For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to be able to swim and for as long as I can remember I’ve never learned. I have trust issues with people in the water. I don’t believe when my friends tell me they won’t let go. This is my life, my only life, and I just can’t risk it to be able to say I went in the deep end, ya know?
My inability to swim is definitely one of the reasons I don’t go to the beach frequently. I also don’t have my own pool. I’m poor, okay, I can’t afford a pool. But I still love the water.
People tend to be shocked though when I tell them I’ve only been to the beach like 4 times in my life. It’s okay, you’re just in shock. Remember to breathe. Better? Good, let’s go on.
For some people the beach is a heavenly place where they go to suntan, swim, and take romantic strolls barefoot. For me, the beach is a scary place where I can die. Let me explain.
My first time at the beach was when I was 16. I went with my twin brother and two older sisters. We were going to have a great day! I was excited, they were excited, we had snacks and the sun was shining. What could go wrong? Well despite the sunblock that we lathered on ourselves, I got horribly burnt. Luckily my sunburns tend to turn into tans instead of freckling, but I was in pain! It lasted through the whole weekend and I ended up with a streaky one-sided tan afterward. Not a great first impression of the beach, but hey, I didn’t die right?
My second time at the beach was when I was 18..? or 19.. I think I was 18. I went with a group from my college choir and again, I was excited! I decided not to try to tan this time, but something still went horribly wrong. I almost died.
A friend wanted me to go out into the water with her and I thought, sure, why not. But I warned her I couldn’t go out very far because I can’t swim. She understood.
There were some really big waves that day and after awhile, she got excited. “Come out further!” She kept calling out to me. To which I simply shook my head. There was no way. I knew my limits. Finally she said she would help me. She said she would hold my hand and we would just go through one wave, just one. I started feeling a bit more adventurous. So I agreed and she took my hand. “Don’t let go,” I told her. She just smiled.
The wave came. We went under and she let go. I was loose! I was floundering about caught in the current and I couldn’t breathe! I couldn’t find my way to the top! I thought for sure this was it. This is how I would die. Right when I started to give in to the water and give up, it spat me back out. Almost as if to say, “Yeah right, better luck next time.”
I reached the shore. I probably looked like a drowned rat, but I didn’t care. I was happy to be alive! The sand felt so warm. The earth was so pretty. The sun was shining. It was a beautiful day to be rejected by death. 😉
So I guess the lesson I learned was if you can’t swim, don’t go into the ocean. Or learn to swim, that’s an option too.