It’s amazing what can happen when you face your fears and push through the panic that’s been holding you back for years.
On our recent holiday in Corfu, that’s exactly what I did!
I’ve been petrified of putting my face in the water whilst swimming, for years. Ever since I was little and having taken off one armband, a boy jumped in the swimming pool on top of me and I went round and round. I was pulled under by the force of the water and then pulled to the surface by my one remaining armband, all the while coughing and spluttering for all I was worth! It certainly knocked my confidence in the water and although I can swim, I have only just become more comfortable being out of my depth in recent years. Which considering I am only 5ft 2inches, doesn’t give me a lot of scope.
So this year before we even set off to Corfu, I set myself a challenge of being able to face my fears and learn to snorkel.
I researched which snorkel would be best, deciding not to go with the children’s mermaid special at Boots. Although I was very tempted if only to see the horror on Ian’s (my hubby) face as I entered the water!
As soon as it arrived I tried it on and discovered although I sounded like Darth Vader, it was actually quite easy to breathe. Step one and two completed, I spent the next couple of weeks just imagining myself successfully snorkeling.
Finally we were ready. I was determined to do it and seized the opportunity on our very first full day. I planned to go slowly and start in the swimming pool but when I realised just how public my endevours would be, I decided to take the plunge and go straight for the sea itself. Once I had got over my customary girly approach to entering the water (Why is it always so cold?) and got my shoulders under, I set about making sure my face mask part was as tight as possible.
Woo hoo I was ready, er no, my natural instincts had other ideas!
Every time the slightest bit of water hit my chin, my breathing went into panic. Try as I might to channel the inspriational Ice man, Wim Hof, I just couldn’t seem to stop it happening. What I soon realised, was that it was going to happen anyway and all I could do was accept it and then force myself to gain control of my breathing and move on. Which somehow I did. Before I knew it I had steadied my feet and was staring face down in the water.
Once my mask had cleared and I spotted the fishes swimming around merrily in the clear water, I was so distracted that at last I started to breath normally. It was fascinating! In my mind I kept hearing the song from Disney’s Alladin, ‘A whole new world’ as it really was. At last I could see what the fuss was all about and just what I had been missing out on for all these years.
I held the mouthpiece tightly to my mouth to seal the water out and had to remind myself not to get too over excited. I just kept thinking I’m doing it, I’m actually doing it! After a while I thought I would love to be able to actually swim at the same time, by the end of the holiday. How cool would that be?
However a few minutes later my legs floated up from beneath me and I was off, swimming along with those lovely fishes. I even managed to relax my vice like grip from the mouthpiece and eventually swim properly with my whole head under and enjoy the total peace of being under the water. Wow it felt amazing!
Over the next few days we explored different parts of Glyfada beach and we especially loved the rocky end, shown in the picture above.
Swimming in and out of the rocky structures, gently chasing the fishes and exploring the many nooks and crannies was fantastic! The water was crystal clear and there was just so much to see.
It was all going so swimmingly, please excuse the terrible pun, until I bumped into a lady on a lilo. To be fair it was actually her very pink nails that startled me. Coughing and spluttering I came up for air and immediately looked for Ian to get some much needed reassurance. However, he was way off chasing his own fishes with our little undewater camera. So much for being looked after!
At first I desperately wanted to strop off to the safety of our sunloungers, slightly indignant at both Ian and the lady with the startling pink nails. However I gave myself yet another talking to and managed to give it another go. I’m so glad I did, as it could have easily been something I tried, but didn’t succeed at.
We are going to Lanzarote for the first time this autumn and I can’t wait to have another at snorkelling and seeing this beautiful world of ours from an entirely different perspective.
It just goes to show when you confront your fears you really can open up a whole new world.
I would love to hear about how you overcame your fears and of course if you feel something is holding you back, I would love to coach you through it.
What fear do you need to conquer? What are you allowing to hold you back from living life to the full? Sometimes we build up these fears for so long they seem monumental to overcome. Yet we CAN overcome them with determination, courage and the right support.
I will be here when you are ready.
In the meantime, stay sassy.
Lots of love