There are a plethora of reasons why I really freaking hate swimming.
One obvious reason of many is that I am incredibly self-conscious in a bathing suit. Yes, I will wear a one piece, and yes, it will have a tiny skirt, but the fact remains that my rounded belly and jiggly thighs will still be hanging out for the world to see.
But that’s probably not even the biggest reason I hate swimming.
I hate getting wet. I hate being cold. I hate that I have to take my glasses off and then I can’t see shit. I hate the clingy feeling of spandex sticking to soaking skin. I hate when you’re trying to change and your skin is damp and clammy. You wriggle and peel yourself out of your suit like a snake. You throw a shirt on over wet skin and tug to get it on and then damp spots emerge. Wet, ugly hair drips beads of water down your back. Ew. I hate raisin skin, the smell of chlorine. I hate scuffling around in flip flops and bare feet (y’all KNOW I need to wear socks at all times). I hate jacking up my makeup and hair. I hate the feeling of perpetual cold the rest of the day. I straight up hate it all. Swimming is my own form of personal torture.
Then why, might you ask, did I recently sign Caleb up for Water Babies? Why did I sign him up for a community swim class that will require my jiggly ass to change in the high school locker room once a week for five weeks and get in the nasty pool water with him?
Because of my son. Because of that nagging voice in my head that says “do the things you think you can’t. Do them for your boy.”
A work friend with a daughter recently asked if Caleb and I would attend swim class with the two of them. I agreed, reluctantly, and signed us up.
While I do think it will be fun for Caleb and I to spend time with them, I primarily said yes because of Caleb.
We do things we don’t want to do, things that make us incredibly uncomfortable, for our children.
We do them so they can have fun, yes, but we also do them to show our kids that sometimes you need to get out of your comfort zone. That sometimes you need to do things you ordinarily wouldn’t do because it’s not okay to live in fear, to be complacent all the damn time.
I spent three semesters in music class singing and dancing with my son. I always feel massively uncomfortable doing both of those things out in public. I sing quietly and dance with subtle movements. But I still do it. Perhaps I’ve shown my son that it’s okay to be silly and let loose.
I spoke up for myself in my career more than a year ago. I asked for a meeting that petrified me and made me shake. My voice wobbled the entire time, but I proved my worth. I did the thing and I eventually got a hard earned promotion. I found my voice even though it was one of the scariest things I ever did. It paid off. Perhaps I’ve shown my son that it’s important to speak up, to believe in yourself, to show them what you’re made of.
Now we will start our next adventure together, my boy and I. I will change into that spandex suit and even though I hate it with a passion, I am going to dive in.