The Joys of Swimming for the Terminally Weak

Well, it looks like I’ve caved for yet another year. 

At the start of every school year, our school holds their annual swimming carnival. Students are expected to participate for their house, provided they can 1. swim, and 2. make it to the end of the pool.

Every year, I cave into the teachers because I have such a problem with telling them ‘no’. And they really are quite insistant that I swim, because… well, I earn points for the house even though I lose every single time, and there’s barely anyone else in my house’s age group who will swim. I’m the Event Filler.

But I tried to get out of it, this year, and came out of the teacher’s office feeling as though I’d been steered around the subject of throwing in the towel. I believe I said something to myself like “Damn it, I caved!”, so angrily that a number of kids passing by stopped and stared at me.

Well, here I go. I can’t swim for scratch. Heck with it, I can’t even make the full 50 metres without stopping halfway, and this time, for the first time ever, I haven’t swam in an entire YEAR.

Pray for me.

But, here comes the main point. Why are figures of authority, (teachers in particular) so hard for me to say ‘no’ to? I haven’t a problem with saying no to my parents, but there’s something about teachers that screams “Obey!”. I suppose… in a way, I feel like I owe something to them. The same ones who teach me are the same ones who ask me to swim. That, and the feeling of letting down the team that I know I’ll get if I skip. And then there’ll be the disappointment from my teachers, and… oh, dear me.

If there’s one thing everyone needs to know in life, it’s how to say no. Even to figures of authority who can use persuasive techniques like knives.



  1. anassarhenisch said,

    February 9, 2010 at 3:54 pm

    I think it’s conditioning. We’re taught obedience to authority from a very young age. I also think it’s worse for introverts and/or people with lowish self-esteem because we’re too shy to speak up and tend to value other people’s opinions over ours. Also, we guilt easily. *sigh* I was exactly the same way in those kinds of situations. All it generally takes is a deep breath, a firm “no”, and a rational if slightly exaggerated argument why you shouldn’t be doing whatever.

    That said, good luck swimming. I sympathize.

    • kyuun said,

      February 10, 2010 at 8:01 am

      And this may come as a huge, massive surprise, but I’ve come home with a 3rd-place backstroke ribbon in a race of eight. Now I’m glad I was forced into it, but, oh my… *blinks disbelievingly*

      Anyways, I’m willing to bet it’s partly conditioning’s fault, too. At any rate, I don’t always value people’s opinions, although I probably do on a subconscious level. The guilt is a major thing. After feeling sufficiently shameful, usually I just give in and go with it all. A firm “no” would of course be wonderful, and it’s what I’ve tried to do in the past. Unfortunately, stage fright does appear to come in a number of forms, and this is one of them.

      • anassarhenisch said,

        February 10, 2010 at 7:13 pm

        *blinks* Woo yay! That is a massive surprise, but a good one. Way to go!

        Yeah, that darn subconscious… Keep practicing with “no”. It gets easier, and the guilt gets easier to handle too. :)

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