so i’ve always been afraid. filled with fear. sometimes afraid of big things that are real and most of the time tiny things that are an illusion of my subconscious. i think about all of these things all of the time. my big fears (like heights) and my small fears (like if i miss a workout somehow i won’t be able to finish imlp) all contribute to my psyche, which in turn lead me to action most of the time. for the past 3 years i have sought to overcome or at least meet my fears head on and make them not so significant. i have faced my fear of heights, which can be debilitating, through each summer climbing a telephone pole and jumping off and zip lining across a field at camp. it doesn’t seem like much, but it reminds me each year that i am way stronger than my mind. my small fears however make up most of life. these fears encompass most of my activities – i fear getting depressed again so i try my hardest at the smallest sign of depression to get outside, to move, to be social; i fear getting sick again so i avoid animal products and keep a close watch on any signs of pain; i fear letting people down so i try very hard to follow through with plans, to be the kind of friend i would want to have, and to do more than is asked. my brain is truly my biggest enemy. on the bright side, i am very self aware and no longer am crippled by the majority of my fears. the past 3 weeks i have been crippled by one.
i joined a swim group 2 summers ago at the urging of my coach. it’s monday mornings at 5 am – yes 5 am in the water ready to go. this workout is the HARDEST workout of my week, every week. the woman who coaches the workout is THE BEST swim coach i’ve ever had, and i’ve had a lot of great ones. she literally can read my body during the warm up and adjusts the intervals to kick my ass every week. and this scares me. it’s the only workout i can’t fake. i can’t cut out of. i can’t pretend to be injured or have a cramp. and most times there are other swimmers there that are insanely fast that are also pushing me. i sweat during this workout – in the pool, i’m actually aware of my body perspiring. and i fear this workout. as good as it is for me. as helpful in speed and technique, i fear it. sunday afternoon/evening around 4 my stomach starts to turn. i pack my bag and check my wallet for the $10 bill. and my stomach gets more and more nervous. i always have trouble sleeping on sunday. i worry i’ll miss the alarm or worse…i won’t miss it. the first alarm goes off at 4:05 and the 15 minutes until the next alarm goes off is the longest 15 minutes of my life. i lay there thinking of every possible excuse: i definitely need more sleep, i didn’t eat enough last night to justify this workout, i’ll swim later on, i can’t afford this workout, and on and on. it’s pathetic. and yet, it’s so real. and the past 3 weeks, i’ve succumbed to my minds’ ridiculousness. i turned the second alarm off and went back into bed. to lay there. guilt ridden and furious at myself for not getting out of bed and going.
so i asked for help. i knew this was getting ridiculousness and knew i needed to get up and swim. and as much as my mind is crazy…i also know how to manipulate it’s craziness. so i asked my friend to pretend to go and tell me that he was going. if i have this pretend expectation from an outside source to be somewhere, i’ll go. even if i know that it’s set up. it’s absolutely ridiculous. but it works. and i didn’t just ask one person. i asked two. they both weren’t going to be at the workout. so in essence, i could lie. but i don’t lie. especially about workouts.
and it worked.
this morning the first alarm went off. i laid there AGAIN coming up with excuses. and then the second alarm went off, and i got up and went and swam. and yes it was hard. so hard. intervals that worked me harder than i ever would any other time this week. and it was totally worth it.