People that have followed me long enough know that I started out with an intense fear of the water and swimming. When I first started swimming laps, I swam to the edge of the deep end, then turned around and swam back. Then, I left a flutterboard beside the point where the pool goes deep. I'd swim to that point, then swim with the flutterboard the rest of the way. I'd put it down again when I reached the point where it got shallower.
I have basically conquered the pool fear. I don't think twice about swimming through the deep end anymore, and that was a big deal for me.
I've even mostly conquered the open water fear. This season, I stopped avoiding contact, and the starts involved a reasonable dose of bumping, jostling, and I even felt my head pushed down a couple times.
Today I was swimming (play swim, not training swim) with my kids, and my son wanted to jump off the starting blocks at the deep end. I climbed out of the pool, went to the end, and climbed onto the starting block next to the one Spud was on.
I looked down into the water.
Okay, I didn't exactly panic, but I did feel it rising up within me. I've jumped plenty of times from the edge of the pool, but that extra couple feet made it seem like so much more. I didn't jump. I got down and jumped from the edge of the pool instead.
I knew I was being ridiculous, so when Spud wanted to do it again, I came out, and climbed back onto that starting block.
And climbed back down and jumped from the edge.
Sometimes 5 year olds have a non existent attention span. Other times they will do the same thing over and over and over again. Today was one of the latter ones.
So, out of the pool, back to the starting block.
I've conquered a fear of swimming. Of deep water. What was holding me back from jumping off this stupid platform? Seriously. Feet first. No more then a couple extra feet.
I climbed back onto the platform. Counted to three,
And jumped. (then did it again over and over again.)
I may not ever completely conquer my fear of water. Maybe there will always be aspects of it that freak me out. However, I have learned that the fear doesn't need to stop me.
That is what matters.