“Just do it!”
“Put your head under water.”
“Oh come on, you’re really worried about getting your hair wet?”
“Don’t be such a baby.”
Fear can be completely irrational, and it can also be born of ignorance. Fear can be absolutely ridiculous (being afraid of a color with no past trauma, being afraid of things which cannot hurt you, being afraid because you have heard rumors about something and have not done any research to find out the truth). Fear can also be because of past trauma. Fear can be brought on by very good reasons, like bad experiences, or witnessing bad things happening.
Something I have never shared on my blog is my fear of water. This is a very hard post for me to write, and as I sit here, I am nearly in tears because of all the emotion it brings up. If you see me swimming in real life, you’ll probably notice that I stick to the shallows. When I can, I actually prefer to stick to the toddler areas, where there’s about a foot deep MAX of water, and you’re just expected to splash, or else, you know – be a toddler, and not actually swim. Lots of people think this is “cute”. Lots of people think this is “lazy”. Lots of people think this is “rude”. Lots of people don’t understand.
See, when I was about six, there was a water park that my parents used to bring us to on the weekends. It was near the camp ground we used to go to, and it was a really cool place. I was not an exceptional swimmer, but I could hold my own. My parents actually took me out of swimming when I was very young so that my older brothers could continue in the swimming program. So, I could doggy paddle like nobody’s business, but most of the time I had to wear one of those obnoxious swimming “bubbles”. You know, those cubes of foam that you strapped over your back so that you wouldn’t drown? Well, so long as you counterbalanced with one of those long barbell things. >.>
The park was fun, but I would mainly stick to the lazy river, and the inner tube ride, because those didn’t require many swimming skills. There was actually only one water slide which was designed for people 4’ and under, and it would drop you down into a 5’ section of water. Since I couldn’t stand there even on tip toe, I was a little nervous. Eventually I decided to just go for it, and I got one of those rubber mats that you use on those slides. It was a really gentle slide, and when you got to the bottom, you were near the wall of the pool which was nice because, if I got tired, I could just sort of use the wall to pull myself along.
By this slide, there was a lifeguard 99% of time. This person’s sole purpose was to tell the next child when it was safe to go, so you wouldn’t have six or seven kids in a dangerous pile up on the bottom. This particular time though, the life guard was not there. Thinking I was just alone (I didn’t see anyone around me), I decided to just go down it anyway (there were no signs saying it was closed, and we were sort of there during off-peak hours).
Of course, the slide started off fine. I got my little “water carpet” thing, and I started my little slide down. It was fun. I did not see my brother go down behind me. In fact, I didn’t see him at all before I went down, I thought he was off on his own or something. When I got to the bottom of the slide, I felt something slide into me hard. My brother was sitting on top of my shoulders and I could not get my head above water to breathe! I was desperate for air. I was terrified. He was holding me down on purpose, it wasn’t as though he had accidentally fallen on me, and couldn’t get off. I was sure that I was just going to die. I was absolutely terrified. I had given up on struggling, (it wasn’t helping anyway), and right as I just assumed “this is it”, some random man happened to be walking by, saw what was happening, and jumped in to save me.
He pulled me out of the water, I sat there for a little bit until I could breathe well again, and then he marched me and my brother back to my Dad. He told my Dad about the fact that my brother had tried to drown me. He saw what had happened, and he knew it was as malicious. My Dad ignored the man. He never did anything to discipline my brother, because it was easier that way. To this day, if some random stranger goes under water (dives) near me, I am scared to death.
How do I know my brother intended to down me? Let’s just say that this was not the first violent episode between my brother and me. Not even close. I was never an amazing swimmer, but I always liked the water, for the most part.
Nowadays, I only swim in water if I am one on one with someone I really trust, or if Master is there with me, so I feel safe. I especially won’t put my head under water if there are strangers around. That’s why this has been such a big struggle for me. That’s why I’m so scared of being alone in the pool with people.
If you read this blog, you know that I’m not the type of person to let fear run my life. Fears are to be conquered. Fears are to be beaten. That’s why this year, Master has signed me up for a water comfort class. He told me he would love for me to get my scuba diving certification so that we can scuba dive together. Master has been scuba certified for years. I would love to be able to do that for him, but I can’t just start there. I have to start slowly, as with any fear. Taking this water comfort class is a huge deal for me. I really hope it helps me get over my fear.
To be honest, even just signing up for this class is a huge freaking deal to me. Master will be on the sidelines watching, but he won’t be there with me in the water. I just hope I’m not the absolute worst in the class. -.- Not that I want someone else to be even more scared of swimming than I am, just – I don’t want to embarrass myself by being the biggest wuss ever. The classes start the first Saturday in June. Wish me luck.