“You must really love swimming,” one of my colleagues noted when I told her I’d been kayaking and splashing in the surf on the weekend.
“Yes!” I replied. Then I paused, a little startled by my answer, and added, “Actually, I can’t swim. I’ve always hated the water … until lately.”
Two years ago, I wrote about my antipathy for all things aquatic, in a post called “Not drowning, cheering”. It kicked off with an anecdote about a boyfriend who sent me a bouquet with a card that said: “For a Piscean who doesn’t like water … some flowers to put in it”?
Then I noted:
I don’t like drinking it and I’m not keen on swimming in it, which is odd for a fish.
About the only time you’ll tempt me into the stuff is if the water temp is around 30 degrees. Or the outside temp is around 35.
My parents spent thousands of dollars on swimming lessons throughout my childhood to no avail. It was considered a triumph when I was finally taught to dog paddle 5 metres.
I developed a stomach ache (of sheer terror) at every school swimming carnival I attended and successfully begged my mum to take me home before my age race.
And not much changed in the 30 years that followed. Until I had to decide whether to sink or swim after my marriage break-up.
I chose to swim.
A former colleague made a comment on the Instagram shot of my weekend kayaking expedition that it must have been freezing.
I told her: “No wind, so not too bad, but then I went for a swim in the surf at Palm Beach … THAT was pretty chilly … Who AM I?”
She replied: “I have to agree Alana – who the hell are you???”
Who. The. Hell. Am. I?
It’s so crazily out of character that I’ll often start giggling uncontrollably when I’m in the water. I had a giggle in the middle of Pittwater too, as I paddled my way back to Palm Beach.
Me. Alana. Kayaking.
I am having so much fun doing outdoorsy stuff with DD. Why was I so resistant to that stuff before I met him?
I sometimes trawl through my Instagram photographs and marvel at the wonders they contains. So many special moments. So much joy.
There’s been sadness too. It often creeps around the edges of my fun searching for chinks to invade. But I’m determined to win my battle with the red dog.
A dear friend who’s been worried about me asked how I was doing yesterday. I automatically replied that I was fine … it’s what people want to hear … then realised (with relief) that it was true, not just a brave face.
It felt glorious.
Song of the day: Three Dog Night “Joy to the world”