It’s been a rocky couple of weeks with one thing or another and if I didn’t know the truth already I’m now firmly of the opinion that I’m an awful ill person.
I’m sure we all have our moments – and that being sick suits no-one – but I feel being ‘benched’ way more acutely than I ever used to.
Especially when it’s a silly little part of my body (inner ear) causing all the problems.
Status update – I still feel ‘odd’.
That’s the best I can do to give this illness a voice. For most of the time it’s just a vague floaty feeling coupled with a mild earache and a sense that I may or may not feel a little sick.
Honestly if I was still a regular drinker this would have been lost in the routine of my daily hangovers (otherwise known as life back then) and I probably wouldn’t have even noticed.
The only reason I keep picking up on this issue is that I’m usually on such good form – and I really notice when I’m even a little off nowadays.
It’s slowed me down this week – but thankfully I’m the human equivalent of a rubber band these days – and if I miss exercise one day or don’t feel like I’ve done enough during the week then I end up jumping into it with gusto as soon as I can.
Part of me says I should love lying in bed, watching Netflix or playing video games – especially with such a good excuse.
I hate it though.
These passtimes were such a huge feature of my existence not so long ago (and represent all that was wrong with my approach to life) that I can’t bring myself to do them for any length of time unless I absolutely have no other choice.
So – I needed to make up for a couple of days where I barely walked a couple of miles.
But how to compensate for not doing enough?
Well – maybe the best way is doing something new and facing up to a long held fear.
Today, after a lengthy morning walk around the park, for the first time since 1998 I went swimming.
I only went and ****ing did it!
The truth about fears are that they’re always bigger in your head than they are in reality.
The horror of one day having to confront this has been growing and growing in my mind like a virus ever since I realised I could no longer physically or mentally face swimming.
I have been envisaging the absolute worst outcome for so long that it was next to impossible to approach it rationally.
I’ve had a few ‘standing on a ledge’ conversations with some of my friends about my self image related to this over the last few weeks.
The world didn’t end.
No-one stared at me.
Everyone was perfectly nice – and a couple of them even made pleasant conversation with me when I paused at the ends of the pool to catch my breath.
The whole thing was completely uneventful – and that is flipping awesome!!!!
All I wanted was to be invisible – and I actually think I was.
I am very glad indeed that I bought some good trunks because they were absolutely excellent.
My new Speedos are flexible and supportive in all the right places and grippy enough to stay in place.
They never once rolled either up or down at the top or bottom, and when I climbed out of the pool there was no crack of doom to horrify the poor ladies behind me.
I’ll go so far as to say I felt damn good in them.
I’m not just saying that to overcompensate for negative feelings either.
I felt like I fitted in with the other pool users. I didn’t seem to be any larger or smaller than anyone around me – which is another massive step towards me re-aligning my skewed mental perspective of myself and how people view me.
Furthermore I fit perfectly into large skin tight Speedos.
I can also easily climb up and down the steps into the pool.
Hell – now I fit into the world.
Wether it’s wet or dry.
This might not be a surprise to those that look at me – particularly in my MOTY photos – and logically I knew this already but my inner child didn’t.
He’s still bullied, small and vulnerable.
He lives in fear of being picked on and needs to be led by the hand and shown that’s it’s ok to stand up tall in front of people.
Regular readers may remember I’ve done something like this before.
This is the same as me getting into every small car I could find in Warwick and Leamington (link) and proving to myself that I could get all of their seatbelts on.
Even though my logical mind knew that I could my child mind would have nothing to do with the concept.
Only by physically confronting irrational fears like this do I prove to him that there’s no need to be afraid.
So I swam.
I did it slowly and methodically, and it tired my (clearly weaker than they should be) arms out.
I need more practice and I need to get better.
So I bought myself a rolling swimming pool membership – and I’m going to improve.
This is where I start.
I’d also done two lengths before I started my watch’s workout – so I actually swam 550 metres (22 lengths of the pool) on my first attempt in two decades.
I needed a break between each one to rest my arms – but I felt good!!!
So – here’s to conquering fear and getting on with living the fullest life humanly possible.
If I can do it then anyone can.
Fear is the only thing stopping you.