Big Girl

Monday, February 28, 2011

Photo by Coral Von Zumwalt

I came across the following excerpt in an old issue of O, The Oprah Magazine and instantly loved it.

If you stare at it long enough
The mountain becomes unclimbable.
Tally it up. How much time have you spent waiting for the soup to cool?
Icicles hang from January gutters only as long as they can.
Fingers pause above piano keys for the chord that will not form.
Slam them down, I say.
Make music of what you can.
-Charles Rafferty, from "Against Hesitation"

Twice last year I stood before two of the most beautiful bodies of water --the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea--and couldn't go deeper than 2ft in either.  I even met a nice boy on the water once, but only as I wade my feet. It had nothing to do with my hair (a non-issue if you're at the beach/pool). It did, of course, have everything to do with my hesitation that I would drown, and it was further amplified by the feeling of embarrassment in front of the company I was with. There was that one small victory I had kayaking in the Pacific Ocean last summer. But even then I was a wavering mess.  Despite being inside a kayak. wearing a life vest. And a helmet. Sad.

At the beginning of this year when I made a list of things I wanted to declare for myself, swimming lessons, as hesitant as I am at the thought, were something I marked down. About 18 years ago I nearly drowned in the community pool, and I guess there is some residual fear from that. But I absolutely love the water and the sweet catharsis it brings. But so far that's been from a distance. And because on my next vacation to the beach I very much plan on being able to join my friends or my significant other having a good time with no hesitation, I've enrolled in adult swim lessons at the Wilson Aquatic Center here in the city (although the children's lesson might be more suitable...). Classes start in a few weeks, so here we go, head first...


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