My former swim coach, Richard Quick, used to walk on the pool deck every day and talk to me and my team about getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. I’m sure I rolled my eyes because, at the time, that just meant being able to hold our breath underwater for long periods of time, trying to delay the natural instincts of survival. On his command, we would exhale all of the air in our lungs and sink to the bottom of the pool, trying to remain calm and relaxed.
I hated it. Why in the world would I ever want to be that uncomfortable with something I was choosing to do? Even though I knew nothing bad would happen to me, I was scared. I thought it was all about swimming and lung capacity—but in reality, it meant so much more than that.
“I don’t ever want to let you down. I don’t ever want to leave this town.”
I spent so many years living in that survival mode, doing only what I had to in order to get by. I didn’t speak up in class for fear of having the wrong answer. I studied minimally because then a poor grade would be expected, and I wouldn’t have to be upset about it. I never went out of my way to meet new people in case they’d think I was weird. I lived a life that was comfortable to me. But while I was just going through the motions, I realized I wasn’t living each day the way I could.
“And now it’s time to build from the bottom of the pit, right to the top. Don’t hold back.”
I felt trapped in mediocrity, even if it didn’t look that way on the outside. My friends were off getting prestigious academic scholarships and accomplishing things they truly wanted while I sat idle by. Those barriers were tough to break, but with the help of those around me, I began to really believe there’s nothing wrong in taking chances and having a little faith. When things work out, it’s great. But when they don’t, it’s not because I didn’t do everything I could.
There’s air outside my comfort zone.
“I’m just the same as I was. Now don’t you understand, I’m never changing who I am.”
You, not your surroundings or circumstances, control who you are. That inner strength is something no one can take away from you.
With that truth, I’m leaving to pursue a dream, one I might not have believed could ever be a reality until recently. I’m moving to a different country, away from family, friends, and just about everything I’ve ever known. Through hard work and a lot of faith, I now have the honor to share and give back all that my sport has given me. I had to put myself out there and not hold back—no matter how much the nerves and doubt made me feel like I was underwater for far too long.
I know there is a surface, but I have all the air I need right now.
- nataliecranor reblogged this from twloha
- the-day-dean-was-death reblogged this from twloha
- aoyd reblogged this from twloha
- freewildspirit10-23 likes this
- cthublove reblogged this from twloha
- natalieenne likes this
- sincerelydahlia reblogged this from twloha and added:
- earthtoericka reblogged this from twloha
- saving-from-falling reblogged this from twloha
- saving-from-falling likes this
- rousemymind likes this
- 2gummybears4 reblogged this from twloha
- thekazzu reblogged this from twloha
- lovely-fascination reblogged this from twloha and added:
- lovely-fascination likes this
- sadiejacquelinegeorgia likes this
- supermitch6 likes this
- befearless-and-staystrong likes this
- infinite-l0v3 likes this
- crazhay33 reblogged this from loserchipproblems
- dancingkate likes this
- wheniwasayoungwarth0g reblogged this from twloha
- seizethedayyy reblogged this from speakinghearts
- whenallmydreamscometrue reblogged this from twloha
- loserchipproblems reblogged this from twloha
- loserchipproblems likes this
- czarjonnelftw reblogged this from twloha
- bolerongtupa reblogged this from twloha
- topakinmanako reblogged this from twloha
- topakinmanako likes this
- urarockstar likes this
- believe72012 reblogged this from twloha
- tipsyjipsy reblogged this from twloha
- tipsyjipsy likes this
- fearlesslyrach likes this
- poison-ives86 likes this
- emilys-empire reblogged this from twloha
- mylife-asateenagerobot reblogged this from twloha
- christina-i-b-twin reblogged this from twloha
- sammii15 likes this
- juliekidd920 reblogged this from twloha and added:
- alongthisway likes this
- bullshitfromafool likes this
- patient-fine-kind reblogged this from twloha
- nicholestacey likes this
- aluminiumdragon reblogged this from twloha
- aluminiumdragon likes this
- wonder-lusted likes this