Fear of drowning




I used to have nightmares about drowning.

When I was little, kids I knew took swimming lessons, but I was never amongst them. I was not a country club kid, nor could I afford the 35 cents per day for the town pool. It was the 1970s, and I was being raised by a single mom who worked shifts at the hosiery mill. I stayed home alone on summer days; had changed schools five times by the 7th grade; when my period started at age 12 we could not afford sanitary napkins, so my mom taught me to tuck old cleaning rags into my underpants. Who had the cash for luxuries like swim lessons?

Like many of you, I am feeling overwhelmed by the drama of the Kavanaugh hearings from last week, and I’ve been horrified at the views that we have no choice but to believe him because the woman has no proof, it could be mistaken identity, and she waited too long to tell anyone.

I know this storyline well. I waited 34 years. I have no proof. And like Dr. Blasey Ford, I knew the guy. You do not mistake the identity of someone you know.

We have been drowning in daily, sometimes hourly, drama since Trump won the presidency. This is no accident. It works. We are too overwhelmed and exhausted to keep up, and they know it.

Just confirm the guy and move on, conservatives scream. It’s a witch hunt! Enough! And there is much ado about how long Senator Feinstein kept the accuser’s name a secret, the timing of the allegations, how senators will vote depending on who is and is not up for re-election. And let’s not forget the GOP’s favorite, if tired, punchline, “the Democrats are obstructionists!”

But it all boils down to this: if the allegations are true—and there is now more than one allegation—does Kavanaugh deserve a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court?

After 34 years, I finally told a few friends, my husband, and my kids. Telling made me feel small, ashamed, and enraged all over again. I am in awe of the courage displayed by Dr. Blasey Ford in testifying, as I would rather do anything other than retell/relive those details. Anything. Like swimming, ironically enough.

I no longer have nightmares about drowning. I never got the pricey lessons, and I do not know a single proper technique, but I swim almost every day now, and I can go for a good 45 minutes without rest. Nothing makes me feel less weighted down, or more resilient, than my time in the water.

The White House, under pressure, has called for a one-week investigation. But friends, I have no illusions. The GOP does not care whether or not he assaulted that girl; they care about winning. Pro-life conservatives have already sold their souls, and they are hellbent on seating their dream-justice.

Kavanaugh seems to me a man entitled; a man who has had the best swimming lessons money can buy; a man who, unlike me, with his wealth, elite education, and history of D.C. connections, knows a thousand ways not to drown.

Fit the man for a robe. Clarence Thomas is saving him a seat on the bench.