Do you ever not do something because you're afraid of embarrassing yourself, even in front of people you don't know?
I usually go swimming two to three times a week at the Oak Point Center in Plano, TX. They have a very nice indoor pool. Membership for Plano residents is ONLY $65 a year!! I fall into that category living in Richardson because my neighborhood feeds into Plano schools. Outside residents are only about $125 a year or something like that, so it still beats the heck out of a gym membership.
Anyway, I digress... When I first started going there a couple of years ago, I tried doing the butterfly stroke, but I hadn't done it in years, so I felt embarrassed. Instead of practicing it to get it better so I wouldn't be embarrassed, I just never tried it again... until Monday.
Monday morning, for some reason, I felt like I could give it another shot. I was swimming as usual, and about 20 minutes into my swim, I kicked off the wall and just started doing the butterfly. I did 3 strokes of it, and casually went into the breast stroke, hoping no one noticed what I had done, as I'm sure it looked bad. I mean, look at this picture! Mouth is wide open every time you come up for a breath, and arms are waling out to the side and tons of water just splashing around. It's definitely not a dainty swimming stroke.
I continued down, and did my next lap freestyle again. When I got to the other end, I kicked off the wall, and for some reason, I went into the butterfly again. This time, I made it just past the halfway point before I went into the breast stroke. Man, I had to look silly.
Again, I'm down the pool, kickoff the wall and go into the butterfly stroke. This time, even though I felt I looked really silly, I didn't stop. I made it all the way to the end, feeling more confident with each stroke. When I got to the wall and came up for air, this huge tidal wave came up over me, and I made sure I didn't make eye contact with anyone, and quickly went into another lap as if "I meant for that to happen."
I kept swimming and thinking about that butterfly stroke. I realized that by that third lap, it felt like I was doing it properly and people probably weren't looking at me anyway as they were swimming their own laps. We all know how little the lifeguards actually watch the water as they daydream about other things.
The moral of the story, don't hesitate to learn something new, or relearn something, just because you're embarrassed about what you might look like to other people. My muscles felt great the next day, and I could tell my body got a workout it wasn't used to, and that's a good thing. I'll be working on the butterfly much more often in the future!