Success. Photograph: Maggie West for the Guardian
For many children in nearby neighborhoods like Watts or Compton, the idea of paying for swimming lessons is something akin to a fantasy a rite of passage for other people , not you. Youll be told that its your fault, your body defect for being too black to float. Its not your hair or your bones. Its something far more insidious. Its a system to build you feel inferior economically and emotionally.
After my lesson, I realized that I never learned to swim because I didnt believe I deserved to. The fear of not being good enough overpowered my dread of drowning. Whats the phase of moping about for the rest of my life as though I cant do something? I should be grateful that I have the time and the resources to even do this, when so many people dont. When I came home, my spouse asked me if I learned how to swim. Not yet, I told her. But at least Im trying, which is a good start.