Overcoming fear. Well, I donít fear a lot of things but I have this thing about waves. I think I get it from my mother. I have dreams about tsunamis. I really fear large crashing waves. It practically stops my heart. But Iím a stong swimmer. All my life I have felt comfortable in the water. The ocean isnít too different except that I donít feel confident in the breakers (the crashing waves). Out past those and I feel great.
Well, part of the trialthon in the fall is an open water swim. It doesnít worry me at all because itís a bay swim (and although it will be gross), I doubt Iíll actually have waves. However, if I want to continue doing tris, I need to get over this fear.
My college has an aquatics center. Iíve taken a sailing class with the Cute Boyfriend there and itís really great. This summer I signed up for surfing.
A fat girl surfing?
What the heck was I thinking?
I told everyone I knew that I was learning to surf because if I didnít, I knew I would chicken out. I talked myself out of it (and then back into it) several times this morning. I drove to the center. The class was about 20-25 very athletic young people. Most girls in bikinis.
The instructors were four young men. They were great guys. We went over safety drills, how to signal for help, difference between a shark fin and dolphin fin, etc. At one point, they were speaking and the teaching assistants went out into the waves to demonstrate. The waves started getting bigger and I was taking big gulps of air. I realized that I felt like I was going to burst into tears. Okay, clam down. Youíre just panicking.
As if on cue, one of the instructors said, ďItís your job to let us know when things weíre going to fast. If you need us to hold your hand from the sand to the first time you catch a wave, we will. We will literally walk with you hand in hand if you need it.Ē
I said, ďThat would be me. I need it. Iím a chicken.Ē The class laughed.
The instructor looked at me and said, ďYou will probably be the first person up on a board.Ē
Then, the ocean didnít seem so bad. He had confidence that I'd be able to do this, so why don't I have cofidence in me? I was going to be able to get out there. I was going to conquer my fears. It seems silly but sometimes it made me realize that I donít have to go at it alone and that made all the difference.
We didnít get into the water the first day. Next week begins actual water activities. I'll let you know how it goes.