Second Opinion

What are some (or one) of the things about which you usually don’t trust your own judgment, and need someone’s else’s confirmation?

I could easily (and sadly) answer this question in one word: everything. I second-guess myself with almost everything I do. When it comes to learning how to do things, I’m one of those people who needs hands-on experience first before letting me go off on my own. Though I like to think I’m an independent individual, without friends and family I’d be totally screwed.

I know I just talked about my job in the last post, but it’s still relevant, so bear with me. Starting out, I always thought that teaching swimming lessons at the YMCA was surprisingly easy, though I had only been teaching alongside more experienced instructors. That all changed the day I taught my first solo lesson, though. It was one of the trickier classes — pikes. These kids are mostly three-year-olds who will barely speak to you, let alone swim. 

Now, there’s something you must know about children in the water. There are seven major groups of kids: the screamers, the criers, the show-offs, the silent glarers, the giggly ones, the clingy ones, and the not-so-clingy ones. If you’re lucky, you get the giggly ones.

For my first solo class, I had no such luck. I had three screamers/criers, and three more kids I had to calm down, while simultaneously trying to teach them to float on their backs. No bueno. The entire time, I felt myself wanting that safety net of another instructor to fall back on, so they could tell me what to do. I hadn’t been around little kids that much before I started my job, so every time I went around trying to comfort a screamer or a crier, I would second-guess myself and just wish that someone else was there to tell me what to do.

Don’t get me wrong; eventually I learn how to handle things on my own and I teach kids just fine on my own now, but it took some time. I simply cannot dive into the unknown without the expectation that everything will be fine. Call me cautious or cowardly, but it’s how I’ve lived my life for as long as I can remember.

I wish I could be a natural leader, but the truth is I can only be an artificial one, made from practice and a full understanding of what I’m up against. It’s part of the reason I love to write so much; I have complete control of every situation in every story I write. The characters in my stories don’t need anyone’s approval but mine.


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