Amy Tries Again


Things I Like But Do Not Do: Part 1 – Swimming
February 4, 2011, 10:41 AM
Filed under: Things I Like But Do Not Do

I am less binary in my opinions than my previous rants would have you believe.  I have another list, and it is just as ripe for mining as my list of Things I Do Not Like.  This list, however, is far more likely to make a psychiatrist a lot of money some day.  I present the first entry in the twisted tome that is Things I Like But Do Not Do.

Remember how I said I didn’t like sports?  Well, there may be one enormous exception.  I used to love, love, love to swim.  I was in swimming club and went to training and had ‘my’ stroke (Butterfly, for those playing along at home).

As a good Queenslander, I was trotted off to swimming lessons as soon as…actually, I don’t know.  I have no memory of not being able to swim, so I’ll wager I was pretty young.  All through primary school, I was splashing about.  I loved being in the water, loved the buoyancy, loved to dive and kick and generally pretend to be a mermaid.

The mermaid obsession probably has a lot to answer for.  I was what you would call a mermaid enthusiast.  There was a distinct theme in my artistic endeavours at a young age, although I could never get the tail fins to look quite right.  Any visit to the beach would involve an elaborate ritual of constructing a mound of sand in the shallows, perching on said mound of sand (often with a towel draped around my legs to suggest a tail) waiting for waves to crash onto my temporary mermaid rock so I could sing a song of the sea.  LOOK MUMMY!  LOOK!  YOU’RE NOT LOOKING!  LOOK AT ME MUMMY I AM A MERMAID!

I am pretty sure this was what I was attempting to recreate.

(It was all very satisfying for about 20 minutes, at which time it became boring, and I went boogie-boarding or dug a really big hole in the sand and sat in it.)

By the time I was in year seven, I had surprisingly buff shoulders for a 12-year-old girl (Butterfly will do that to you).  I carried my post-swimming eardrops in my schoolbag so my brain wouldn’t get waterlogged.  I was usually quite tan, despite my mother’s despair and constant application of waterproof sunscreen (THE SUN IS TRYING TO KILL US ALL AMY WHY DON’T YOU UNDERSTAND).  In short: I’m pretty sure that’s when my physical condition peaked.  I was pretty good at swimming, so I was looking forward to doing it in high school.  I didn’t see myself as a swimmer.  Swimming training was just an extracurricular activity I enjoyed.  Apart from fleeting delusions of grandeur on primary school sports days, I never had any burning ambition to be an olympian or anything like that.  I belonged to Drama.  I always had.  But I was happy, healthy, and loved to be in the water.

When I began year eight, I dutifully joined swim squad.  They took it very seriously at my new school.  I went to swimming camp at the start of year eight.  It was all very organised and grownup.  I went to a few inter-school swim meets.  I liked going on the bus and getting my school spirit on.  I liked going to the canteen and buying Fanta.  I dug the smell of chlorine (I still do, to be honest).

It was the swimming part that was getting kind of boring.  I wasn’t one of the kids who was good at swimming anymore.  I was just another spotty kid doing laps.  Puberty loomed, and I lost the unselfconscious delight at splashing around.  There was not much scope to secretly pretend to be a mermaid anymore.

You can guess what happened.  Needless to say, I am not a swimmer these days.  I have all sorts of foolish reasons for not wanting to get into the water, but to be perfectly honest, my main worry is that I do not cut a fine figure in a swimsuit.  I’ve got a whole packing crate worth of crazy in that department, which I’m sure I’ll air online eventually.  For now, though, the reason I give myself for not doing a thing that I love is that I don’t have any togs (bathers, a swimsuit – whatever you want to call it if you’re not from Queensland).  If I had one, I tell myself, of course I’d be swimming all the time!  It’s not my fault that I can’t go.  Such a shame.  It would be very refreshing in this heat.

This, of course, is a very stupid excuse.  No more.  Guess what?  This afternoon, I’m buying some goddamn togs.  It may be a trying experience.  However, it must be done.  I would be horrified if anyone else cut themselves off from something they loved because they were worried about the size of their arse: so no dice, myself.

It’s what Ariel would want.

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[…] a loon. I’d just been swimming at the imaginatively named Sandy Beach, after far too long avoiding the water. We’d gone to Sandy Beach to visit Ash’s lovely sister Kristy and her family, and the […]

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