Facing Fear

Facing fear

It was 1978. I was nine years old. I was at a summer sailing camp on North Carolina’s shore called Camp Morehead. I was attending a sailing camp. I could not swim.

The sailboats had been pulled into the sandy shore here on the river inlet. They were lined and waiting for us to push them back into the river, and sail them back to camp. The half dozen ‘Scotty’ sail boats belonged to our camp, but we had a deal with the 4H camp so that everyone could sail: They rode a bus up in the morning, and sailed the Scotty’s down to their camp. We rode the bus down to their place in the afternoon and brought them back. It was a special thing to be able to do. My bunk mate, Roger and I got to tag along. We knew we were all going to race back to camp and the winners would be able to get a coke from the Tuck Shop. Roger and I devised a plan to sneak behind each of the other boats and flip their rudders up out of the water, delaying their start and giving us a jump. Roger and I held onto the boats and crept around to the stern flipping the rudders up one by one.

As we got to the last one, our plan was to be casual and just wade ashore slowly and quietly and no one would ever know the deviousness of our plan until it were too late! Our team mates would hoist us on their shoulders, chanting our names in victory all the way to the Tuck Shop and that sweet sparkling nectar would be all mine…

I felt the shore beneath my feet give way in that thick slow motion way sand moves under water. I reached out with my legs to find purchase but there was nothing there. My head bobbled under the first time and I felt my body sink deeper than I thought was possible, the ground was there just a second before. Panicking I tried to scream, but my mouth and nostrils filled with the murky muddy water. I can’t breathe. My head was up for a split second, gasping and trying to yell again, the water began to rush through my teeth. My arms were flailing trying to grab something, anything. Help! Suffocating…

“They can’t hear you when you are under the water.” The voice in my head was calm, soothing and mature. I listened to it and waited with whatever breath I could muster until the next bobble to the surface and then I screamed again. I remember seeing people turn, look, and that girl running toward me…

I was laying on my back, on the shore. I heard myself say “Help…” I threw up water. I was alive.

That was 32 years ago and every time I get into the water I feel that suffocating fear clawing at my soul. Dealing with my fear of the ocean and water in general, I had to suck it up, and take swimming lessons. I had to learn and get mad at it. It was not an easy thing to overcome. Today I swim miles and compete in triathlons. I jumped from a massive cliff face into the ocean, and dove off of bridges into rivers. Fear is irrational, primal and can be debilitating. Unless we face our fears, they can undermine us in other areas of our lives.

Facing our fears gives us strength and self worth. Know that you can face your fears. Know that you don’t have to live afraid. You are worth a life, self confident. You are worth the callous of expirence.

Camp Morehead, 1978

“Feel the fear. Do it anyway.” Jillian Michaels

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One Response to “Facing Fear”

  1. Okay, you didn’t read my blog from a few days ago. But this fits in and I needed to hear it. *thank you*

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