My awkwardness at swimming awakened me to something I had not realized before, something blatantly obvious yet hiding in plain sight. I really can’t swim, my limbs not coordinating, my movement either too much or not enough, my eyes not opening in water, my body more prone to sinking. I’m just too awkward to swim.
I like to watch swim competitions on ESPN. Also track and field, and tennis are my favorite. I can’t do it, but I admire people who can and dream of having the same agility and strength myself.
One day it suddenly came to me that it is not swimming I am awkward at, but almost every sport and every activity involving bodily exertions. I’m just no good, a direct contrast to my mom, who used to be the star athlete in the university she graduated and worked for years after graduation. She can run, swim, and jump. Her favorite sport is high jump and she held the record for that university for the ten years after her graduation. Being her daughter, I’m a complete opposite. She’s outgoing, but I’m quiet and thoughtful; she’s athletic, I effeminate (I use this word only because I can’t remember the word for ‘lack of strength’); she’s pretty, I plain. Even if when we like the same thing, we like it differently. She likes to watch plays or any performance, but I’m more into reading scripts and reviews. I think she’s disappointed in me that I have none of her attributes. Even my interest in books and my perfect school grades couldn’t compensate for my deficiencies, especially my lack of beauty. So that day I finally realized that I am a completely different person from my mom. There’s no point I should try to live up, to follow, to emulate. It won’t work. We are as different as night and day. Then an acquaintance of my mom came to visit us. I had met this lady before but she didn’t know I’m my mom’s daughter and I didn’t know she knew my mom. When she saw me she said something like she couldn’t believe that I’m my mom’s daughter. I understood that whenever people say things like that they mean my mom’s beauty hasn’t passed on to me. I was usually mortified by such a statement, but that day I didn’t. I didn’t say it but I felt relieved that I wouldn’t be as vain as my mom and her friends.