In thinking about what to share in this blog post, I felt it best to start giving an insight into what Fish Out Of Water is about. So rather than reinventing the wheel, here is the prologue to my book...
For as long as I can remember, writing a book has been front and center of my bucket list. Something I had a desperate desire to accomplish but with not one iota of experience, knowledge, or know-how in the complex world of literature. English was always graded well throughout my schooling years, but was my least favorite subject by a country mile. My passion fell with mathematics, physics, and health, where logic, facts, and numbers spoke the truth so clearly. I never felt as comfortable in the realm of subjective grading where fantasy, imagination, and creativity filled the assessments; give me algebra, Newton’s Laws and equations any day!
Trying to understand where the urge to write a book came from was a challenge, but knowing how much I struggled to communicate true thoughts and feelings through spoken words made sense of it pretty quick. So writing a book it was, but what on earth do I write about, and how does one even go about doing that? There are endless autobiographies lining the shelves of bookstores and whatever it was going to be, the one thing I knew for certain was that it would absolutely be non-fiction.
I never gained a profile big enough in swimming to warrant any real interest being had in a book about my sporting life story. And while I achieved greatness following the black line, it wasn’t enough in my eyes to hold the attention of a general reader for a whole book. However I have experienced a lot of things in my life outside of the pool, and something I am very passionate about is the issue of transition - so I had found the subject matter of my book!
While the first part of Fish Out Of Water is my personal journey through life, you will find it very different to a standard autobiography. You may read parts of it and find yourself having questions and wanting to know more, but what’s important to realise is this story’s focus is on transition and not on Jade Edmistone. There are things in my life that are key to understanding the true picture of my experience and that is why they are included in these pages.
Over the years following my retirement through conversations with fellow athletes, it became evident that I was not alone in my struggles with transition, and there were so many commonalities I shared amongst my friends. We were all going through so many of the same difficulties, and talking about them over coffee and sharing a laugh or two was quite comforting. Just knowing I wasn’t alone with things I was feeling made a huge difference in being OK. So when I knew I wanted to write a book about my transition, I also knew I wanted to share other stories at the same time.
Over the years I have seen many a story hit the headlines with athletes ‘behaving badly’. Not excusing poor choices by any means, I am certain that a lot of what I have seen can be attributed to the issue of transition and more often than not these stories feature male athletes. Being a woman myself, I felt this book was an opportunity to give voice to the females of the swimming world. There are many experiences that are specific to women with pregnancy, childbirth and becoming a mother, and these deserve to be emphasised in their own right. In saying that, I believe there are many messages within these pages that are relatable to many demographics, both male and female, and in reading the words you will find yourself reflecting on your own life experiences – athlete or not.
The athletes I have included were purposely chosen in order to highlight some key points in relation to the issue:
Transition is not isolated to those that receive a high profile;
Transition is not isolated to those that achieve the penultimate in individual Olympic gold;
Transition is not isolated to those that spend a certain number of years on the Australian team;
Transition is not isolated to those that retire while young;
Transition is not isolated to those that do not plan for their retirement; and
Transition is not isolated to those that are forced to retire through illness or injury.
One important message I hope is highlighted through this book is that transition is a real issue, it can be a serious issue and it does affect ALL athletes to varying degrees. It is not about how much or how little you achieve in the sport, but rather how much time and energy you commit in trying to achieve. There is nothing that can be done to avoid going through it, but education and awareness of what it is and how to support it can go a long way in making ones experience more pleasant.
Please enjoy your experience in reading Fish Out Of Water!