Day 1 – 17.5.2019
I have been wanting to learn swimming since years now. Specially when I am travelling abroad and sign myself up for crazy water sports, I realize it even more. What was stopping me, if you may ask. Well I don’t know, probably I’ve been too scared that I won’t be able to OR I am a very good procrastinator.
Last year, I did enroll myself for swimming classed but I was horrified of not the pool but the crowd. Don’t want to sound racist or entitled but I didn’t go beyond a day. And in Delhi, the major swimming season is April- June so yeah that’s how last year went.
This year finally I have joined the swimming classes and today was my first day. All the other people in pool were 1 foot long kids who were fantastic at swimming. But i’ll take this crowd any day as compared to ogling uncles. My side of the pool was 3 foot deep and I asked to walk in the pool which was relatively easy and fun. The water was way too cold because it just stopped raining. My trainer might have thought that I am way too talented to walk effortlessly in pool and asked me to make bubbles.
Bubbles? WTF are bubbles Karen? I am not fluent in swimming language please. Anyway, I asked shockingly what was it supposed to mean. Duh! SO basically it’s inhaling the oxygen and then going underwater to exhale from your nose ( NOT mouth), mouth is shut. Don’t do what I did buy opening your mouth and letting that pee lemonade go into your mouth.
My first day of swimming went great, I loved the experience and came back home feeling extremely proud of myself.
Day 2 – 18.5.2019
Today went so well. WOW! I never imagined that I would look forward to my swimming lessons. I had a spring in my step quite literally while going for the classes.
Today, I made fantastic bubbles underwater. Could hold my breath for 5-7 seconds without opening my eyes though. Need to buy the swimming goggles, hopefully this week. Then I was asked to hold the edge of the pool and let my body loose so it floats up on the surface. It took a while but I was able to do it. Have tried doing something similar when I go for holidays and end up being in the pool.
Finally after almost 45 minutes in the swimming pool, I could feel my body weightless floating on the surface, of course I was holding the edge. Too scared to let that go to be honest. I was wondering this is what swimmer’s feel? Some Javed Akhtar’s lines from ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ played in my calm mind before the class bell rang spoiling my rather tranquil mood.
It was a good day!
Day 3 – 19.5.2019
My anxiety is over the moon, thanks to swimming classes. I was terrible, OMG so bad that right now I am hoping it rains tomorrow and the class get cancelled.
As yesterday, I was floating quite effortlessly and making bubbles too, so today coach thought it’s time for me to use the float and do the same. So as long as I am holding the edge and floating I trust the water, but I am NOT floating in water however non-deep it might be. I don’t trust the water. The one hour class today was a disaster.
I was sobbing but couldn’t let go and float with that tiny board. I drowned (even if it was 3 feet) numerous times. My swimming cap also came out multiple times, my hair was a mess. I look like Shahnaz Hussain. I feel anxious, I feel so low. SO many negative emotions, all together. What a beautiful day to remember!
To be honest, have watched two swimming tutorials on YouTube, but they made it look so easy and trust me it’s not. I googled if people feel the way I felt and hell yes, it’s called Aqua-phobia. It mentioned that one can also be afraid of bathtubs in this. AND YES I AM AFRAID OF BATH TUBS OMG GOOGLE YOU UNDERSTAND ME. I feel nauseated in bath tub so i never ever use it.
I don’t want to go to the class tomorrow. This and only this has been on my mind since morning. How I should have learnt swimming while I was toddler, it would have been a cake walk. They don’t ask questions, they cry and get over with it. Most importantly, they trust! Today is certainly not my Ted talk day guys! :-\
Day 4 – 21.5.2019
Nahi aayi swimming! Today my Coach Ma’am thought it was cool to life up my legs while I was struggling to leave the bar and float. It was a disaster, within seconds I was sitting over her shoulders inside the pool, with my nails dug in her neck. Very terrible 3 seconds of failed swimming in the shallow pool.
The only good thing that happened today was that I was life my hands off the swimming bar for one nano second while floating. Might not come off as a big deal but trust me for an Aquaphobic doing this needs a LOT of courage. I wish I could explain how tough is “letting go” when you are shit scared of water.
I haven’t slept or pooped in last 3 days. I just can’t! I keep on feeling anxious and whenever I try to close my eyes, all I see is water. I don’t know if I will be able to ever swim but I will cry and still go for my class. Mom said I can’t die in a 3 feet deep pool and I will try to remember that.
Day 5 – 22.3.2019
My friend joined my swimming batch today and she was a rockstar! She learnt how to float minus the bar and let her body go and float for few seconds on first day itself! LIKE WAAAAHT!!!!!
Was I jealous? Haha so by now everyone except me in my class knew how to float and were way ahead of me and it didn’t bother me at all. Because I am not stupid to let go and let my body drown and increase my fear even more. Yes, I want to learn swimming but not at the cost of almost killing myself. (Too dramatic for a 3 feet deep pool, but when you are scared, you are!)
I am happy with my face, okay not happy but then it’s AWESOME how I come for classes every single day even though I am shit scared and don’t want to come. I am just being very robotic about it and coming for swimming class no matter what. I guess that calls for an applaud itself haha. I am NOT giving up on swimming OKAY!
Also, I have binged watch over 60 YouTube swimming tutorials by now because I can’t sleep. Thanks to swimming anxiety.
Day 6 – 23.5.2019
Seeing my helplessness inside the swimming pool, I got transferred to a new coach; umm let’s call him Moustache Coach (MC). I wasn’t very keen on it, but I had no other option but to trust their decision. And in just 15 minutes he gave me enough confidence to leave my favourite ‘Swimming bar” and float without holding it. Though it helped that bar was 3 inches below my hands but still it was a HUGE step to let it go.
I was transferred to a new coach yet again after 15 minutes. Let’s call him Cool Coach (CC). To be honest I was petrified of him. He used to teach swimming techniques to all the professional swimmers in the pool and he was always shouting. ALWAYS! I looked out for my Coach ma’am from the corner of my eye and she was smiling, I was not.
So my CC turned out to be what will be my favourite swimming coach ever!
Remember that scene from the movie “Karate Kid” when Miyagi asks the kid to wax on, wax off his car? The kid goes in for a shock as he wanted to learn Karate but instead Miyagi was asking him to clean the car.
Exactly what my CC did. He knew about my affinity of holding the side bar and float, he asked me to hold it and let it go while I had to jump and stand in the pool, all of this simultaneously. I was told to do it repeatedly for over an hour (yes they extended my time today). This exercise felt tiring and stupid but you know what happened in the end?
Because of this, I had the confidence to stand in the swimming pool whenever I felt like drowning. SO no matter which end of pool I was in, I could stand immediately once I felt like drowning; which helped me to let go more often because I knew I could stand easily.
And he also ended up taking me to the deep end of the pool with my trembling legs. While holding the wall edge, I had to jump in and out of the pool and I could do it.
Day 7 – 24.5.2019
TODAY I LEFT MY LOVER ie., SWIMMING BAR COMPLETELY AND FLOATED WITH A FLOAT. Float is a tiny 1 foot long and half foot wide foam board. But OMG I floated length and breadth of the pool. I cried, I laughed, I made faces! And all the coaches finally breathed a sigh of relief. They congratulated me while I was still in shock.
YOU know how it happened? CC never let me go, he never moved his hands while I struggled to float minus any support. He never let my anxiety trigger specially when I was inside the water trying to float, breathe, not drown in the swimming pool. Also, he understood how to tackle the fear inside my head. He never forced, always said “you can do it, I know you can do it”. And most importantly, he started small distance, like 1 meter distance of floating, then increasing to 3 meters of distance.
I had insane amount of gratitude towards CC who was always shouting otherwise, but have been super patient with me that I hardly heard his voice except when motivating me.
I have Aquaphobia, if you want to know more about it then click here.
I keep on sharing about my little swimming snippets on Instagram stories, here.