Saturday, September 21, 2013

Saturday Diving classes

I went for my afternoon platform diving class today. No, not scuba diving. Its the same one at the Olympics - you jump off a plank and do a dive. Most of my "classmates" are often pre-teen girls - who put me to shame with their aerobatics.

Well, what to do? I go mainly because of the strength of the coaching. Jenny Donnet, a 6 time Olympic participant, is our coach. Not enough praise can be given to her. She's just a brilliant coach. She takes you step by step on how to do the dives properly.

Why do I do it? From a young age I really admired the Olympic divers for their grace and angelic beauty of their sport. They jump off amazing heights and execute astounding maneuvers in the air before slipping into the water with barely a splash. Its so beautiful to watch. Superhuman efforts.

But I couldn't do it. I was fearful of heights. I was clumsy. And the ridicule fucked me up. One of my most painful embarrassing moments in my life came when I was about 14 - and forced to do a dive off the lifeguard platform in full view of most of my classmates and the rest of the other public spectators. The platform was about 5 to 6m up- I just couldn't do it. Everyone was jeering at me. The teacher did what they could to teach me how to do it - which was like a swan teaching a chicken how to fly. Eventually the lifeguard or teacher kicked my ass into the water. Everyone had a good laugh including the teachers. I wish I had died.

I've been conscious about my clumsiness and ineptitude. I sometimes learn very painfully slow. But I don't have to stay that way. And so I line up with little girls aged from 7 years old up and jump off a platform into the swimming pool.

The progress is slow. But I'm making progress. I managed to actually do a proper leap off the platform and do a dive apparently perfectly today.

I think it does wonders for your self-esteem, your brain, when you learn a fantastic skill that has eluded you for years. You really feel great, younger, and something positive inside you changes.

Some other things that I want to do:

Learn and be fluent in more languages besides English. I think learning a new language opens your world up to another. Acquire another language. Learn another culture. Be a different person.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go to another country, change your name, your identity, and be someone else. I'm not talking about becoming dishonest and being untrue to yourself. But I think sometimes certain core traits that we have are tied to geography, to location, to place. Go to a different land, speak another language, be with different people, (abandon bad friends and bad hang ups from the past), and wow, you're living a different life. You've become a new person.

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