Aaaannnnddddd…..Sometimes I Suck But That’s Okay

On Wednesday I was supposed to go swimming. There were four lanes open at our local pool so I loosened the strap on my goggles, packed my swim gear and made my way to the community centre. Only when I got there, I didn’t go in. I sat on the bench and watched the other swimmers through the viewing window, the swimmers who seemed to know what they were doing. The more I watched, the more intimidated I got.

I never did end up swimming.

This past Sunday before my first swimming class I was sitting in my car trying to work up the nerve to go in. I texted my friend Robin saying as much. She wrote back, “I didn’t think you were afraid of anything.”

People think I’m brave or never afraid but that’s so far from the truth you would need a pickaxe, rope, and a telescope to actually see the truth. New situations make me nervous and uncomfortable.

I think that more than anything else is what I want you to know. Somethings I try are really, really hard for me to do. But those are also usually the things that give me the most gratification when I do them.

This past Wednesday I wasn’t able to make myself get in the pool but what I’m not going to do is beat myself up. Watching the swimmers on Wednesday gave me insight into swimming etiquette and how to properly swim in a lane with four or five other swimmers, so all was not lost. Also, I happened to pop into the library while I was there and got myself two books to read.

You have to try and take positives from everything, even if it’s a guilty  pleasure like Dean Koontz.


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About Sharon

Sharon DeVellis is a mother, wife and writer who can uncork a wine bottle in less than 10 seconds but buys twist-offs for emergencies. She’s currently in therapy to stop talking about herself in third person.
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25 Responses to Aaaannnnddddd…..Sometimes I Suck But That’s Okay

  1. Pingback: Tri Training – Facing My Fears | Adult Essentials

  2. Chris says:

    You definitely don’t need to feel bad about not swimming. I always scout out something before I try it for the exact reason you mentioned, etiquette. I think more than my fear of trying something new is my fear of ruining other peoples experiences by not preparing properly for it. Seems to me like you are in fact a genius :D

  3. Jenny from the block says:

    I’m so proud of you for trying! Getting there is half the battle (hint get in bathing suit BEFORE you leave the house), wear under cover-up pants/sweatshirt. 1/2 the people in the pool have swim etiquette and the other 1/2 don’t so good for you for trying to figure it out beforehand! If you ever need a swim buddy let me know. must get ass back in pool. J:)

  4. Brandee says:

    It’s hard to step out of your comfort zone, I totally get that. Your comment about some things being the hardest you’ve ever tried but then the most gratifying? Oh, you have no idea how much I live with that one all the time. You are training hard, go easy on yourself this time. Think of it as a learning moment. You are doing great, and next time you go? You’ll hop into the pool and give’er.

  5. Robin says:

    I know you get nervous. But I also know you speed skate, which is not for the faint-hearted, and you did the CN Tower Edge Walk, which is not for the sane. So I am always surprised that you get scared. But that just means you’re not super-human, which makes me like you even more. ;)

  6. Sharon, I TOTALLY get this. Call it insecurity, anxiety or outright fear, I am with you. I used to have bouts of call-it-what-you-will at the dojo. I would sit in my car, watching my fellow students filing in and convince myself I didn’t want to be there. Eventually class would begin answer since it is incredibly rude to walk in once things are going, I would drive home. Crazy thing? I was a second degree black belt at the time (and way better than my rank according to my Sensei). What did I have to be afraid of?!?! It was the definition or ridiculous.

    These days I recognized the dire state of my fitness level. I am a certified powerlifting coach (part of the first class in Canada) so I KNOW resistance training and yet it has taken me almost a year to find the guts to start training again (and I training at home!!!). But, yesterday I popped P90X into my player and did it. My chest and I are not on speaking terms this morning. 12 months! Sheesh.

    Enjoy your books and go flex your flippers. You own this!

  7. As always, Sharon, I love your honesty. And I totally get it. It can be really intimidating going to a pool (even for an ex-competitive swimmer). I also now want to go to the pool with you and swim laps:) I can’t wait to read your blogs about swimming a few months from now. You’ll no doubt be offering wisdom and guidance for people who are in exactly the same place you are now.

  8. KD Mack says:

    Being hard on yourself is easy. Overcoming fear is tough. But I promise, when you’ve done it once or twice you’ll never wanna get out of the pool. And I’m not talking about how you get really warm in the water then freeze when you get out. It’s just so damn fun!! Swimming exercises muscles you didn’t even know you had. I was nervous my first time (swimming!!!) but I thought to myself that nothing is going to stand in the way of good health!! Do it!!!

    I look forward to your next blog that I’ve already chosen a title for, “Aaaannnnddddd…..I Took The Plunge!”

  9. Javamom says:

    Pls correct my stupid spelling mistakes. :)

  10. Javamom says:

    I felt like that too, which is why I joined the seniors swim (even though I was a week 30-something at the time). That was not intimidating, but it was….weird. Still, I got me some exercise and it felt nice to be floating in water.

    My thing was that the lifeguards would judge me. I perceived that the excellent swimmers wouldn’t even notice me, but that the bored lifeguards who were all young and trim and good swimmers would sit there and internally snicker at me (which is highly unlikely given they are probably thinking about their boyfriends or girlfriends while up there)….

    You know what? I did the breath stroke. Or is it called the breast stroke? Whatever, it is ‘old lady swimming’, makes me look like I know something about technique, and I made it across and back without drowning.

    You can do it! Once you take the plunge, you’ll be happy you did.

  11. Louise says:

    Sharon, I practised at IR pool during the daytime. It was mostly seniors. And I always chose the SLOW lane. Obviously. You’re awesome!!!

  12. Kate says:

    Um, this is awesome. Go you for being patient and gentle with yourself!

    I am often the same way: I’ve done brave-sounding things (living in Japan, rock climbing, playing rugby), but I’m actually terrified of trying new things. The first time I went to the rock climbing gym by myself, I just sat and watched. The second time, I tried bouldering (low climbing without ropes), realized how hard I sucked at it, gave up after 20 minutes, and snuck into the gym’s evening yoga class just to avoid the humiliation of further bouldering. And then remembered I had never done yoga in my life. Shit.

    Then I realized I liked yoga, but wanted to try practicing it closer to home. And literally every time I walked into a new yoga studio (I tried a lot of new-member specials…) I wanted to turn and walk out, because it seemed so intimidating to find a place among all of the people in their perfect yoga pants when I looked like an unwashed gremlin. More than once, I actually did walk out, and had to come back a different day.

    Yoga + rock climbing is now the combination keeps me sane and help me fight anxiety and depression. But it took a while, and I had not yet learned the skill of not beating myself up for needing some time to ease myself in. So I think you’re doing pretty damn well.

  13. Doni says:

    Well, you got a lot further than I ever have on the swim front. I’m so intimidated by the thought that I can’t even seriously consider it even though I know it would be the perfect cross training to my running. What’s the etiquette for, “oh my God I’m claustrophobic and there are people splashing around me and I can’t breath and I’m pretty sure I’m going to die?”. I’ll wave to you from the kiddie pool. :)

  14. NatteringNic says:

    There’s always next time!
    And now that you’re versed in pool etiquette…if I ever see the man who thought it appropriate to just float at the end of my lane, I’m sending him your way. :)

  15. Honey why are you afraid?

  16. Jacki says:

    And again, this is why I love you. Honest and forgiving – even with yourself. Guilt is pretty useless to pile on top all all our other life-shit.

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