Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Sunday 15th March

The Ides of March.

It’s always interesting to see how different things mean something to different people because of what they have experienced. The ‘Ides of March’ rings a bell with Sarah and Michael because they have read Asterix and the Soothsayer. Dani is busy studying Julius Caeser and that is why it means something to her. Everything, I suppose, depends on our perspective and our exposure.

This morning, Dani and I went to the dam for a paddle. She practised for the first time with her K2 partner for SA Schools. They are too good to use a beginners boat, but maybe not so familiar with each other to go in a good, fast boat. I didn’t take our K2 to the dam, so they were kind of forced to take a boat they may not have been so stable in.

They were fine, though. They did a good number of laps and looked well in sync by the end of the first lap. And they never swam.

I remember going in a long boat for the first time with Sarah – in a K2. I was in the back, because I could barely paddle, let alone steer at the same time. In fact, I remember the first time I did go in the front and steered – we kind of did a zig-zag down the dam.

When you are newly in a boat, everything feels so unstable and wobbly. Sitting in the back of the K2 with Sarah, I was convinced I was going to fall in. She, of course, was so very, very stable and confident. You don’t realise how much give-and-take there is as you paddle, especially if you actually do rotate. In fact, if you watch the fast guys going, it’s amazing how much the whole boat seems to wobble at times as the paddler’s weight shifts.

I went in a K1 today, just around the dam. There were a couple of people who are obviously very new to the sport, going around circumspectly in the same boat I was paddling. I felt like a nina paddler, going along smoothly. It hasn’t been that long, though, since I was just the same – convinced that even the most stable of boats would have me swimming soon enough.

I feel so much more confident in a boat now and paddle along quite happily. And apparently so slowly.

Sometimes I think I will never learn to paddle decently. Then I have to remind myself that I am still recovering. My side and underarm are still really stiff and get sore quite easily – in the areas I can actually feel anything.

Everything takes time.

Sometimes that is the very hardest lesson to learn.

In many ways, I am used to having no boob. And it’s only been such a short time, actually. In others, I don’t think this will ever be completely real.

It’s like with Mum. We went to a play yesterday afternoon with Carl and Dale. When I came home, I went straight to the study to phone Mum to tell her about it. I really did have to rein myself in and even remind myself that, had she been here, she would undoubtedly have gone with us.

I miss being able to do that – to phone her and just talk to her; to ask her things; to hear her voice.

I simply miss her.

I’m not so sure that time will actually change that.


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