So I went to the pool at the gym this morning about 9 am, which is something I don’t normally do. I tend to go after 8pm when it’s mostly only quiet adults and the occasional super annoying pair of teenagers. But I hadn’t been there in some time and I was done making excuses. WOW! It’s like a another world at that time of day. While there weren’t a lot of people there, there were enough. They were mostly kids, and by kids, I mean kids too young to be in school so probably like 3 and 4 years old. ( quick side note – if you have a little boy who is old enough to say “I’ll be right here if you need help ( referring to his little brother)” – for the love of all that is holy, take him the to the family locker room. He was a little to focused on my pink bra. I’m not going to lie, it got kind of creepy.
There were these two little kids, a boy and a girl, getting private swim lessons in the pool. The girl was maybe 3 years old and the poor little thing was so scared of the water and cried and clung to her teacher the whole time she was in the pool. Her brother (probably about 4) couldn’t have cared less about what was happening- he had his googles on and swam with his kick board fearlessly not paying any attention to his sister in distress until it was his time for his lesson.
I wanted to tell the little girl that there was nothing to be afraid of, look at me floating like a mermaid, you’re safe, but who was I to explain that to a crying 3 year old? I mean, I could stand in the pool, with my feet firmly and securely planted on the bottom and still have my head many inches safely above the water. What did I know about her fear?
Little did she know, although I enjoyed hot tubs and shallow pools, for years, like most of my life, I have been paralyzingly afraid of water over my head. It has taken me years of panic attacks, coaxing and even some ridicule to even consider visits to the deeper end of the pool – I mean even a 5 foot deep end could make me nervous. It has been a slow process of learning to trust that if my feet weren’t on the bottom, I could still float and trusting that I could expertly tread water to get back to where I could put my feet on the bottom. I mean , don’t get me wrong, I’m not jumping off any boats and swimming in the ocean like they on TV anytime soon and I will definitely NEVER be a scuba diver. (that’s mostly because I don’t want to eat raw octopus with the nationals in Japan, but that’s a story for another day)
And really, isn’t this how most of us conquer things that scare us – new jobs, new places, new relationships – through the slow process of learning to trust that even if you can’t quite get your footing right now, you can keep your head about water and get yourself back to the place where your feet can reach the bottom and you can be on safe ground with time, patience and a little treading water. But if we don’t take those leaps into the deep end – what is life? The knowing what you can conquer and achieve is exhilarating. Knowing that you are powerful and strong is grounding. The knowing that you are not stuck in the shallow end forever is what living is all about.
Today’s reward for reading: 7 dates and I need to know which one of you ratted me out to my mother. She is denying that there was an informant, but I highly suspect one of you told her. Did I tell you we’re Facebook friends now?