Posted by: tonkatsudelights | July 31, 2007

Why I stayed away from swimming pool for years…

A Ms. Dorkable made a comment to my post about exercise. How she is envious because she can’t swim.

Somehow, this brings back some of those old memories…

I myself couldn’t swim for a good 22 years of my life. Not that I never tried. Not that I never learnt. It’s simply because I stayed away from swimming pools for a long long time.

Because I used to hate it so much.

Every time the idea of swimming came, my body would become very tense. I felt that anger building up inside me. And I would remember that incident in the swimming pool when I was only 11 yrs old. A dirty old man molested me in the swimming pool and I felt so bad ever since. I kept blaming myself… why didn’t I scream? why didn’t I run? why didn’t I tell my parents? And a lot of other why that I could never answer…

I don’t know why that incident had a strong impact on me. I mean, in the streets of Jakarta, sexual harrasment is rampant. When I was a teenager, I faced this as a reality of life. And I learnt to fight it. I punched back. I kicked the guy who dared to touch my breasts. I confronted those guys in public, pointed it out to their face that what they did was so low. Angry look won’t work. It will just make them happy and satisfied. Sometimes I don’t know why I could be so brave as to hit those guys. I am a minority by race, you see…

It was God who finally liberated me. He liberated me from that thing that bound me for years. Now, whenever I talked about that incident in the swimming pool, I no longer felt the hurt anymore. That thing has no impact on me anymore. Not anymore.

I finally was able to swim in the last year of my university. I decided to take up some swimming lessons while I was doing my undergraduate thesis. It was also the time I took up my driving lesson and Mandarin lesson. I deliberately prolonged my study in the university by one semester for two reasons — one is so that I could have longer time to have fun as a student. And two, I could use the time to learn some things. I even earned some money during that time as well from my teaching assistant job.

I think, it’s never to late to learn. I decided to learn to swim, and now… I can swim. Though only one style. Still learning the next style. Hehe.

So Ms. Dorkable… it’s never too late for you to learn as well. 🙂

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