An Island Girl Who Doesn’t Swim…

Yup, that is me-I am an “island girl” that doesn’t swim.
It’s not that I haven’t learned…because I have.  Fourth grade, Kaewai Elementary-required swimming classes and I went from floating to freestyling, diving to the bottom and doing the back stroke up and down the pool.  It was like riding a bike, so to speak.  And I loved it-the one I had trouble with was treading water, but I eventually got it!  Me and Keone (this boy who couldn’t tread either) had to practice on the side of the pool and we eventually got it.  I remember my classmates telling me, move your hands like this, or move your legs like this and it would annoy me because each time I would sink!  But I got it-the moment I relaxed I got it.

So why don’t I swim now? Well, my dad used to own a boat and we’d go out into deep ocean water and he’d tell me “I’m going to throw you in and see if you can swim.”

Thanks dad!  What did I ever do to you?  Each time he threatened me I feared the ocean…well, not the whole ocean because I still went into the water, just up to my chest area though, and I’m only 5 feet, so you can imagine how shallow the water is I like to play in.  After the fourth grade I never swam in the pool or ocean.  Well…no, I lie.

There was an incident during Spring Break 2000 in Cabo San Lucas when me and my girls went on a snorkeling booze cruise.  Yeah, bad idea.  I didn’t put on a life vest because I thought I’d be fine…WRONG.  I was fine and was using my fins and looking into the dark water (didn’t see fish) and forgot to breathe right in the snorkel gear and panicked!  Thank god my friends were around me because I panicked and thought I would drown in fricken Mexico!  They took me to shore and didn’t snorkel at all as I realized I had to get back into the water, in the deep ocean and onto the boat!

I managed by remembering I could float on my back, kick with my fins and did that all the way to the boat.  I calmed my nerves with some tequila the crew was passing around…ugh…but that experienced confirmed my fear of deep ocean water.

When I was married to Bobby and we went to the beach, he told me he’d teach me and since he used to be a junior lifeguard back in the day, I trusted him up to a point.  The deeper we went I’d freak out and he’d tell me not to panic but he was so mischievous in nature I’d always think he’d lie to me and take me deeper.  One time I was clinging to him at the beach and about to cry…embarrassing.  Bobby thought it was hilarious.

So today, Josh and I at my insistence went to Ko’olina because I’ve wanted to go to the beach for awhile now-each time I’ve planned for it, it’s RAINED.   We woke up and he asked me if I wanted to go-I was lazy but before he changed HIS mind, I got up and got ready.  The sun wasn’t really out today but I was still worried we wouldn’t get parking because it’s a holiday weekend.  Not so!  There was lots of parking and we walked to Lagoon #2, which is in front of The Villas.

The sunlight filtering through the clouds wasn’t strong but it was now or never.  I knew it would be cold but Josh and I went in and relaxation began.  I love Ko’olina, it’s like being in a nice private pool, the water was so clear and yes it was cold, but as long as we kept moving around-our body adjusted.

There was a wedding, as usual taking place at the chapel at Koolina and I thought about my wedding coming up just a mile down from where we were swimming!  It’ll be beautiful and I can’t wait.

So Josh is a patient teacher, he talked me into trying to swim and laughed when he said I was sinking as I tried to swim in shallow water.  He’s honest…but so cute when he’s honest, I couldn’t be mad at him for laughing at me.  At least he wasn’t threatening to let me sink or swim in deep water!  So he gave me tips and encouraged me to relax and not panic…but I didn’t think I’d be able to do it.  But each time he encouraged me I just wanted to do it just to see if I could-and I knew Josh wouldn’t let me drown or won’t yell at me for being so stupid about it.

After taking in all his words and encouragement I pulled away at one point and he was a few feet away from me and without telling him I took a deep breath and started towards him and reached him!  He was so surprised and I was so happy!  We did it again and again and I felt my confidence grow, but that was still in shallow water.  It took me awhile to let him pull me out to deep water.  Remember he’s 5’9.  So deep water for ME, isn’t deep to him at all!!  So with me slightly panicking he held my hands and brought me out.  I told him to bring me back but he calmed me down and then I just concentrated on him holding me and thinking hey, I’m not touching the bottom, but I’m not drowning either.  He told me to practice treading and I did-I was still scared and told him not to let go and the thing with Josh was that he LOVED me needing him and he admitted it too which earned him a wet hug and kiss from me…lol…

I was practicing treading and finally I told him to let go.  He wouldn’t but I convinced him that I trusted him and he just needed to be arm’s length away from me.  He let go and I started panicking a little and swam back to shallow water! LOL…oh my goodness, okay so the treading backfired, but I did make it to shallow water–thing is it was triggered by my panic.

Now he was in deep water and I in shallow and he told me to swim towards him and I got so scared!  It took me five minute to tell myself it was okay and he was right there and I could do it.  I did it, closing the gap between us and when I touched him I was relieved.  I practiced treading again and was doing better but got scared eventually and swam back to shallow water.  Josh said at least I was “swimming” back…lol…but the point is to actually swim in deep water eventually.  When my panic isn’t there…it’s fine.  But it’ll take some time before I get there and I’m glad Josh is the patient man who’ll be there with me.  I grew up with a hard man as a father…I’m so tired of guys like that.  Always trying to keep me down and fearful of something.  Today I realized I got far with another way of teaching-with praise, encouragement and no damn yelling.  I  find that I “grow” more in the presence of a man who encourages me and soothes me and doesn’t degrade me for my faults and weaknesses.  And Josh is a man who knows that a strong woman who isn’t held back by fears is a beautiful thing.  🙂  It’s why I’m marrying him-he makes me a better person.

It was such a fun morning!  We played in the sand, ocean and a little sun.  I took my trust in Josh another notch further which is amazing in itself.  He said he loved that I gave up control and let him guide me.  I didn’t realize I’m so strong headed at times-the result of being raised by a hard man.  I know I can be stubborn, but it’s moments like these when you see a person and yourself in a different light. It was the perfect Sunday!  Perfect Saturday and Sunday actually!  Happy President’s Day Weekend!

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