Fear is a terrible, terrible thing. I have learned this the hard way so many times.
I used to be terrified of people in general. The not knowing what they would say to me or if they would accept me or not killed me. I couldn’t bring myself past the fear of the unknown. It took me years to overcome this. At times, I’m still in the process.
I had a dream when I was in high school to move half way across the country and chase race cars. But I was scared. Too many unknowns. Too much to be afraid of. I let it stop me for 10 years. It seems so silly now. Now that I put that fear behind me.
I have this terrible fear of the water now. I have always hated to swim. I attributed it to the fact that I can’t stand the way that I look in a swimming suit, but it turns out that it’s more than that. I spent nearly an hour this morning putting my head in the water, without holding my nose, trying to convince myself that I wasn’t going to die.
You see, I have this overwhelming urge to inhale as soon as my head hits the water. That doesn’t work out very well. But I kept trying, kept doing what my instructor told me:
Kick your legs – Kicking…
Make cups with your hands – trying…
Three strokes and then breathe – 1… 2… 3… GASP…
Relax – Yeah right!!! Maybe if I wasn’t dying!!!
Like I said… fear is a terrible thing. It’s even worse when you can’t control it. I have no idea why I have this problem with water. I have never had a traumatic experience or anything that I can recall. I had all of the normal swimming lessons when I was young. But still, I can’t make my nose do what my head thinks it should.
So, I pushed on anyway, hoping that everything would somehow start working right. I kicked and pulled and tried to breathe. I inhaled some water… more than a little actually. But I didn’t die! And for me, that’s progress.
There was actually some progress. I swam (sort of) with my head in the water, which I never could do before. I have a lot to practice this week and a lot of determination to get me there.
Most of all, I don’t want to wake up one day when I am really old and say that I didn’t do something because I was afraid. It seems like the worst excuse in the world to me. I don’t want to be the person who was too scared to live there life. I would rather die trying than live a hundred years of nothing special.
So I encourage you to jump head first into what you have been too afraid to do as well! Why not? You only have one life. Don’t waste it. Get out there and live!!!