Today I swam with my assistant director Diana, who has joined us for our rural tour of Cornwall.
There were tears, I’m sure she won’t mind me saying. Tears from carrying so much for so long. A tiredness about her. After big hugs, we stripped off on the blustery bright beach of Gyllyngvase beach in Falmouth and ran into the wild turquoise waves. The surfers were out on force, which was a reminder to not go out too far! We jumped around in glee as the waves tossed us around. Feet mainly on the ground- too hard to swim. But heads under. Diana grinning her beautiful grin.
We sat on the beach after dressing, warming quickly but despite the joy of playing with the water Diana still had a sadness to her.
We talked about how she got into swimming when she first moved as a child to the UK from Kenya. How that in itself was very difficult for her as she wasn’t given a choice by her mum. Diana misses the farm, the goats, the countryside she grew up in. When she first moved here, she moved to London. She has fond memories of learning to swim after school, and a neighbour picking her up to take her to extra lessons and then over time she lost this involvement in her swimming and drifted.
After a very difficult break up from a relationship, Diana took herself off to a foreign country to stir change in her. She got a job as a receptionist in a hotel in Cyprus and found the water again (albeit much warmer than our waters!) Diana found the sea helped her heal, each day taking a dip. She ‘popped’ back for Christmas and New Years to see her mum who had now moved to the north, and intending to head back to Cyprus, plans were scuppered by the pandemic. Diana took up roots in this northern town, and it’s been hard at times but she feels she is making choices and plans for her own life again.
Diana loves the world of theatre and wants a career in it. It’s been an eye-opener, she tells me, watching the ins and outs of touring theatres. Hard, she says, but she’s still hungry for it.
Diana doesn’t really live near any large bodies of water at the moment, but I could tell she was reminded by the sea of how she likes giving it over to the sea, commenting “I think I needed that more than you!”. Absolutely. These swims with people are about why they need it.
Thank you sea for holding Diana today.