“I think swimming’s hard because I can’t float” – Erinn Smart
It is impossible to be raised by my mom and know how to swim. Iya Ayo believes swimming is the fastest way to die; as afar as she is concerned, swimming lesson is bait to drown you but if you escape by a stroke of luck then you learn what doesn’t kill you eventually makes you a swimmer .
Like every overprotective mother, she sold us stories that buttressed her gospel and even went as far as investing enough creative energies to fabricate scary fallacious stories about swimming hazards. Trust me, she succeeded the seed of fear that eventually grew to become mighty trees (Maybe forest) of Thalassophobia and aquaphobia.
My ancestors are warriors, kings and hunters not fishermen for a reason. My town is surrounded by hills just like Jerusalem unlike my friend, Jay(pseudonym) whose backyard in Epe is an extension of Atlantic Ocean with enough salty sands and crustaceans to play with. They don’t buy fish; they just go to the ocean and harvest. He is a descendant of fishermen and his surname Omikunle (which means ‘The house is filled with water’) echoes that.
I never regarded swimming until I worked as a manger of a small hotel with a standard swimming facility. Everyday I saw people (of every race, age and gender) glide like sharks, leaping high out of the water, doing flips like dolphins. It is magical to see a potbellied 45-year-old man floating like Christmas balloon…. I’ve organized many pool parties and I’ve attended a few. Being in a pool party when you can not swim is like a vegan in a meat party… tormenting!
One of the most glorious things to behold is the sight of two lovers having fun in a swimming pool. I am convinced that there is a level of connection you cannot attain with your partner until you are both immersed into a body of water. Even in the Bible pools have significant healing virtues. I’m sure that conviction activated my swimming Lesson.
I won’t bore you with how I drowned, died and came back to life, I will spare you the details of how I encountered a crush that almost ended my career and how I finally quitted after few classes. But I won’t ignore the lessons I learnt, and I will share just one of them with you here and now. I truly hope it will be enough.
Fear Is A Wicked Boss :
“Courage is not the absence of fear but acting in spite of it” this quote is correct, but it is only valid when you are not almost buried in a pool.
Immediately you jump into a pool your courage is absence of fear; in that zone, acting despite fear can only lead to one thing… Drowning! (my opinion). To swim effectively, you must get rid of your fear completely. You must feel safe and comfortable in the water.
I drank few litres of Chlorinated water per session because I couldn’t let go my fear. Just like in real life, fear births struggle. Sadly, the more I struggled the deeper I sank. With your garment of fears on you, I am persuaded, that neither floater, nor instructor, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate you from struggling, which will lead to Drowning. My trainer will always say word like ‘oga’ relax and feel free but how will someone relax when it’s obvious he is sinking. I wondered how he felt his 2 mins pep talk was strong enough to uproot the tree of aquaphobia my mum planted, watered and nurture for many years. Every session was like a gym session in hell and once it wasn’t working for me, I finally quitted (I will be back soon because I can’t tell Carlz my quitting story). Like the saying goes, I cannot come and kill myself for myself. I finally stopped blaming the dude by the pool Bethesda (John 5), he probably couldn’t swim. Of what use is healing when you are still going to drown anyway? He sat there for 38 years, He told Jesus ” I don’t have a lifeguard to help me” Thank God for Jesus.
In the grand scheme of things, Life is a pool, different depth, different shape but we must still all have to swim or sink. Some are like my friend Jay that will find it easier to glide and dive as if water is their real world and some of us will have to fight our demons and flap our arms and legs, gulp some gallons and soldier on.
You might not come from the lineage of the rich and genteel, but you have to learn and be what you are called to be.
The only demon you must fight and conquer is not the one in your village but rather the one in between your two ears. It’s lurking around your brain and mind. it’s called FEAR.
Here you are permitted to act despite the fear you feel. Don’t wait till you don’t feel fear again because you must wait forever. I know many people who are married to wrong jobs, yet they are afraid to let go. I know many people who are enduring abusive relationships and are afraid to walk out…Fear. How about folks who are supposed to lunch a business, start a blog, relocate who are still struggling.
I understand that like my mum, we have heard stories from the media, family, friends and even our clergies on how businesses are crashing(so you don’t wanna start), you know the statistics of the level of unemployment in your country (so you stick with the wrong job), on how good spouses are rare so you keep the abusive one you have.
In reality, you cannot quit and walk away like I did. You either allow your fear to fade by following your heart or you keep struggling and sinking. It’s either you sink or swim. You choose.
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