“50m? In one go? I can’t do that…I ca…
Stop it. Breathe. You have done 2 laps in a row before, this is the same.
It’s cold, there are waves, other people can see. I can’t.
You can, you will and Jack is right there, he can see you, he can help you.
I can’t do it but I will. I will try.”
You know what, I did it. I can and I did and it was amazing. It was scary. I won’t lie about that. I have PTSD about the open ocean, this wasn’t even the open ocean but it looked like it and it smelled like it and felt like it so my brain went right there to that day when I almost drowned, when I had accepted that I would and when I almost lost my friends.
Dipping my head in that water took my breath away. The first lap I swam was breaststroke. I swam like the scared person that I was. Head out the water, frantic kicks and strokes. I was so desperate to get to the other side that I kicked my hamstring into a spasm. I had to fight the cold of the water and the fear in my head and push.
Push through the tiny waves in the pool. Push past my comfort zone. Push away the naysaying voices in my head.
The next lap was easier, I had done it already and I could do it again, I did do it again and the voices in my head were blown out with the bubbles as I focussed on my technique, clearing my head, leaving no space for anything other than “1,2,3..breathe. Kick, keep your hips up, kick, 2, 3”
Before I knew it I had done 1 more, 2 more, 4 more. I was exhausted, I was spent, I was ecstatic, energised, greater than I was when I entered the water. Greater than I was the day before. My experience may seem trivial to someone who swims to Robben Island and back but for me it was a major event, a breaking of a wall I had built in my head.
So if you are facing a wall of your own making, built from fear and uncertainty. Punch a whole in it, even it takes you approximately 4 billion years.