Life In The Slow Lane

by Lydia Pawlowsky
Navigating the therapeutic benefits of CBD - and pushing yourself outside your comfort zone.
I’m standing at the edge of the community centre pool, squirming beneath the fluorescent lights above. Squirming with anticipation before my first swimming lesson.
My one piece bathing suit is pulled tight over my soft, round belly; my swim cap hides my curls from plain view. I have on shiny purple goggles, which give my little toes a muted glow as I wiggle them closer towards the edge, daring myself to dip one in.
I almost forgot to mention: I’m 26 at the time. It was this past January.
I feel like I have to defend myself a bit: I’ve been in water before, have not drowned, and generally have enjoyed myself, but know that I was not doing any of that with any confidence or skill.
Anyways. This year I decided that, as the most comfortable-with-herself version of myself I’ve ever been in my life, it was the perfect time to really shake up my self esteem by trying out things I otherwise would have avoided, out of fear of failure.
My first lesson was humbling—as would be the next ten weeks’. It was a constant struggle between learning and unlearning, and feeling so disconnected from my own body and the way it moved. Most discouraging, however, was the pain I felt afterwards—ripping throughout my arthritic joints and my under-utilized muscles. A pain made worse by that summer I had broken my shoulder. A pain that kept me up at night, and kept me wondering if maybe I should just quit.
It was easier to quit. It always is.
I returned the following week instead.
Around this time, I’d rekindled my interest in cannabis. Since I was sixteen, weed had always been a relationship I’d kept—not unlike that which you share with a close friend, meandering in and out of each other’s lives comfortably and routinely, no matter how much time you spend apart.
This time, however, I didn’t find myself smoking out of a corner store pipe to deal with the nausea of my Crohn’s medication, like when I was 20; nor was I making coconut canna-oil to bake with at a cottage with my friends, like at age 24. This time it was more precise and deliberate. My consumption mirrored perfectly where I was at in my life. 26. This was it.
After my second lesson, I flicked on Netflix, swallowed a 1:1 THC/CBD extract capsule I had purchased at a tech-forward dispensary nearby, and let my body relax. Let my body settle into itself, and find itself again, through the pain and discomfort. Let it find me again.
In hindsight I should have dried my hair first.
Lydia Paylowsky is a copywriter, poet, and general person with all the feels based out of Toronto.