It’s not something I’m proud of but, that doesn’t make it any less true. I can’t swim. It shocks people to know this about me. I guess I just hang out with a bunch of swimmers! I have a really good reason why I can’t swim. At least, I think it’s a good reason.
It all started when I was 9. I was in the fourth grade and my school participated in a program with the YMCA. There was a swimming class being offered there and many of the students in my class had signed up to participate. I was excited to finally learn how to swim but I was also nervous. I guess it was more a fear of the unknown. Once we started the class, I started to relax. We stared out doing basic stuff in the shallow end of the water. Being the tall girl that I am – shallow was smooth sailing for me. After a while, our swimming instructor began to focus more on the students who already knew how to swim. He would leave the rest of us just kind of playing around in the shallow end.
After some weeks, the class was coming to an end. We were going to be tested on what we’d learned. I, personally, had learned next to nothing. For our test, the instructor took us to the deep end of the pool. That’s right, my no swimming behind would now be tested on my swimming skills in twelve freaking feet of water. Huh? Our test went like this: our instructor held a long pole over the water. We were supposed to jump and grab on to the pole. Then, he lowered us into the water while we held on to the pole. We were to let go and swim back up. I was terrified. I didn’t want my turn to come up – EVER!
When it was my turn, I jumped and grabbed on to the pole. I was feeling good that I made it to the pole and didn’t just sink straight down into the water. Then I was lowered into the water. That’s where I got scared. I didn’t know how to swim. What was I supposed to do? So I curled my body up into a ball and floated back up to the top. I was so happy to be out of that pool!
Since then, I’ve had a love/fear relationship with the water. I love to hop in but, I know my limits. I have been saying for years that I would take a swimming class again but, I don’t ever want to put myself back in that scary place again. I’m sure I’ll get over it at some point. I really want to. I guess, in a sense, I’m just traumatized. So there you have it. That’s why I can’t swim.