This weekend, after Dan told me that I couldn't take a swim class in my current swimwear, I took the subway to Paragon Sports to buy a new swim outfit. The guy working the swim cap and goggle area was extremely knowledgable, helping me pick out what I needed quickly and painlessly. The girl at the bathing suit area, now that's another story. Athletic swimwear has strange number sizes, and I didn't know what they meant, so I asked if she could assist me.
"Yes, let me help you," she said, "because I wouldn't want you to go into the dressing room with a suit that's too small." Based on my dress size, she pulled a few suits for me in size 32. I went to the dressing room and pulled one suit from the rack. I could barely get the thing up my leg. Maybe this one had a weird cut. I tried another one. I somehow managed to squeeze my butt into the thing, but the look was a bit sausage and the feel was a whole lot uncomfortable. The rest of the suits, no better. As if bathing suit shopping wasn't stressful enough! I peeked through the curtain for further assistance, but the girl was long gone, and there was no one around. I had to change back into my clothes and start over. I got a bunch of bigger suits and tried again.
When I left the dressing room the second time around, another sales woman asked, "How does it fit?"
"Good, I am getting this one," I said, lifting up the size 38--three sizes bigger than what the original girl recommended.
"You know they run small."
Luckily, my shopping experience had no indication of the fate of my first swim class. I was certainly nervous for the first day. I was facing a big fear. I don't like going underwater. I always think my contacts are going to pop out. I can't hold my breath very long. I was worried of freakouts and panics and tears. I was afraid that I just couldn't do it. But then I reminded myself, THIS IS KIDS STUFF, Yvonne.
I was so happy that I signed up to take the semi-private class with Danielle because she put me at ease. We met at the Y, got dressed in our suits, goggles and caps and looked like twin alien bugs. We got there early so we sat by the pool and watched everyone swim. One lane was taken up by an impressive kids swim team that were fast, furious and fearless. Then I looked over in another lane where I saw an old man swim so slowly, he looked like a piece of driftwood. I identified with him more. Danielle and I talked but I was very nervous and couldn't follow much of the conversation until she turned to me and said, "I think my head is shrinking." That made me laugh. I am guessing people don't usually sit around in swimming caps. They're pretty freakin tight.
Our instructor Geo came and introduced himself, and he also put me at ease with his sense of humor. He couldn't figure out who was Danielle and who was Yvonne. We did a few drills like going underwater and making bubbles, paddling our legs, pushing ourselves off the wall and gliding on top of the water, and then finally, moving our arms and legs and trying to swim. My problem was that I would move my arms and move my legs, but not at the same time. When I came up for air, I forgot to breathe and kept holding my breath. Geo said I needed to relax and was thinking too much. After the half hour class, I was wiped.
Sure, it might sound like I was a total disaster on day one, but it was a total success story for me. I actually felt more calm than I expected I would. The water felt good. The goggles prevented the contacts from popping out. I could hold my breath okay (maybe too much!) It was scary but it wasn't too scary. It's possible that one day I will be able to do it. What a huge relief. Looking forward to next week!