There is a bowl of chocolate chips beside me as I type. No judging people. I am dealing with cramps, bloat, aches, and swollen feet. I need this chocolate. Need. I am also on the last day of my holidays. I go back to work tomorrow.
It has been an eventful holiday. Lots of wonderful experiences (running 10k, new shoes, lots of time with my family and friends, a great Christmas…). But, yesterday I started something that has completely changed me up here *taps forehead*. I am not the same person I was yesterday before 4:30 pm. I mean that, in every dramatic way possible. Why? Go read this first, then come back. I’ll wait.
OK. Done? Good. Well, here is why today I am no longer that girl.
I sat on the bottom of a shallow pool yesterday, my head completely submerged, blowing air out my nose, and I did not panic. I put my face in the water, did a front starfish float and I did not panic. I swam across the flippin’ pool with my face in the water and I DID NOT PANIC!
I know! Crazy! Amazing! Kind of shocking, to be honest…
I started adult swimming lessons yesterday. Yes, beginner adult swim lessons. They have those, which I discovered in December, and I signed my land-lubbing butt up for Swim Basics 1 as soon as there was room on the card to do so. I was so shaken when I bonked the submit button, I had to take a few moments with my head between my knees to deep breathe. This was scarier to me than any Tough Mudder obstacle, which seems a tad backwards to most folks. Being able to jump into water, dunk myself, or even swim with my face in the water has been a deep, well-rooted fear since I was a little girl, so mountains, tunnels, and mud are way less scary than doing bobs, clinging to the edge of the pool with a death grip. Heh. Yeah…
So getting back to sitting on the bottom of the pool. I have a goal in mind, which is why I was there. I have to be able to get comfortable enough with water so I can do Tough Mudder. This is the motivation. The benefits are being able to play in the pool with my kids, being more confident around water, and conquering a fear that some people have laughed at me for, others have teased me, and others have attempted to rid me of by picking me up and throwing me into water while I struggled like a caught ferret and screamed like Medusa. (Yes, that happened. It was scary and mortifying when the lifeguard had to rescue me in waist deep water, the lifeguard laughing at my sad terrified self while I shook and cried afterwards. Yeah, total awesome super-duper fun times.)
Maybe having the goal has helped me to push past the shaking, panicked feeling. Maybe this past year of working hard on my running has re-opened some lost confidence I had, letting me be a better “pusher” of myself. Maybe it is finally time, now that I have kids, to nut the %*#$ up and just get it done so I can stop being the proverbial wet blanket whenever we go to the beach/pool/fun time place.
It could also have been my lesson mates (and the hunky instructor) all watching me, waiting for me to do my dunk, and my fear of failure and non-acceptance kicking in for a positive result. Who knows.
Whatever it was, I’ll take it.
I dunked my big chicken self, and waited for the tight chest and fear to grip me while I clawed back to the surface like a caged mountain lion. When I stood there, pushing my hair out of my face, water dripping everywhere, it didn’t happen. I blinked, feeling kind of lost, expecting sensations to take over my body that were completely absent, tensing, waiting for the racing heart and need to flee. As everyone else awkwardly bobbed up and down, I rippled my hands through the water, watching the crystal clear water swirl in front of me, absorbing this new fact. I had done it, in the first lesson, with the first bob. I was calm, I was collected, I was not shaking like Paris Hilton’s purse dog. My instructor came over, and looked right into my eyes, asked me if I was OK and I said “Well, yes, surprisingly, I am!” which made him smile.
Oh dear. It was then I decided these lessons are going to be a pleasure to attend. *fans self* This will help. I am a sucker for a nice smile and a well-formed bicep.
After another moment of pause to get my bearings with this new reality, I dove into the lesson (yes, pun intended), the chain of that fear completely gone. It was freeing. I can’t really describe it any other way. I challenged myself, and when our instructor asked us to sit on the bottom of the pool and practice breathing out our nose, I did not hesitate.
I have never sat on the bottom of a pool, on purpose, before. Holy &%$#.
My breathing needs a a whole heckuva lotta work. That is kind of a Duh since well, I’ve never tried to breathe under water before. Normally, it is a hold-my-breath-because-I-don’t-want-to-be-here panic response. So that will take some work. I’m also quite sure I will need some hands-on help in getting my float straight *wink-nudge*.
But yesterday was huge. Yesterday was an accomplishment I will always reference in my head when I need some reassurance that I can do something.
And now, onto conquering jumping in!