To Swim Or Not To Swim? Part I

I cannot swim. It's something I've always wanted to learn, and so I decided to do something about it. Step one was a verbal declaration… wrong move!

I recall the first time I voiced this desire. Reaction to my news was varied. There was the typical raised eye-brows and other unreadable forms of body language. A sign of things to come…

The verbal responses yielded an array of interesting, mainly 2-word phrases, which I have translated for my readers. This was accompanied by interesting facial expressions and mixed voice tones.



"Swimming lessons?"

Now I wondered if the two words indicated a loss for words…

A look of utter confusion followed the words. Like, duh-uh, why so late in your life? Well, I wasn't aware of a specific time-frame to learn specific things – excuse me for being so stupid!

TRANSLATED: Are you feeling okay? 

(Am I feeling okay? I was just about to ask you the same thing…)



"That's nice."

Very cautiously. Bland facial expression.

Nice. Nice? Nice! Mrs. Smith, the kindergarten teacher who lives down the road, is nice. Tea, is nice. That yellow dress you are wearing, is nice. (Remember that TV advert? Comprehendo? Exactly!)

TRANSLATED: I'm not so sure but I hope it works out for you…  

(Read. My. Lips: So do I… so do I…)



"Why now?"

Smirk. In a nasty, you-were-always-a-dry-stick-sort-of-way.

Why not now? Answer me that.

TRANSLATED: Where were you when every teenager was going to the pool every summer?

I was at home, dudette. Reading up a storm. Preparing for the day I would write this blog that you are now reading (with such excitement, may I add… I can blog and swim, you can ONLY swim – so there! Eat your heart out Miss High-School-Freestyle-Champion-Swimmer!)


And so my lessons began. I was nervous at first (actually an understatement ). I was tense. AND traumatized. The idea of putting my head under water (and keeping it there), was terrifying!


                                        *          *          *          *          *

Tomorrow is International Be Positive Day. So I'm including my contribution in this post. For more info go HERE

So here are some positivity quotes. yesyesyes

In order to carry a positive action we must develop here a positive vision – Dalai Lama

You can't make positive choices for the rest of your life without an environment that makes those choices easy, natural, and enjoyable – Deepak Chopra

Progress lies not in enhancing what is, but in advancing toward what will be – Khalil Gibran

When you are enthusiastic about what you do, you feel this positive energy. It's very simple – Paulo Coelho

A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst and it sparks extraordinary results – Wade Boggs

Life loves to be taken by the lapel and told: "I'm with you kid. Let's go." – Maya Angelou

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared – Buddha

           So go on… spread some love & happiness!

                                Positivity Rocks!


  1. Alex J. Cavanaugh on May 20, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    Well, I'm going to be positive and say good for you! Hope dunking your heAD no longer scares you.

    • Michelle Wallace on May 22, 2013 at 1:53 pm

      It still scares me Alex! It's one of the most terrifying experiences…

  2. Jocelyn Rish on May 20, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    I guess I was lucky in that my mom put me in swimming lessons almost as soon as I could walk. I have a (rare) vivid childhood memory of paddling across a pool to get to jelly beans. Just floating in the water and chillin' is still my favorite thing to do during the summer. I hope your swimming lessons go well, so you can feel comfortable floating in the water and letting your mind float along, too. Best of luck!!

    • Michelle Wallace on May 22, 2013 at 1:55 pm

      Thanks Jocelyn. Floating looks like the coolest activity… *sighs*… even if I only make it to the floating stage, I'll be more than happy. Well, I think that's the only thing I'll probably learn to do. *sighs again*

  3. Alex J. Cavanaugh on May 20, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    Head – sorry, don't know what happened there…

  4. Emily R. King on May 20, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    Ha! Love your interpretations. 🙂

    My swim lessons were so much fun. It's one of the only lesson-type activity my parents did for me. I'm glad you're facing your fear. You won't regret it!

    • Michelle Wallace on May 22, 2013 at 1:56 pm

      I'm trying hard to face my fears and relax, but it's soooooo difficult! 🙂

  5. Bethie on May 20, 2013 at 11:55 pm

    Swimming is fun.  You're never too old to face challenges.  Like the positive quotes.  I'd almost forgot about tomorrow.  Thanks for the reminder!

    • Michelle Wallace on May 22, 2013 at 1:57 pm

      I suppose it is kinda fun when you are relaxed and confident. The kids make it look like such fun…

  6. TAMMY THERIAULT on May 21, 2013 at 5:35 am

    teaching my kids has been…difficult. trust me, it's easier as you're an adult because you can comprehend it better!! good luck. you will float one day girl…and face up!!

    • Michelle Wallace on May 22, 2013 at 1:59 pm

      Adults can comprehend it better, BUT have more inhibitions than kids! Kids have less fear than adults…  Floating one day? I really hope so Tammy!

  7. Medeia Sharif on May 21, 2013 at 8:32 am

    I never really mastered swimming. I was also reading, rather than swimming, as a kid. 

    • Michelle Wallace on May 22, 2013 at 2:01 pm

      I'm in the same boat as you! 🙂 I'm not really sorry though… there are lots of swimmers who will NEVER know the joys of reading…

  8. Hilary on May 21, 2013 at 9:18 am

    Hi Michelle .. thank goodness our parents 'pushed us' to do most things and I learnt to swim young .. I was never very good, but at least I could do it.  Good for you ..

    Interantional Be Positive Day has arrived, and despite the tornadoes we will be out there donating to the Red Cross and posting … 

    Looking forward to part 2 of the swimathon!  Cheers Hilary

    • Michelle Wallace on May 22, 2013 at 2:03 pm

      I love your "Swimathon" reference Hilary! *chuckles* because that's exactly what learning to swim feels like… a swimming marathon… sheesh! *shakes head*

  9. Elise Fallson on May 21, 2013 at 9:23 am

    Learning to swim is important and I'm so glad you decided to go through with it!  I can't wait to hear how your first lessons went. And think about all the new sensations you'll feel and emotions you'll go through, all of which you'll be able to incorporate into your writing. (: 



    • Michelle Wallace on May 22, 2013 at 2:04 pm

      I'm looking forward to AND dreading it at the same time! At times I think to myself, what are you doing?!

  10. mary aalgaard on May 21, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Good for you in facing your fears and learning something new. There is no age limit on when we can learn something new. Happy Positivity Day!

    • Michelle Wallace on May 22, 2013 at 2:05 pm

      Thanks for the encouragement Mary! I do believe that learning is a never-ending process, and that I'll be learning something new until the day I drop dead!

  11. J.L. Campbell on May 21, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    Yup, positive feels good!. You're not alone. I started swimming lessons in my teen years and never finished, so now all I can do is glide. It's so weird that a LOT of us who live on this island cannot swim!

    • Michelle Wallace on May 22, 2013 at 2:08 pm

      Joy, it seems like a trend. People who live near water cannot swim… I live practically "on the beach", but cannot swim! (Well, actually, only 5 minutes from the sea…) Really weird! And we have the best climate in the country, which is the hot & humid sub-tropical east coast climate! Imagine that?

  12. Dana on May 21, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    I can't swim either. I almost drowned when I was a kid, and now I'm terrified of the water. Best of luck to you. You inspire me. 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by for my blitz yesterday. It was so much fun! ☺

    • Michelle Wallace on May 22, 2013 at 2:10 pm

      A non-swimmer inspires you? Dana that is such a sweet thing to say? 🙂 Glad you had fun during the Blog Blitz! It WAS fun!

  13. DL Hammons on May 21, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    Good for you!  I consider that a way to foster personal growth…and develop a useful skill…all in one fell swoop! 🙂

    Also, I read your comment on my blog about volunteering for WRiTE CLUB.  Don't let wanting to participate deter you from helping out. Thats why I wanted 12 judges. 🙂


    • Michelle Wallace on May 22, 2013 at 2:12 pm

      Like a 2-for-the-price-of-1 kind of deal? 🙂 Thanks for filling me in on WRiTE CLUB DL…

  14. Sherry Ellis on May 21, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    Good for you for taking  swimming lessons!  Can't wait to hear how the rest of the story goes!

  15. Rachel Morgan on May 21, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    Well done for going through with swimming lessons! And even though the responses of Listeners 1,2 and 3 clearly annoyed you, it made for amusing reading! So thanks for that 🙂

    • Michelle Wallace on May 22, 2013 at 2:15 pm

      As a Durbanite, I'm sure you'll think it strange that a fellow Durbanite cannot swim? And we're right by the sea?! Glad that I could provide some light entertainment   🙂

  16. S.P.Bowers on May 21, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    I liked that quote by Buddha.  And I say good for you! the minute we stop trying new things we might as well stop living. 

    • Michelle Wallace on May 22, 2013 at 2:17 pm

      I so agree! Learning never ends. The "candle" quote is beautiful… and I also like the image it evokes… picture thousands of candles glowing in the dark… 🙂

  17. L. Diane Wolfe on May 21, 2013 at 6:30 pm

    I'm glad you're learning to swim. If we had a pool, I'd live there.

    • Michelle Wallace on May 22, 2013 at 2:18 pm

      Sounds like you're a "fish" L.Diane? Probably a great swimmer and very comfortable in water… you lucky ducky!

  18. Crystal Collier on May 21, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    LOL. People are funny. Don't be discouraged, lady. I'm rooting for you! (Says the local fish.)

    • Michelle Wallace on May 22, 2013 at 2:19 pm

      Thanks for the support, Crystal! So you're a fish? Wow… I always admire people who can swim well…

  19. Carol Kilgore on May 21, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    I am POSITIVE you learned to swim 🙂

  20. Sharon K Mayhew on May 21, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    I am so proud of you for pushing yourself to do something you are scared of.  We've had a boat for about 15 years.  I am terrified to jump off the back, but last summer I did it, twice.  Did I like it either time, no…but I did it.  I wanted to show my daughter that sometimes you have to push through your fears.


    You can do this!


    Thanks for joininig in on all the positive quotes.  🙂

    • Michelle Wallace on May 22, 2013 at 2:21 pm

      Thanks for sharing your experiences Sharon! 🙂 And thanks for creating the International Be Positive Day concept…

  21. Jemi Fraser on May 21, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    Positivity does indeed rock!

    My mom learned to swim a few years after I got married. She'd tried a few times and was terrified. She never learned to love it but she got over the bone deep terror. Hope you have fun with it!

    • Michelle Wallace on May 22, 2013 at 2:22 pm

      The worse thing is that bone deep terror! *shudders* I know all about it!

  22. Stina Lindenblatt on May 21, 2013 at 10:02 pm

    Positive rocks but so do your translations. I almost snorted my Diet Dr. Pepper because I was laughing while reading, which apparently wasn't a good idea.

    • Michelle Wallace on May 22, 2013 at 2:24 pm

      Good to know that you had a LOL moment…. thanks Stina! 🙂

  23. Suze on May 21, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    Michelle! How great is this?!


    Well, my two-word response to your new lessons is rock it!

  24. Michael Di Gesu on May 21, 2013 at 10:35 pm

    Good for you, Melissa. It's NEVER to late to take up a good challenge. I plan to spend this summer learning how to rollerblade. I was an iceskater DECADES AGO, so falling on arse on hard surfaces is a thing I do well. LOL. But since my dramatic weight lose, I have far less arse and padding. I guess I'll have to get some Depends to cushion the blow. LOL.

    MY point… it's NEVER TOO LATE. You"ll do great. Just remember we swam in our embrotic fluid for 9 months. It's very natural, so don't panic about it. Remeber you can always raise your head up. I know you'll do great!


    LOVE your quotes, especially the Daili Lama's and Buddha's …

    • Michelle Wallace on May 22, 2013 at 2:26 pm

      Michael, I swam in embryotic fluid over 40 years ago… I don't think my brain remembers… 🙂 But I'll give it my best shot!

  25. Robyn Campbell on May 22, 2013 at 1:52 am

    What a great post, pal. Wow. You had me positively in stitches. Love the quptes especially the one from Maya Angelou. You rocked bepositive day. Hugs and loves. Hmm. I have a pool. Come to NC and we'll swim a little and ride a lot. Mwah!

    • Michelle Wallace on May 22, 2013 at 2:28 pm

      Robyn, you mean that you will swim and I will probably play at the shallow end! LOL. Ride? As in horses? My hubby LOVES horses… he would be in his element!   🙂

  26. Lisa Gail Green on May 22, 2013 at 2:44 am

    I didn't learn to swim until I was an adult, and I taught myself little by little. Now I love it! And I've even gone snorkeling off of Maui. Definitely worth it. So here's my two cents – YOU CAN DO IT!!

    • Michelle Wallace on May 22, 2013 at 2:31 pm

      Lisa, thanks for the vote of confidence. I don't think that snorkelling is on the agenda anytime soon 🙂  Wonderful idea, though… *sighs* It looks so peaceful under that water… *sighs again* A girl can dream…?

  27. Celeste Holloway on May 22, 2013 at 5:56 am

    Buy some Mickey Mouse floaties to wear on your arms. That'll get you through the tough times. 😛

    • Michelle Wallace on May 22, 2013 at 2:32 pm

      Celeste, that is the best idea I've heard today! Back to basics!

  28. Cecilia on May 22, 2013 at 8:14 am

    I can't swim too. I have to admit I'm still on step one: Verbal declaration, and that is like for the last 10 years . For some reason, I am terribly scared of dunking my head under water- well other than when taking a shower..haha. Seriously. Totally love your interpretations. 🙂

    • Michelle Wallace on May 22, 2013 at 2:35 pm

      I think that the "head-under-the-water" part is the worst! It's a traumatic experience… 🙂

  29. Lynda R Young on May 22, 2013 at 8:15 am

    It's never too late! I think it's great!!

  30. Randi Lee on May 22, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    I actually didn't learn to swim until I was 12, and even though I can now I'm still afraid of water!! Love your interpretations, btw.


    Also, 3 Ups is a go! Your "Upee" is Beverly Fox over at


    No need to rush in giving your ups. Whenever you can is fine 🙂 And thanks for joining!!!

    • Michelle Wallace on May 22, 2013 at 4:15 pm

      Thanks Randi Lee! I'm excited about the 3-UPS hop! 🙂 I'll pop by my "Upee" shortly…

  31. Cherie Reich on May 22, 2013 at 7:13 pm

    I think learning to swim is awesome, no matter the age! 🙂

    • Michelle Wallace on May 23, 2013 at 12:48 pm

      Easier said than done Cherie… you have no idea… 🙂

  32. Beverly on May 22, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    I do think it's easier to learn to swim as a kid, simply because your brain isn't developed enough to tell you "you can't do this" yet.  But having learned karate as an adult and spending most of time with kids who not only have the flexibility of a rubber band but also learn things without that pesky voice in their head I have noticed a few advantages I have over them:

    1) I take it a lot more seriously.  I work harder to learn what I learn and be able to do what I do so it means a heck of a lot more to me when I get it.  When you are able to hold your head under water (which you will be) it'll have so much more personal significane to you because you had to work for it.

    2) I have a much deeper understanding of it they do.  They may be able to replicate the moves, but I understand the science behind it.  Your adult brain will pick up on things about how you move through the water that kids are totally oblivious to.

    3) Because I am full grown i don't have to worry about my balance shifting on me because i've gotten taller or gaine dmajor muscle mass whereas the kids learn how to do a move perfectly andd then have to re-learn it when they shoot up 3 inches and their balance is totally off.  I know there's no balancing in the water but I'm sure there's something to being a full grown adult that makes movement easier.

    Bottom line: it is NEVER too late to learn!  Way to go Michelle!

    • Michelle Wallace on May 23, 2013 at 12:53 pm

      With regards to your 3 points:  1.head under water – eeeeeeek! brain doesn't want to pick up on anything when the head has to go under the water! do need balance in the water, well, I seem to need it…? Thanks for the encouragement Bev! 🙂

  33. Susan Gourley on May 22, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    Good luck with the swimming. It's certainly easier to learn when you're young and fearless. I learned as a teenager and had so many fears. My children could all swim before they were three.

    • Michelle Wallace on May 23, 2013 at 12:54 pm

      Those are the key words – young and fearless! I'm neither young nor fearless! 🙂

  34. Nas on May 22, 2013 at 11:36 pm

    Yay! For taking positive action!

  35. Leslie Rose on May 23, 2013 at 4:32 am

    Swimming gives you a freedom you just can't equal on dry land. Hooray for you. Can't wait to hear more about your aquatic adventures. 

  36. Morgan Shamy on May 23, 2013 at 4:39 am

    Positivity does rock! And I loved this post, Michelle! I’m so proud of you!!!

  37. tara tyler on May 23, 2013 at 11:38 am

    i love your style & presentation!

    and thanks for brightening my day! you are always positive. you dont need a special day =)

  38. Michelle Wallace on May 23, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    Thank you Tara! I'm glad that I could be of service… 🙂

  39. Jen on May 23, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    I LOVE this post! Good for you, tackling something that frightens you. That is how you emerge victorious in life: taking risks and NOTHING is worth the risk unless it scares you…even just a little.

    Excited to hear the rest of the story 🙂


    • Michelle Wallace on May 23, 2013 at 3:57 pm

      This qualifies as major risk-taking… LOL It's positively daunting! 🙂

  40. Deanie Humphrys-Dunne on May 23, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    You're to be applauded for facing your fears and learning to swim! You can do it! The hardest thing is starting and it will become easier as you go along. Good job!

    • Michelle Wallace on May 25, 2013 at 7:23 am

      Thanks for your vote of confidence. I'm not too certain about the "becoming easier as you go along" part. LOL.

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