Next Sunday marks my fourth session of swimming lessons. The thought of it still causes me knots in the deepest pit of my stomach. You would think at this point I would have gotten over my fear of water. About a year and a half ago my Grandmother called me up and said she wanted to learn how to swim. She had just watched a Saturday morning news show about swimming lessons for children in the urban community.

“Hope the lady said the lessons are free for the elderly. I wrote her number down. Call her up and see if you can get me in”.

I dialed the number that she gave me and was told the lessons were in fact NOT FREE. When she quoted the price my eyes bugled from my head. I quickly thanked her and immediately hung up.

Before I could call my Grandmother back to replay the conversation the phone rang. I started to ignore the call but something told me to pick it up.

“Hi, I’m Agnes” she said cheerfully. It was same person from the number I had just dialed.

“You didn’t give me a chance to work out a deal with you. I am about to offer you the deal of the lifetime. I will train you and another person for the price of one and I will give you a 20% discount from the price I quoted you.”

That was in fact a deal but at the time I still couldn’t afford it. I did not know this “Agnes” from a can of paint but I decided to be up front with her.

“I only have half now but I can pay you the balance in two weeks when I get paid”.

“How about this” Agnes replied.

“Bring in half and pay me the balance over the course of the 11 week sessions”.

“You have yourself a deal” I told her.

It is unbelievable to see my evolution. I went from learning how to blow bubbles through my nostrils to swimming on my back and treading deep water. My Grandmother bailed on me after the 5th week because she was missing out on her early morning church services. I completely understood but I continued on. I ended up falling in love with “Agnes” and her entire staff and signed myself up for future lessons.

Although I am proud of my growth, I am always afraid. Every time I climb down into that pool I want to turn around and run.

I am uncomfortable!

I am uncomfortable when I can not feel the pool floor beneath my feet in 12 feet deep water.

I am uncomfortable when my trainers yell at me to look at the floor and continue to stroke when I am performing the free style(also known as <em>front crawl</em>).

I am uncomfortable every time I am told “Chin to shoulder” to help me glide the water efficiently.

Lastly I am comfortable being the biggest adult in size and age, but I do it!

I do it because my determination to succeed surpasses the fear, the doubt and the embarrassment. I do it because I want to learn. Not only do I want to learn, I want to MASTER THAT BITCH!

I want to be able to look fear, doubt and uncertainty in the face and say F U I’M HERE TO STAY!!!!!

For every door of fear I have faced there was a stripe of confidence obtained. You will never grow if you are not willing to be uncomfortable. Badges of courage go hand and hand with being uncomfortable.