Thursday, February 02, 2017

Girl Energy in the Pool

Three teenage girls, or maybe preteen, climb into my lane at the Downtown Oakland YMCA. Ohhing, and squealing and wincing: “It’s so cold! No it’s not! Get in! I can’t!”

Then much dramatic shivering, splashing, laughing and frolicking as they do submerge, but one of them keeps her head out. She’s got on a grey wool cap that isn’t meant for swimming. But no matter, the fun can begin with head out of the water. The girls splash, and giggle and gossip and cajole loudly and with abandon. Their energy is electric and high. I move to the next lane to give them their space, continue swimming my laps.

After a few minutes, I see one of them climb out, scurry to the locker room and return with another wool cap that she gives to Grey Cap Girl. This cap is special though. It’s a lion’s head! Complete with fierce teeth, golden eyes, and tail hanging a little too close to the water.
“Don’t get it wet!” they squeal. And she does. Get it wet. And it doesn’t matter. The lion’s energy is part of their girl energy. It enhances and enlarges it. Gives them power and play. I love it!



Later after my swim, Utopia and Sandy Time, DL and I slog out of the locker room. The girls are gathered in a little rumpled circle in the lobby. I ask them about the lion’s head.

“OH no! Did you leave it, Kayla?" "No you have it." "I think it’s in her gym bag!" "I’m gonna run back and check the locker room!”

And one of them scurries back. “I’m glad I asked,” I say as DL and I move past them. “Oh, yeah, thanks,” one of them says.

And there’s a moment of connection here that I didn’t quite have in the pool. The exchange is charged with a tinge of girlish panic, but it’s fleeting. I hear the one come running back, “Here it is!” and they all convulse into giggles and punches.

Girl energy. It’s everywhere. And it’s part of the feminine instinct, I think of collective caring and observation.

Go girls. Go pink. Go lions!

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