Today is the day.
I turned left instead of right when I walked out of the Ladies Locker Room at the YMCA. I headed for the North Pool that is nine feet deep, and not the South Pool that is five feet deep.
My friends on Facebook post daily updates about how many minutes they have run or walked or danced and how many calories they have burned. Today I will post as my status update on facebook, I spent 30 minutes swimming in the deep end. 48 years of fear burned.
I was hoping to swim in Lane one. I wanted the security of the edge of the pool. I wanted the side of the pool an arm’s length away as I swam over nine feet of water. Lane one was occupied. I almost walked back to the North Pool and five feet of water. I stayed. I chose to swim in Lane two. I did one length with the kick board, and then six laps doing the back stroke.
Why is today different from all the other days I wanted to swim in the deep end? Because today I decided I could do it. All the other days I doubted. I had practiced the front crawl in the south pool that was five feet deep. I practiced side breathing with the front crawl. I could do a length without standing up gasping for air.
I am participating in a 15 day writing challenge hosted by writer Jeff Goins, Fifteen Habits of Great Writers. In day two of the challenge he talked about the importance of believing you are a writer. He said, ” Take some time to dwell on the fact that you are a writer. Meditate on it; let it sink in. Write about it, if you want. Do whatever it takes. The important part is you believe it.”
I wrote on my facebook page, “I am a writer.” I wrote a blog post that said “I am a writer.” Before I participated in Goins challenge, I said, “I write.” I would never have said, “I am a writer.”
From the article I realized I also needed to say, “I am a swimmer.” I needed to believe that I could swim in the deep end. I felt fake when I walked into the north pool this morning. Little voices were whispering in my ear, ” You can’t do this. Go back to the pool that is five feet deep, faker.” I did not listen to the little voices of doubt. The belief that I could swim in the deep end was louder. “You can do this Pamela. You are prepared. Believe in yourself. ” I listened to the voice that was louder, and I knew that I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.
I stood on the narrow ledge at the end of the deep end. I could see the lifeguards feet through the jumping blocks as she sat on her chair guarding the pool. I stept off the edge and let myself sink. I wanted to see what it felt like to float in deep water. My body floated to the top after a few seconds. I had considered paying for private lessons to get over the fear of the deep end. Then I realized the problem wasn’t on the outside, the problem was inside me.
I held onto the edge of the pool, and put my head under the water. I could see the bottom of the pool with my prescription goggles. I could see the shallow end at the other end of the pool 25 meters away. My first length I wanted to move from the deep end to the shallow end. I pushed off from the edge of the pool. I put my head under the water and began to swim the front crawl. I swam in nine feet of water. I swam away from the dread and fear of the deep end of the pool. One length. I did it! Then I swam from the shallow end towards the deep end. I swam one more lap with confidence. No gasping for air. I swam. I am a swimmer.
This was the first time in my life that I had swum without the tight pain in my chest. The tight pain of fear. Fear was gone. believing in myself and fighting fear in five feet of water, had prepared me to swim in the deep end.
I just needed to believe.
Is there something in your life that you need to believe?