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Strange For An Island Girl

Most people find it hard to believe that I can't swim.  I live on an island for heaven's sake!  I should be able to swim!

Truth is that I am very afraid of water.  My father tried in vain to teach us (my sister and I) when we were younger.  My parents were divorced so my Dad would come to pick us up to take us to the beach sometimes.  Whenever my mother knew that that was the plan, she and my grandmother would sit us down and read to us every "drowning" story from the newspaper.   None of the women in my family know how to swim, at least on my mother's side.

The end result was that my sister and I clung to my father's legs like live starfish and never learned to swim.

My sister wanted to become a flight attendant and tried to learn to swim but never could.  Her fears were too deeply rooted.  As for me, I fell in love with the water.  Just looking at it calmed me and I used to imagine myself just free floating in it.  So, I took my first lesson.......

I wish that this story had a happy ending but no, I still can't swim.  I have learned to tread water and to float but I can only do that when I am sure that once I put my feet down, I'll touch bottom.  So I stay in the shallow end in the pool and stay in the surf at the beach.  I'm usually the girl with a bikini bottom fulll of sand :-D

But I haven't made the same mistake with my daughters.  My husband swims like a fish and I made every effort not to pass my own fears onto my girls.  Thankfully, they are fearless at the beach and in the pool.  They swim, play and have fun, oblivious to any possible dangers, the same dangers which paralyse me.




neopet neopet 41-45, F 17 Responses Jul 12, 2007

Your Response


Hello there, I was in the swimming pool today with my kids as they need practice for a swim exam they are four and eight. I am 32 and had arm bands on because I can swim either. I really understand how you feel, its awful that we can't swim and people think its a joke and how easy it is. hope u overcome your fear and able swim today x

Thankyou for sharing this wonderful story. I feel that not passing on your fears to your kids will do them wonders. Plus, you're never too old to learn to swim properly - and treading water is the main thing to do when in the middle of a huge amount of water I think, too, so good on you :) <br />
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I rate up! :3

You have to wear water wings you will get your confidence, they are exist on adult sizes:)

I was in a similiar position when I was young and my mother frightened me whenever I went near water. (See my article "Maybe a different approach to learn..")<br />
In my 20s I started to learn with a work colleague who was a very good teacher who understood my problem and taught me to swim by trying different methods, different strokes until I was comfortable with what I was learning. Most swimming classes teach you front crawl to start.<br />
I suggest that you practise, practise and practise with someone who you can really trust and has deep appreciation of your feelings. As "wishwish" has said take small steps at a time with someone who will appreciate your progress and give you encouragement and confidence.

The story was refreshing yet amusing! It is indeed strange you can't swim yet you live on a island :S It's okay, everyone has a ironic twist to their lives.<br />
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Thank you for posting your experience, it was quite amusing ^_^

It's all right to be afraid of the water, and it's also fine for you to not attempt to overcome that fear if you choose not to. But you will be missing out on something wonderful.<br />
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When I was young I couldn't swim. One day at a swimming pool, without any help, I decided to be brave and jump into water that was slightly too deep for me. As a result, I nearly drowned - my heart stopped beating. I was fished out of the pool by the manager, who brought me back to life.<br />
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About two months later, having fully recovered, a friend of mine took me to a pool and taught me to swim. Needless to say, I was scared; but he was the best teacher, and went about the instruction in a really gentle manner. Since that time, I have enjoyed many hours swimming - it's such a wonderful activity. I even dare say that I'm a fairly strong swimmer.<br />
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I feel that I'd be the perfect person to teach you and your sister. I know what it's like to be afraid, and I know how to overcome that fear with gentle steps that build confidence. <br />
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You've got all that wonderful ocean around you and you're not swimming! You're missing out...

I don't understand how this forum is seen as a valid venue for proselytizing.<br />
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Perhaps it is OK as long as ANYONE can similarly come here and use the original poster's comments as a vehicle for spreading a particular religious viewpoint, but 1) I think that is disrespectful to the poster (who may not be interested in that), and 2) I somehow doubt that other religious viewpoints would be tolerated.

I think that the previous commenter, spiritually enlightened, is a bit of an egotist...She is NOT really listening or being compassionate to the woman who can't's all I, I, I, and not showing any compassion on this girl's fears...first, we must put ourselves in the other's shoes and then we'd be able to comment as a helper not as a criticizer...rethink this again, se, and try to put yourself in her shoes...really visualize yourself as if you were her...and, please, don;'t ever think you are "unsinkable" sound like the reporter who wrote that the Titanic was unsinkable...and then, what happened??? Your ego is too big and God has been very good to you...don't take advantage of it...

I don't think you have to worry because you are not the only one in the world who can't swim there are a lot more people who can't swim or affread of water.

I don't think you have to worry because you are not the only one in the world who can't swim there are a lot more people who can't swim or affread of water.

I live in New Zealand, which is surrounded by water, but I am afraid of the water. I love going to the beach, and sometimes walk into the sea, but I don't go out in the deep, as I have never learned to swim. I tried when I was younger, and took swimming lessons, but always panicked when I was out of my depth, and couldn't get my breathing right,as I was afraid of drowning.<br />
I still love going to the beach, and find there are many things I can do, out of the water.

The entire account is very touching, By not making your children "inherit" your fear of swimming, you have undone the wrongs that your mother and grandmother did to you. You are easily one of the best examples of selflessness and true mother. Hats off to you !!

This is proof once again how dibilitating fear is. Thank you for your story. I needed to hear it.

I know you can learn to swim. What you need to do is unlearn your mothers indoctrination.<br />
As an NLP practitioner I have done this successfully with lots of people and you are no different.<br />
You need to find a practitioner in your area who will sort your head out over this.<br />
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Lot's of folks are held back, by programming that was done either innocently or otherwise, by our parents and grandparents.<br />
Do it! You will not regret it, I promise.

Hi I call myself Uriel<br />
I don't think the problem here is that you can't swim, the problem here is what you believe. If you can float and we all can, than you can swim. Perhaps you should consider seeking out a counselor or hypotist for this problem. If you are ever to get beyond this fear, you have to unlearn what you have learned. You mother did you no favor in ingraining this in your psyche, but you can beat this...all it takes is desire and a will that refuses to be beaten by a childhood phobia!<br />
We're all afraid of something,...the trick is not to let it rule your life. I had a fear of heights for a long time, but now it doesn't bother me very much...because I faced the fear, reasoned it out...and saw the causes of that fear were basically groundless.<br />
You can do the same...just believe in yourself...believe that anything you want to do is possible!<br />
Good luck...and I hope this helped a little bit. Uriel

I also live on an island: the world's 7th largest. And I live near a beach. And I can't swim. My reason for being terrified of it is rooted in almost being deliberately drowned by a neighbour. I hope that if i do have kids I will not pass on my fears to them.

I'm sorry to hear that you've been saddled with such a fear of the water :( But it's inspiring to hear that you've such a wonderful thing by being able to see past that for your children. It sounds like it would it take a lot of work to clear you of your fear of water, but I'm sure it could be done with the right approach/therapy. :) Regardless of that, I have great respect for you in that you kept your children free of your own fear. If only all parents were so able! :D