Tuesday, January 8, 2013


You probably cant tell.
In this picture I am terrified.
 That kind of fear that makes you want to hide under the warm covers and wait until your pounding heart slows. The fear that cripples your limbs and gives you tunnel vision.
For real.
I always knew that were things that I am afraid of.
Alligators especially. Did you know that they eat people?
I am often mistaken for a people, so yes, alligators frighten me.
Its water.
I am astonishingly Aquaphobic. 
Not to be confused with Hydrophobia, which is also the fear of Rabies. 
I have plenty of reasons for this. 
All of them and none of them really explain the rigid limbs and the hyperventilation when I even smell a swimming pool.
Its quite ridiculous.
I remember my first open water triathlon. I was giving myself the "talk" all the way up to the edge of the lake. All sorts of positive and uplifting things. 
I could only see a tiny hole directly in front of me, I felt like I was breathing through a coffee stir stick, my arms and chest were cramping and my ears were ringing so loud that I thought (hoped) I was being abducted by aliens.
That was before I even got my toes wet.
The start of the swim in any race is madness. Chaos and frantic activity. Bobbing brightly colored noggins and the slick seal skinned wet-suits brushing past your grasping hands and flailing feet. 
Its shallow at first.
I could see the bottom 5-7 feet below me. 
Stroke-stroke-stroke-breathe. Panicked gasping breath.
I was controlling it. Then I swam over the ledge. 5 feet to 30 feet in a split second.
I felt my heart shudder. Frail organ.
I felt my mind grind to a halt, breath stopped in my lungs. I forgot how to swim. Instantly I forgot.
I sank. 
Like a rock.
Then I was on the surface, on my back. Breathing.
That swim took forever. Cost me hours of my life.
I was in the water a really asinine amount of time.
Hyperventilating will slow you down on the swim.
Ah the lessons we learn.
But do we?
I don't.
I went spearfishing this year.
Its just like hunting. 
With a spear.
Except to get to the fishies you have to hold your breath and dive down under the freaking water. 
As deep as you can go.
As always for me. That first dive.
My heart seizes up, an engine without oil.
The biggest part of my brain fights me constantly in the water. Most of the rest of my mind is busy imagining drowning. Monsters of the deep. 
I do it anyway.
The part of me that's me.
Does it anyway.
Don't be afraid.


Warren said...

Inspiring. Thanks.

The Tom said...

@Warren, Thank you. Tin Roof is a pretty good book :)