When I swim in water that is over my head my chest feels tight and I feel like I can not breath.
I like water.
I like water that comes up to my chin. I feel safe if my feet can touch the bottom of a swimming pool. I will put my face in the water. I can blow bubbles. I can do the back stroke. I can float. I am learning how to do the front crawl. I am learning how to put my arms in the water without sounding like a beaver slapping their tail in warning. I listen carefully when my children’s swimming instructors show them how to side breath and how to swim with their elbows up and make ice cream scoops with their hands.
The YMCA we belong to has two swimming pools. The North Pool and the South Poop. The North Pool is a lap pool where the local swim team practices. It has cool water and is nine feet deep in the deepest end. The South pool is a therapeutic pool and is used for swim lessons. The water is warm and the deep end is five feet.
I swim in the warmer pool. I am learning to side breath with the front crawl. I send e-mails to my friend Joy who use to be a competitive swimmer, asking for advice. I am learning to not be afraid. I don’t want my past to define my present.
Five years ago when my son was eight he reluctantly took swimming lessons. I kept telling him to be brave. I would quote him 2 Timothy 1:7. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. Asking him to be brave when I was afraid myself. I signed up for the Adult Fear of Water Class which ran concurrently with his class. I felt foolish, admitting fear. Admitting fear as an adult. I was being brave for my son. Learning a little more about swimming each day. Chasing away the terror.
My prescription is -7 in one eye and -6 in the other. I can not see well without my glasses. When I took lessons as a child, I took my prescription glasses off and placed them on my towel before I got into the swimming pool. I could not see the instructor. I could not hear her. I was scared of the water. Distances seemed farther away without my glasses. I splashed in the water, and did not pass the class.
Several months ago, I ordered prescription goggles on-line. I can see when I swim now. I can open my eyes underwater. I am not as scared of the bottom of the pool now, as I can see it.
I can see myself swimming in the North lap pool where the water is nine feet deep. I can see myself swimming in a center lane where I can not grab the side of the pool. For now, I will keep swimming in five feet of water, gaining confidence and strength as I go slowly back and forth.
I will let you know when I go to the other pool. One day, just not yet.