Well, after being really scared of water and swimming for a good long time, this past weekend was my first swimming lesson. True, it isn’t a true “swimming lesson”. I mean, we’re learning to swim, yes – but – we’re more learning how to be comfortable with and in water. How to dive, and swim under water, and do the butterfly stroke will come later. Much later. ::Giggles::
We pulled up to the rec center, and I almost cried. It was terrifying facing my fear like this – head on. I asked Master if maybe we ought to turn back. He said that it was going to be great and I was going to do wonderfully. We parked and he helped me put in my ear plugs (seen above). That’s not how they look when in, but once you smoosh the waxy stuff to make a good seal to keep the water out, the Hello Kitty face goes away, thus making for a slightly less exciting looking picture. Heh.
Once we got into the center, we noticed there was a family locker room. That helped me immensely. It was really great to have Master with me for this part. I really liked having him there to be able to help me get ready and for moral support. We were worried he’d have to help with little things (like tying my suit on) just outside the locker room. The facility we went to was really nice. It made me a little less scared just being somewhere that looked so well maintained.
When we got into the pool area, we noticed that there was someone already being asked if they were there for water comfort. We followed them, and went to the wading pool area. Yep. The wading pool. There wound up being three of us scared chickens, but we were all praised for even being able to face our fear like this. =^^= We filled out papers marking off what scared us and what didn’t. We shared stories of what terrified us to make us all so scared in the water, and we supported and encouraged each other. Of course, we knew that not going in the water couldn’t last forever. Eventually we had to get in.
The water was heated – which was really encouraging. We didn’t do a lot. To the outsider, we probably barely did anything at all. We spent a lot of time in the very shallowest water, our legs behind us in the “deeper” part, our arms holding us still in the less than a foot deep section, and we practiced floating on our fronts and backs. We practiced just putting out faces in the water for as long as we felt comfortable. We weren’t pushed to do anything at all. The instructor was really kind, and she helped us all be at ease. She was very positive and full of excitement for the class, which was good, because all of us students left our enthusiasm at home.
The entire class was about an hour, but when we got to the end of it, I didn’t want to get out of the water. I was so excited about the new skills I learned. In fact, Master even helped me learn a few things that night in our own pool (they finally fixed the heater. Woo hoo!), and I’m really excited to go back next week. (Though, I am told we will be in a slightly deeper pool next week, so I’m a little nervous about that. Good news though: my ass looks fantastic in my suit, huh?
So no, I’m not over my fear of water and swimming yet, but I’m feeling a bit more confident now that I have learned some tricks of the “water” trade. Woot. The swim cap and goggles I was wearing in the above picture are the teacher’s, so Master took me out and bought me a silicone cap of my own, some real earplugs, and a set of nice goggles. I’ve never had goggles which keep the water out, so that was at least half the battle for me, personally. I hate getting water in my eyes and ears.
I’ve actually been saving up my allowance for a little bit to get the wrist support you see above. It’s a Tiger Paw Wrist Support, and it is used by gymnasts and acrobats during training to prevent wrist injuries, or to make painless practices by not allowing the wrist to hyperextend. Instead of the stiff part of the brace being on the underside of the wrist, it is on top. I was a little nervous that it wouldn’t work for me, but I had to try something. I miss yoga a lot, and the only reason why I couldn’t do it was because I injured my wrist a long time ago, and it would give out from under me, I’d sublux the small bones in it, and it was generally too weak. Even if I am sitting on the floor – I couldn’t support my body weight on that wrist without it hurting too much (the pain wasn’t the big issue, but I use pain as a sign that something is not right, in the case of injuries), and I couldn’t do it. I haven’t been able to crawl in a long while, either, sadly.
When my Tiger Paws arrived (I only need one, my right hand is fine, my left hand is the weak one) I was so excited, and I tried the left one on right away. I did a down dog just to try things out. My wrist didn’t even hurt a little bit, so I did a couple of handstands! WOO! I got my life back! Well, my wrist anyway. I was super excited because Master and me found a yoga class in the park on Sundays that we were hoping to go to together. So, Sunday we got in the car and went down to the park! Our first yoga class together. We have wanted to take a yoga class together as long as I have known Master, but it has never aligned right for various reasons. Master is actually very good at yoga, and he used to take classes on his own before I met him. He was the “star” of the class, and the teacher would always point him out as an “example” to the other students. No one ever believes me when I tell them, but Master is quite bendy! =^^= He’s also decently well balanced. On the other hand, I am quite bendy but not well balanced or strong, which are both things I am working on.
Yoga class was in the morning, and there was no cloud or tree cover to shield us from the sun. We put on sunblock before we went, but still – sunblock prevents burns, it doesn’t do a single thing to prevent it from being super hot! Oh well. I was incredibly proud of myself. I managed to make it through the entire session without a sublux or dislocation, and I was definitely sore, but it was a good sore. It was a “beginner” class anyway, so I didn’t have to push myself too much to get into positions or figure out combos, which was nice. My biggest challenges were in holding poses and staying balanced. I only “fell out” of a pose two or three times though. Master and me are both really excited and happy about this summer class and are looking forward to doing it over the next few months.
Ever since breaking my foot last year, I have had a Hell of a time getting my muscle tone and stamina back. Having a broken bone took me off of my foot for a long time, and it has been a struggle. I am working on it though, and today I am sitting on nice, sore muscles. Mmmm. Sore in all the right ways.
Note: I had mentioned before that there were very few activities that I was “allowed” to do via doctor due to my Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Master and me have decided that we’re going to proceed with any activity which interests me which doesn’t hurt when I am performing it. Injuries are going to happen whether or not I am physically active (sometimes I hurt myself opening the freezer for crying out loud), but we both feel the benefits of being as active as possible outweigh the negatives of injuries and POTS flare ups. We can always reconsider later if I am falling apart more easily, rather than maintaining and gaining muscle and strength.