How fitting at the time a new version Stephen King’s frightful success, It hits the theatres that I would embark on my first real attempt to do something I set out to do this summer:
Learn to swim.
I wanted to go to the local university and take a private lesson since seeing this action should not occur for the general viewing audience. My personal schedule and desires to take care of other financial obligations did not permit me to add it to the regimen.
I joined a different gym; one that is a little closer to my home and quite a bit less expensive than the last. I am grateful for what I was able to do there with the help of the great trainers and leaders, but my cash monies can’t take handle the full price. Anyway, the new gym has a pool; when I signed up and got the grand tour, the rep told me about the pool and I mentioned that learning to swim was on my list of to-do items. He said I could learn there. I considered that possibility and was again dismayed at the thought of a bunch of people seeing me nearly drown.
Did I mention that I am generally afraid of swimming pools?
I nearly drowned when I was in oh, about first grade or so. It was so traumatic that to this day, I cannot open my eyes under water and I tend to panic when I find myself in such a situation.
Did I also mention that I love the ocean?
I have no problem, walking into the ocean. Probably not the best idea when swimming is not on the list of ‘I can do this’. Hence the decision to learn. Finally. Maybe.
No, I want to learn. As it turns out, I have access to a very nice (and shallow — deepest part is 5 foot) pool. I even spoke to one of the folks in charge and should be able to have access early in the morning before I have to go and teach.
I set out this morning after a not great start. I had a plan that went kaput. I am sad. I am stressed by such a situation. Getting in water is one way that I restore my calm. However, when I was within spitting distance of the pool, I could not enter — the gate was locked. Until 8. Did I mention it was 6:30?
I went back at 8:01 and found several others. I selected a corner out of reach of any of them and entered the water. The temperature was lovely. I had a swim cap and goggles. I was ready to teach myself. I started by trying to get a handle on floating, which turned out to be harder but easier that I thought. In the past, I hadn’t been able to do it — I sunk like a cement covered brick wrapped in rebar. This time, I managed to float on my back with minimal water in orifices it did not belong; I think I got water in my nose three times and in my mouth a couple times. Several trips along the edge of the pool so I could hold on and I felt (almost) brave enough to try to float across the middle. I did from the 5 foot to the 3 foot section and survived. I then tried to go from one side of the 3 foot to the other; my head dropped below the surface and I breathed in some water through my mouth. I hadn’t yet mastered standing gracefully but got my feet under me and coughed my way to the stairs. I sat in the jacuzzi, soaking in the heat from the morning sun and from the bath-temperature water I sat in.
I realized that I needed to find my calm as I floated. It was difficult because the normal sounds of the world were replaced by the heartbeat of the universe in the tune of water that lapped against my eardrums. It was disconcerting at first but the more I let myself lean back into the cushion of liquid, the easier it got.
I struggle with letting go of the illusion of security. Leaning back into the floating position and letting go of the edge of the pool are not things I can do at the same time. I have to hold on, lean back, and then let go. Sort of.
Did I mention that Grace is not my middle name?
I am sure I looked like I was drowning, even at the times I felt the most comfortable. I haven’t mastered how to change direction or move my arms and legs to a rhythm yet.
Like I said, I can’t even easily stand up in 3 foot of water. Even when I was at the edge of the pool and could hang on, it was certainly far from a pretty feat. I can’t figure out how to doggie paddle or be in a position to even see where I am going.
But I floated. In a real pool.
Who knows what I will do tomorrow.