I am near seventeen years old and I don’t know how to swim.
I used to be very ashamed of this , but now it’s more of a “meh, matter-of-fact” kind of thing.
I never really had the interest in learning how to swim, and my mother never urged me to take lessons.
I am one ugly drowner.
I’m also terrified of water. Petrified, for reasons I won’t mention here. But dunking my head in a body of water is like asking my friend, who is revolted by anything with more than two eyes and four legs, to jump into a pool of spiders: that shit just doesn’t happen casually, and it’s not expected to end well.
Today, I decided to challenge this prolonging fear. I decided to force myself to learn how to swim. My friend agreed rather very excitedly to teach me. I told her that no matter how much I squealed, squirmed and fretted like the toddler I am near water, she would be patient and still force my reluctant ass into the pool.
She was brilliant, I think. My friend coaxed me, kind of like luring a hurt sheep lost in the woods. Already shaken and leery, I gripped onto the pool railing like it was my only safety line. I felt all eyes on me: some judgemental, some encouraging, some rolling and others tearing up with laughter. Some mothers passed by with their paddling three year olds, exclaiming “Look! If my child can do it, so can you!” which felt more disheartening than encouraging. But I locked eyes only with my friend, who was in a way my buoy.
In short, after a few tears, shaky knees, a plunging of my stomach and the pounding of my heart in my throat, I’ve learned how to float for about 2 seconds. Yes, after almost two hours of nearly peeing myself twice in the chlorine filled water in utter fear, I’ve only learned to barely float on my back. But hey, that’s one thing I didn’t know how to do before I stepped into the pool today. I didn’t even think I would be able to step into the pool, let alone float on my own. So I’m pretty damn proud.
I will keep y’all updated.