain, and recognition to be obtained. So naturally I wanted to take this opportunity and make it into a really great way to leverage me towards more of those opportunities. But I've never been so anxious in my life. Every day, I would think about it at work. After work, I spent nights practicing light techniques and studying light set ups. I read about strobes and Paul C. Buff equipment. But all that studying led me to come to bed and just create scenarios in my head where I was absolutely frozen with complete cluelessness and embarrassment. I intentionally would try to shatter my own dreams in my head because it gave me a better sense of "cruel" reality. I never want to come into these kinds of things confident. I tend to beat myself up a lot. Sometimes so badly that it destroys what little self confidence I have. But ok the reason why I'm building this all up is because of how badly it affected me. This HUGE opportunity was freaking me out internally and physically. I wasn't able to sleep or eat. I would have moments of fear just come over me at work. I was a wreck. When the gig actually happened it was overall a great experience and to make that part short I was absolutely relieved. I worked my normal 8-5 job and worked another 6 hours for that gig. That night I went to bed completely exhausted and sore. At 4am in the morning my body was in complete agony. I had intense charley horses, cramps, soreness in my arms, and all I wanted to do was collapse into a deep sleep. I realized with some internet searching that my body had literally tensed up so badly from all the stress I put it through. This has never happened to me before. And I really hope it never happens to me again. So now let me get to the content of this post. Camping happened. With friends of course. Why we decided to do it in 90 degrees of hot southern heat, I don't know. But we managed to pull it off and it is one of the best experiences I've had in awhile. I haven't been camping in years but I've always enjoyed it. Coming to camp this past weekend, my mood was instantly lifted. I don't know what happened to me but I was extremely happy the first night I was at the camp site. And my mood got even better when I swam at the lake. There's nothing great in particular about this lake. Just a great deal of trees, sand, and sharp rocks within the murky waters. One of the more entertaining elements of the lake was all the small critters fluttering around. I had a chance to snap some photos of the dragonflies and the damselflies resting on some wood. They're so tiny and fragile but just so complex in design. I got so lucky that they stayed still long enough for me to take several shots. As the afternoon continued to scorch heat onto everyone, my friends and I did not for one second hesitate to enter the depths of the lake. As soon as my sizzling sun burned body entered the water, I was in complete ecstasy. The cooling waves and the buoyancy of my body just hanging out was the exact kind of getaway that I needed. I spread my legs and arms and moved with ease across the body of blue water. Stroke after stroke I would just keep swimming without a sense of direction or purpose. When I got tired, I flipped over onto my back and gently kicked and pushed my limbs  - just pressing on. Floating with the current. I didn't recall the last thing that happened to me. I didn't dwell on my inner emotions and fears. I didn't think at all. Except every now and then about how the sun could really burn my face if I kept pointing it upward towards it. When the weekend passed, my boyfriend would later comment to me about it. "I never knew you were so good at swimming." He said the evening we returned home. I remember laughing and saying I really enjoy being in the water. He then went on to ask why he wasn't as good as I am. As I analyzed the difference in skill between us, I told him how often I swam as a kid, all the church camping trips I went to, all the summers I spent at the pool with my friends. I loved being in the water. I loved swimming. There's something so great about how being in water takes away the gravity of your body. All the weight you bear is removed and you're left with just a singular entity that just keeps moving. Nothing to hold you down. It didn't occur to me how now as an adult that swimming was a source of happiness growing up. And I felt so incredibly fulfilled to have reconciled with that pastime activity to regain my strength and well being.