Saturday, August 13, 2011

Life Lessons: Learning to SWIM!

I remember when I was younger, I wanted to learn to swim. I was always fond of the water, but there was really no one to teach me. Momma had a fear of the water. She had a near death experience and almost drowned when she was 14 years old. Now here I am 12 years old and she's almost scared to death to let me go too far. Daddy was always SOMEWHERE and when he DID come around, he'd try to throw my baby brother in the pool because that's how his daddy 'taught' him and his older was a matter or 'survival' for them. SINK OR SWIM. Military stuff! ha..

This made me even MORE determined. I promised myself and my Daddy that once I learned to swim, I'd teach my brother, so the next time Daddy came around with his shenanigans, he'd have a surprise for him. Also, help Momma get over her fear.

So I set aside my fears and started heading out to the pool. I assured Momma she could trust me to watch my little brother and my surroundings. I started going almost everyday because I wanted this so bad, even conquered a few insecurities and things that were said 'to' me. Gaining the courage to wear a bathing-suit was chore for me, mainly because I was always teased about my weight. I didn't have an athletic body [and still don't], but I was healthy and full of energy. I was even told I didn't need to be in the sun too long because I was already 'dark enough'. But I was determined to push past the distractions and use the negativity to fuel my passion.

I started out slow, first playing in the water to get used to how it reacted to my movements and how my body responded in return. I watched others around me and even asked for pointers. Then I started mentally timing myself to see how long I could hold my breath before wanting to come up for air. I got over the fear of allowing myself to float, face-down and face-up. This was quite a challenge for me, and yes I got scared a few times. Especially with that feeling of my feet leaving the floor of the pool and allowing the water to hold me. Then I learned to kick my feet and move along. All while holding on to the edge of course. And when I finally let go, I was scared but I kept trying. I kept learning, gaining confidence in my ability to do this and the promise I made to myself, so I kept trying until I perfected it. Before I knew it, I was making laps around the pool, then venturing off into the deep end..SUCCESS. Alot of this was done, after trial and error, while there were very few people around. Because I didn't need anyone rough-housing with me or draw TOO MUCH attention to myself than there already was. Finally, trying my hand at diving and it didn't go over TOO WELL... so I left that to the 'pros'. But if you needed a cannon-baller on your team during SPLASH WARS..I was the ONE! lol

After I was comfortable enough to handle swimming on my own, not only did I teach my baby brother how to swim and help my Momma get over her fear of the water. She learned how to swim as well with my guidance and encouragement. I taught two or more other people how to swim as well. But there was this one person that was very difficult. No matter what I tried to do or say to get them to feel comfortable, to allow me to teach them and for them to trust me, nothing worked so we just left it alone. Swimming along and helping others as they sat on the edge. I was somewhat upset about it and felt that I'd lost somehow but I just had to give it up and think 'Maybe ONE DAY they'll learn and I'm here when they're ready'. I thought about how well I've done so far and was still willing to teach others.

My hair was pretty much DESTROYED from the chlorine and the sun and I was many shades darker but I surpassed my goal. I smiled from ear to ear and had much more energy! I had even lost a few pounds. My spirit burned even BRIGHTER than before.

As these thoughts came rushing to my mind today, I became overwhelmed by how much wisdom I had even as a child. Knowing that bettering myself was not only for MY benefit but I always thought of others. Very similar to how I am today. Even learning that I may help many, there are still SOME that can't be helped or will not allow it.

What a beautiful memory..and it's teaching me a very valuable lesson as I reminisce. I need that determination back. I didn't depend on ANYONE to help me get to my goal. I didn't need anyone's approval, only permission from who mattered and who was responsible for my well-being. All I knew is that I wanted to do it and it was going to get done!

I ignored things that were being said around me and I kept going, I kept trying and when I was successful and helping others, most of the talking ceased. Sure, some of these people were WAY BETTER and had the knowledge and the tools to be of assistance but did nothing. And when I was sharing what I learned, watching those willing to learn excel ME in their abilities, all the spectators could do was watch in amazement and secret admiration. Also, they made me want to excel what I've learned, so the teacher became the student in many cases. Not once did the on-lookers ever think to take what they've seen to help others. I can't fault them tho. Maybe they don't know how to help anyone else, maybe they don't have the patience or the heart to. Maybe it never crossed their minds.

This all goes hand-in-hand with how life is today. Allow me to share some pointers with you that I see by looking back at this experience:

*Don't let other people's fears and experiences stop you from doing what's in your heart to do [of course without being insensitive]. Once you've achieved your goals, you can help them as well if they're willing and some will be once they've seen your success.

*Don't blame who's not around nor allow their absence to hinder you from getting your feet wet [forgive if you have to. like for instance if they were SUPPOSED to be there].

*Don't allow negativity to distract your mind and eye from your goals [even if it's coming from you].

*Don't let your inexperience keep you from wanting to learn and help others with the knowledge you've gained [start over on somethings if you have to].

*Don't allow your insecurities to get the best of you. This is what you're called to do [don't make mountains out of molehills and be CONFIDENT in that gift GOD has placed in you. NO ONE can take that away!].

*Don't wait on others to step in to do what you NOW are equipped to do. You may not even be the BEST in others eyes, but if it is beneficial to others and they are better because of it, you've done YOUR part [and know what you've done for others will be rewarded, but don't make that your reason for doing things].

*Know when to ask for help, advice, pointers, etc [learn what works for you and tweak it when necessary. show your appreciation and keep it moving].

*Know that you have to dedicate time and sacrifice some things to make it work [but be safe, listen to your body, know when to take a break. that doesn't mean you QUIT].

*Be wise in watching your surroundings and know when the timing is right [somethings are best done in SECRET].

*Let your actions, achievements, and accomplishments speak for you [have the RIGHT motives and PLEASE don't be cocky. who wants to smell that?].

*Now after you've done all of this and obtained this knowledge, what are you going to do with it? [YEAH YOU!]

Let me know how and IF this is helpful to you! BE BLESSED!

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