Learning to swim

*Click, Click* my plastic kitten heels clack obtrusively on the hardwood floor as I attempt to sneak past my Grandma’s room to avoid alerting her of my waking and potentially reminding her that I had a swim lesson that morning.
There was nothing my six-year old self abhorred more than swim lessons, from interacting with children my own age to getting water up my nose. I had always been perceptive for my age, reading chapter books and catechizing my Catholic school teachers with questions like, “why can’t two girls get married?” but as far as socializing and trying new things, my six-year old self was at loss. I wasn’t yet ready to test the water.
My grandparents came to California in XXXX from Mexico with hardly anything. My grandfather was a factory worker in a mushroom plant and my grandmother worked at an inn. Naturally, it was exceptional when my Father was accepted into medical school, after paying his own way through college, simultaneously supporting my mother and I. The catch was that he was accepted on the east coast, uprooting my mother and I from our sunny San Jose, California to muggy Laurel Springs, New Jersey.
First day at my new school, and I was accordingly apprehensive, but despite my melancholy attitude and my difficulty deciphering the east coast accents, I was able to make my first friend that day. That weekend my new friend joined my family for a trip to the seashore and I chanced a dip in the ocean. Though I spent most of the time running from the waves, I was satisfied with my breakthrough. My mother however, was dissentient and to my affliction, soon signed me up for more swim lessons.
After my father finished medical school, it was unanimous that we move back to California. My entire world was uprooted to Gustine, California, at the heart of Central Valley. I became “the New Jersey girl” at my school and thrived in the western, small town culture. I joined 4-H, learned how to fish, and buried myself in every equine book I could find.
Even this however, was only temporary as my Dad accepted a new job in Santa Cruz, California. For once, I wasn’t perturbed about making new friends. By now I had a myriad of “personalities,” I was the country kid from the Central Valley, “the New Jersey girl,” the couturier from San Jose, and the environmentalist of Santa Cruz. I was malleable and rather than settle into one particular clique, I drifted, and made many friends of different backgrounds.
Moving so quickly and abruptly has revolutionized me for the better. Though by nature I can be reclusive, preferring to stick by what I know, by being exposed to new venues I’ve learned all people of all different cultures, backgrounds, and interests have something to offer. I’ve realized that in order to access this though, I have to let go of previous fears and bigotry and simply dive headfirst into the water.





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