I feel like I’m never going to be able to do it. Today was the most discouraging swimming lesson thus far. My spirit, my body, my hopes sunk. I feel like an aqua failure. Maybe I’m always going to be the girl out of water, the mom who can’t swim. If you know how to swim, celebrate this gift, oh how I envy you.
While at my swimming lesson tonight, I got a nasty flashback to high school math class. I remember understanding math and being so excited because it all made sense. For a few classes it was like it all seemed to come together and I was optimistic. But then things started to get more complicated and I had trouble keeping up. Little by little I got more and more behind. I didn’t flunk the class but never went very far in that subject. Now three decades later, here I was, in the swimming pool at my gym having those same hopeless feelings. Only this time I’m a middle-aged wife and mama in a bathing suit.
I was trying and trying but just didn’t seem to be getting it. My arm was in the wrong place. My ears came out of the water. I kicked too hard. I kicked too softly. I breathed in water and felt a wave of despair waft over me. After repeatedly trying and failing quite terribly, it was my turn again. Coach Doug gave me the go-ahead and basically I froze. I just couldn’t do it. And before I could stop myself, I felt tears filling my swimming goggles. Coach Doug must have known something was wrong and he came over and gave me a hug.
Apparently I am a nervous swimmer. It seems implausible for me to slow down my strokes and I’m not going to give up but boy, do I feel like this is never going to work out. One moment I could envision myself this summer in the water, splashing and playing just like all the other people out there. Tonight I feel like I’m doomed to failure.
As far as I’m concerned, (and I know some of you will disagree with me) well, quite frankly, I think swimming is more difficult than childbirth. I’ve grunted three children out of my body and although I didn’t find the experiences especially enjoyable at the time, somehow I was good and proficient at it. This swimming stuff is proving a great challenge.