Friday, June 20, 2014

Fear - the good and the bad




A year ago had you told me I'd swim in this lake I'd have laughed at you. With a life long fear of swimming in open water it's really not something I'd even consider.

Last night I swam from the shore to the cliffs of Thetis Lake (800 meters).

Now for some that seems no big deal. But you must have a fear of something? Spiders  or snakes perhaps? Imagine a 800 meter stretch of spiders and snakes, now walk through it with them touching you, climbing on you. Fun? No. 

Last nights swim started not too bad, swim 20 strokes or so, take a break, swim 30 strokes take another break, you get the idea. Soon enough we were at the cliffs. Smiles all around, it was hard but went fairly smooth.

We take a break, turn and head back to shore. Suddenly my brain takes over. It's really dark today, what's in there, is the shore really so far, what IS that, air I can't get air.

I stop several times, sputtering and trying to slow my heart rate, trying to get air. I look left and see the orange cap of Laura Lee (coach) quietly bobbing beside me. I look ahead and see another orange cap (Crystal another coach) and I see a couple green caps of my swim partners (Tanya and Nisha). My brain says scream, scream loud, get OUT of the water. But I still see that orange swim cap to my left just bobbing, there if I need her. I sputter and think "I'd give ANYTHING, anything for someone to come get me out of here right now" I just want it all to be over.

Look left quiet coach still bobbing waiting for me. Suddenly I realize no one can make this go away, the only way to get through this is to swim.

And I swim, trying to focus on my strokes and sighting the shore. Trying to swim for longer periods of time and counting my strokes, telling myself "just keep swimming".

Before I know it I'm back at shore! I did it! Feeling pretty shell shocked but we do high fives all around.

A few things come to mind, while fear is mentally exhausting it means something. It means you are DOING it, doing something that's a challenge. Doing something hard. When that fear finally leaves it means you accomplished it! The feeling of shell shock means you got through it, it may not have been pretty, hell at that moment it does not feel like an accomplishment at all, but it is. It's a big deal to get through something terrifying, not matter how you get through it.

Will I swim the lake again? Yes. 

Will I be afraid? It's likely.

Will I accomplish something? Yes, just showing up is an accomplishment.

Fear, it may not be pretty and it's definitely not fun but it means you are DOING something.