Psst…let me let you in on a little secret.
Black people can’t swim! YES, we came to America
questionably on boats. And, YES, we love us some South Beach for spring break, but I hate to be the bearer of bad news…WE CANNOT SWIM!
Now, if you’re one of those
bougie Black people who grew up vacationing in the Hamptons or jet skiing every summer at Lake Tahoe…this post ain’t for you or about you. Come back later…not really, keep reading, but, I’m not speaking to ya’ll right now.
I’m speaking for MOST Black people and those specifically from the South, which just happens to be where I’m originally from. We can’t swim.
I really do want to know how, though.
I planned an AMAZING trip for 14 of my closest friends last year, in celebration of my #Journeyto35. We traveled to Bangkok and Phuket, Thailand (I’ll share how we did this for less than $1,100 later) and I had these grandiose ideas of snorkeling with the fish and taking HAUTE-A$$ pics like this…
But NONE of that happened. SMH. Prior to jet setting across the world, I called myself “preparing.” I spent a few weeks with one of my girlfriend’s attempting to acclimate myself to the ocean — using my 6 foot deep apartment complex pool. I know, crazy right? But she assured me (at no fault of her own) that if I learned how to at least float, I’d be okay snorkeling. I bought a swimming cap (because Black girl’s don’t get their hair wet), a life vest and I was on my way to becoming the next Simone Manuel. Right? Wrong.
So there I am, floating around my pool enjoying myself and confidently saying, “I got this in Thailand.”
Ya’ll, I DID NOT HAVE THIS. Not one bit.
After watching all of my friends hop off the side of the boat in the middle of Andaman Sea, I talked myself into joining them. Why, you ask? I have no earthly idea. One would have thought that, I myself knew I wasn’t prepared. Nonetheless, this was my celebration of 35 years of life and I was determined to do what I said I would do and that was snorkel.
It didn’t happen. LOL.
I jumped in the water, and SPAZZED! Like literally. I didn’t trust the life vest, because I couldn’t feel the “bottom,” like I could in the 6 foot pool. And, I didn’t trust bae, because, well are they every really trustworthy, anyway. LOL. He, who happens to have been a former lifeguard, calmly ushered me back to ship and continued diving and flipping off the side of the boat with everyone else.
I was devastated. And, the thought of learning has been on my mind since.
So when I started planning our annual group trip, this time to Bali, Indonesia (I’ll also share how I managed to get THIRTY-FOUR people to agree to go to Indonesia for less than $1,300 per person, including airfare and lodging for 8 days later), I decided that I was going to FINALLY learn how to swim.
But, it won’t be easy.
According to Thrive Global, the first step to overcoming your fears is to define it. Simply put, I am afraid of drowning. I nearly drowned at about five years old, and after my mom snatched me up, threatened the lil’ girl and her mother, I didn’t touch a pool again until my pre-teen years.
Step Two: Understand It. I believe that every time I’m doing something other than standing vertically in the water, I’m going to drown. And, this truly is not the case. I floated fine with a life vest. I actually relaxed, even swim a little with it on. But that’s as far as I got.
I’ve been told that those who have a high level of fear with water cannot be taught how to swim by someone they know. This too has been proven in my case. So, I’ve decided to take swimming lessons!
I’ve purchased private classes with Lenny Krayzelburg Swimming Academy in Los Angeles, and will be documenting my journey in this three-part blog. My orientation is at the end of the month.
As I prepare, for probably one of the hardest things in my life, to date, tell me….what fears are you looking to overcome and what tips, tricks and prayers do you have to teach someone like me how to swim? Help! Because, I AM GETTING IN THE OCEAN IN BALI!
At least I’m putting it in the atmosphere now.
Teal Swimsuit: American Apparel
Black and White Swimsuit: Aliexpress