I’m a little sad the Olympics are over. And not just because of all the hot and nearly naked bodies spread all over the television and internet during the live coverage. What I also love is the rise of aggression-free national pride when people cheer for their country’s teams but also for their fellow citizens regardless of the color of their skin, their gender, or sexuality. It’s a beautiful thing to see. Because of this, more than anything, I enjoyed the games while they happened and am already getting excited about summer 2020 in Tokyo.
One thing watching the Olympics encouraged me to do was get back to one of my favorite forms of exercise – swimming. The Ryan Lochte debacle aside, the swimmers in Rio were absolutely incredible: Michael Phelps, the most decorated Olympian of all time. Simone Manuel and her record breaking, historical achievement as the first Black American woman to win gold in swimming. Her victory and the awed look on her face made me want to jump off the couch and slide back in the pool.
The pool however, hasn’t always been a place where I was comfortable. Even though I grew up in Jamaica, the home of some of the most beautiful beaches and clearest sea water in the world, I didn’t learn how to swim until I was in my early thirties and living in America. Before then, I’d always loved the water and fantasized about being able to swim, sometimes even pretending I knew how by holding on to the edge of the pool while floating at the shallow end and watching with envy the swimmers showing off for each other in the deep.
But at a certain point, pretending wasn’t enough anymore. That point came after I was diagnosed with, and recovered from, cancer. While I was sick, I couldn’t stop thinking about my life’s regrets, the things I’d wanted to accomplish but had been afraid to pursue. Once I was on my feet again and had my energy back, learning how to swim seemed both the most immediately realistic and hardest thing for me to do.
|Rihanna enjoying her yacht life.|
Since learning to swim, I’ve jumped off boats and into deep oceans. I’ve taken a long sail on a small boat in Europe, had fantasies about yachting Rihanna-style through the Caribbean. And I’ve always been grateful to myself for taking that terrifying first step into the pool during summer of 2009 when I took my first lesson. It seems like such a simple thing, but my life’s pleasures have multiplied exponentially since I’ve become comfortable in the water. And while one of the side benefits to being fearlessly poolside is getting to watch gorgeous bodies become even more beautiful in the sun, my own accomplishment as a newly minted water baby is the most important. It makes me feel as strong as an Olympian.
Jamaican-born Lindsay Evans currently lives and writes in Atlanta, GA. A writer of sensual love stories and decadent erotica, she loves good food and romance and would happily travel to the ends of the earth for both. Find out more at www.LindsayEvansWrites.com.