While watching The Abyss tonight, I felt a low grade anxiety creep in and continue. I do NOT want to ever work on a submarine or deep sea oil rig. What else do I fear?

  • Being locked in a bathroom and everyone being too polite to come find me. “Oh, she just needs a minute.” No! I can’t get out! Especially those gas station restrooms with questionable locks to begin with.
  • My cat getting cancer. What pet owner doesn’t?
  • Missing my alarm on those super early mornings. With a week of 6.45am starts, I must have woken up every 2 hours to see if I’d missed the alarm. Nothing like the heart-hammering gasp that makes you look at the clock in agony.
  • Living – and dying- unfulfilled.
  • Becoming (the bad parts of) my mom. I have yet to meet a woman without kids who doesn’t echo this sentiment. Is it true for men and fathers too?
  • Compromising myself for someone else. A man, a child, a friend, a job.
  • Small, tight, cold, wet spaces. In 9th grade I participated in an education summer program, Project CAVES. For 4 weeks we mapped, crawled, sludged, swam, and journaled about caves. We were the most kick ass spelunkers you’ve ever met. One day we were invited to do a first entry exploration of a new cave. The entrance was 3 feet tall, 2 feet wide. It was a wet entry – tight, cold and unknown. I walked to the entrance with my peers, looked, sighed, and felt my gut tighten. I declined to join the troop. I was disappointed in myself but made better by the experience.  This also speaks to why watching The Abyss  makes me think of breathing – in and out, deep and slow. Another martini for me.
  • Hitting the board. This is a common fear for springboard divers, and yet, I haven’t met any divers worth their snuff that haven’t hit the board. I first hit the board in 10th grade, doing a reverse. I landed back on the board, bounced, and rolled off into the water. I was fine physically – a few scratches on my knees and elbows. Mentally, terrified. I’ve done them since and coached a few divers to try them, but the fear doesn’t abate.

I tell my divers that they will be afraid. They will be scared, but once they push through one time, it only gets easier. It gets better. Fear is a warning but it does not mean quit.

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