While at my swimming lesson tonight, I got a nasty flashback to high school math class. I remember understanding math and being so excited because it all made sense. For a few classes it was like it all seemed to come together and I was optimistic. But then things started to get more complicated and I had trouble keeping up. Little by little I got more and more behind. I didn't flunk the class but never went very far in that subject. Now three decades later, here I was, in the swimming pool at my gym having those same hopeless feelings. Only this time I'm a middle-aged wife and mama in a bathing suit.
I was trying and trying but just didn't seem to be getting it. My arm was in the wrong place. My ears came out of the water. I kicked too hard. I kicked too softly. I breathed in water and felt a wave of despair waft over me. After repeatedly trying and failing quite terribly, it was my turn again. Coach Doug gave me the go-ahead and basically I froze. I just couldn't do it. And before I could stop myself, I felt tears filling my swimming goggles. Coach Doug must have known something was wrong and he came over and gave me a hug.
Apparently I am a nervous swimmer. It seems implausible for me to slow down my strokes and I'm not going to give up but boy, do I feel like this is never going to work out. One moment I could envision myself this summer in the water, splashing and playing just like all the other people out there. Tonight I feel like I'm doomed to failure.
As far as I'm concerned, (and I know some of you will disagree with me) well, quite frankly, I think swimming is more difficult than childbirth. I've grunted three children out of my body and although I didn't find the experiences especially enjoyable at the time, somehow I was good and proficient at it. This swimming stuff is proving a great challenge.