Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I Can't Swim. No...Seriously.

At the risk of becoming the biggest loser on the internet, it's sad confession time: I can't swim. Yes, I am a 21-year-old who would most likely drown if she were dropped into a lake of indeterminate depth. No, I am not proud of the fact that there are four-year-olds who can swim more proficiently than me.

As sad as this is, there is a perfectly good explanation as to why I have made it to the age of 21 without ever learning to swim properly. I can swim on my back. A little. But, like I said, if I were dropped in the middle of a lake, I'd most likely drown.

This problem all stems back to when I was about four years old, and my family lived in Florida. I don't remember a tremendous amount of my life there. I was born in Florida, we lived there for about a year or two, we moved to Michigan, then moved back to Florida after about a year.

I do remember making "lemonade."

It wasn't great. Don't make lemonade using water and yellow colored hand soap. Yellow and lemon-scented does not equal lemon flavored. I was maybe three. I didn't know. Now you do. You're welcome.

I remember having the Chicken Pox.

But mostly, if only because of the impact that still hangs on to this very day, I remember the pool.

There was a time I liked the pool. I would wade around in the shallow end with my dad, happily splashing around like most children do when introduced to water.

I would ride my Big Wheel around the pool, carefully avoiding the edge, but still feeling pretty dang cool.

So for a while, the pool and I were friends. 

This would not last.

One afternoon, my family hosted a get-together at our house. People from church came, friends were there, a good time was being had by all. Some of my friends and I decided we wanted to play with my wagon. One friend and I piled into it, while another, older friend, began pulling us around the pool.

It was going great. We were having a blast riding around the pool in that wagon. Suddenly, at the deep end...disaster struck.

One wheel slipped off the edge. What was once a carefree joyride around the pool had turned into a plummet into the deep end. Wagon and all.

Next thing I knew, I couldn't tell which way was up, and everything around me was blue.

All hope seemed lost. I was going to die, upside down (or something) in our swimming pool. I had resigned my little body to death, when next thing I knew, I was lying on the patio beside the pool gasping and choking for breath, flopping around like a fish, while several concerned adults stared down at me.

Turns out a couple of quick-acting teens at the party had jumped in and hauled my friend and I out before we inhaled too much chlorine water and died. My parents hauled me inside moments later, and I was relatively unscathed. At least physically. Mentally...well, that's why I still can't swim to this day.

That and some swimming lessons at the YMCA that traumatized me even further. Note to anyone who's reading and might be a swimming instructor: When you encounter a child who says they are not ready for you to dunk them under the water...don't dunk them under the water. They will panic and suck in a lungful of water. Especially if they've already got one near-drowning-experience under their belt.

Needless to say, I did not complete my YMCA swimming lessons, therefore, I still cannot swim.

Yes, it's lame. No, I do not like that I can't swim. Yes, I should take lessons. But that would involve getting in a pool. And putting my face in the water. And that leads to a panic attack.

I know I have a problem. And maybe someday I'll actually do something about it. For now, I'm good, thanks. Just don't invite me to your next pool party.


  1. Am I going to Hell for laughing at your near death experience? Love your illustrations =)


  2. Wow, this looks a lot like Hyperbole and a Half's blog!

  3. Whoa, that's a big confession Joanna ;). I can't imagine not being able to swim, but don't worry, you're not missing out. There is just something downright creepy swimming in a big body of water and not being able to see what's swimming around underneath you. Creepy, I tell you. Creepy!

  4. The part of the world where I belong, being a nonswimmer is considered no big deal. I am one of those who can claim, with great pride, to be a swimmer not forgetting the fact that I am still ridiculed and made fun of, by my brother who is aware of the fact that I can't swim underwater. I might save myself from drowning but scared by the thought of going underwater, how lame is that!!!

    I am pretty amuzed by my half learned swimming lessons which I left when I turned 12.

    Enjoyed the read. Thank you. :)

  5. Awwww. It's okay. I can swim, but I can't go underwater without pinching my nose, so I always end up looking like I am offended by the water I am in. Also, I swim a lot like an elderly, arthritic dog. So, I am not in a much better boat than you are. However, I CAN float. That was one thing I learned how to do pretty well. :D Very funny story, love the drawings! I feel like every post you do is even better than the last!

  6. @More-Haha, no, I don't think so. I wrote this hoping that people would laugh, so it's alright if you did. :)

    @Kate-If I could be half as funny, and a third the artist that Allie Brosh is, I would be a happy girl. She's far more talented than I am, but I'll take the comparison as a compliment, so thanks!

    @Optimist-Glad I'm not the only one who finds lakes creepy! :)

    @Hiral-You're welcome! Glad you enjoyed it. Thank YOU for reading!

    @Bio-Thanks so much! I like to think I'm getting better at figuring out exactly what I'm trying to do here, so I'm glad there does seem to be some improvement! :D

  7. I love the 3 drowning shots! Poor thing.....

  8. Hey Joanna! I just gave you the Versatile Blogger award, see my blog for details :)