Conquering Your Fears

May 15, 2007

As everyone is well aware of now . . . I can’t swim.

When I was younger, like all the other kids, I used to spend all my free time in the water. My Mom would tease me because I would get so tan that all she could see were my eyes. Yup, I was a regular beach bum.

So what happened?

One summer, when I was 13 years old, my favorite cousin from Maui was visiting us. She and my Mom were never very close and I couldn’t understand why. Later my Mom would tell me that she just didn’t have a good feeling about her. Call it a Mother’s intuition.

Then one day, our whole family was having a picnic at the beach. My cousin and I were playing in the surf a few feet off shore. When my Mom looked up, she saw my cousin but she didn’t see me. My cousin was holding my head under water.

I’ve never found out if it was intentional or not but the damage was done. They had to call the paramedics to perform CPR on me. Ever since then, I’ve been afraid to swim. I can bring myself to go into the water but I can’t completely submerge myself. My fear runs so deep that I can’t even put my face under a running shower. I have to put the water into my hands first in order to wash my face.

So imagine how I freaked out when I learned that we had to simulate an actual emergency water evacuation in my flight attendant training class. I immediately went to the instructor and offered my resignation but she convinced me to stay and go through with it. She even assigned me to partner up with the strongest swimmer in the class. To this day, I still don’t know how I did it but I inflated my vest and jumped off the pier. My partner was waiting in the water for me and once I came up, she grabbed me and dragged me to the life raft. I didn’t want her to do to all the work so I started kicking to help out. Needless to say, I made it . . . thanks to her.

Forward to last year when my family was spending the weekend on Maui. You never know what you’re capable of until you feel your child’s life is in danger.

As most of you know, Girlie Girl was at the hotel’s water park with BIL and ended up going down the wrong slide. When I heard MIL screaming that GG never surfaced, I ran to the pool and frantically climbed the stone wall. When I saw her at the bottom of the pool, my body jumped in before my mind registered that it was over 9 feet deep. I grabbed whatever part of her I could and started kicking to the surface. I saw a pair of hands reaching over the wall and I pushed GG towards them. She was pulled to safety.

Unfortunately, now I was stuck in the pool with no help since no one knew I couldn’t swim. I tried to grab at the stone wall but wasn’t able to pull myself up since I was fully clothed and weighted down. I don’t know how many times I kept going under. However, I guess someone above was looking out for me that day since I miraculously was able to find a hand hold and pulled with every once of strength I had left. Up and over the wall I went.

Girlie Girl was shaken up but fine. I ended up with stitches on my leg and a scar that will be with me until the day I die.

Did this cure my fear of the water? Not on your life. I still can’t wade at the beach past waist level and I still can’t put my face under the shower head. I wish I could conquer this fear but I don’t know if it will ever happen. However, I do know one thing, I know that I would risk my life for the safety of my daughters. It’s just part of being a parent.

What fear would you like to conquer?

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Aloha from Meredith, Claire, Chesca silva, Write From Karen, Groovyoldlady, NOLADawn, Rach, Lissete, Karen, Carey, Desert Songbird, Renee, Vixen, BeachMama, Pamela, Angela, Jenn, Holly Schwendiman, Melissa, Katkat, TopChamp, Jennifer, Maribeth, Maria, AuthorMomWithDogs, M. Ellen (Melon) Dash, Kari, and Eve

30 Comments on “Conquering Your Fears”

May 15, 2007
7:38 am

Eve said:

I don’t know if I even want to conquer my fear of heights. I can see it getting out of hand because even when I’m driving over bridges I get a little panicky. I just have to focus on the road and keep my eyes there, I don’t divert them to how high up I am.
I feel your pain. What an amazing story, and what a super mom.
Have fun in Disneyland. I love that place.

May 15, 2007
10:33 am

Kari said:

oh my! I am close to panic just reading your accounts!
I have done well with water as we got a hot tub and I actually sit in it now. I used to not be able to get in water that covered my chest. Sometimes it is still hard and I doubt if I will ever do it in “open” water but it’s a step for me.
The fear I’d like to conquer I guess would be the every day fear that keeps me from functioning on a day to day level.
Not to have to talk myself into getting out of bed, not to almost have an anxiety attack walking out to check the mail. Not to have to talk myself into doing daily housework because my anxiety is so bad I am afraid to even load the dishwasher.

So I guess to say it simply: the fear I would like to conquer would be just that, fear.

May 15, 2007
10:42 am

M. Ellen (Melon) Dash said:

There’s hope for overcoming fear in water in a fun, gentle way. My heart goes out to you. You are in good company with a majority of adults who are afraid in deep, open water.

May 15, 2007
10:43 am

AuthorMomWithDogs said:

Oh. My. God. What a story! And what a terrible thing that your cousin caused this for you. Lucky Girly Girl to have you for a mom.

May 15, 2007
12:23 pm

maria said:

I am one of those people I’ll try anything once. But I HATE HATE HATE to be in a small place. I cannot go into an enclosed water slide without getting all wiggy. We used to have a small camper when the kids were little and I couldn’t sleep in the bunk like bed because it was too close to the top. If I’m watching a show or movie that even shows people packed in tight quarters I get a weird feeling. It’s hardly stopping me from functioning, but I don’t like knowing I have limitations.

May 15, 2007
1:22 pm

Maribeth said:

Being left. You see in one year I lost one child to death the other I lost when my ex-husband took off with her and I also lost my home, my pets etc.
To this day, I worry and it causes me great pain that I will lose all those that I love.

May 15, 2007
1:51 pm

Jennifer said:

Wow!! what a story! I am afraid of being trapped in a small space and locked in. I can’t bear to see TV shows with people being locked up and buried or something like that. It really freaks me out.

May 15, 2007
2:32 pm

TopChamp said:

ooh… glad you’re ok! A scar’s better than the other option…

p.s. Have a lovely holiday!

May 15, 2007
2:32 pm

katkat said:

Wow!! Isn’t it amazing how we do things we never thought we could when our children need us. I can’t think of anything i’m really afraid of. I’ll have to think on that one.

May 15, 2007
3:06 pm

Melissa said:

Oh wow… both stories made me shudder. :S Swimming in the ocean scares me to death. I’ve never done it. My imagination always gets the better of me. I’ll decide to get out there and then I think about rip tides and sharks and I just can’t. :S

May 15, 2007
3:23 pm

Holly Schwendiman said:

Oh Kailani now we know why you’re afraid to swim and if I’d gone through the same thing as a young girl I’d be the same way! What a terrible thing. I’m always telling my kids the fun ends when you cross the line involving another person or their property. That’s just awful. There are few things more awful than knowing and seeing your child helpless in the water. I’m so glad girlie girl was safe and you should be SO proud for the part you played in it! My biggest fear is one I hope I never have to conquer. The only thing that truly scares me is to lose a child in a spiritual/soul sense. I can handle almost any other loss but to have a child that fell away from every good thing and moral I’d held dear and endeavored to teach them…well that would be the worst for me.


May 15, 2007
4:46 pm

jenn said:

wow, my husband almost drowned in a river and while he is totally fine with water in a pool, or the bathtub, or even a lake, he can’t do fast moving water of any kind.

He is also afraid of heights and I feel so bad for him. He couldn’t even enjoy the water falls on our last vacation because they were too high up for him. It’s sad.

I’m terrified of the dark. So much so that if a room is dark and they light switch is at the other end of the room I will not go in. I will shut the door and wait for someone or I will just wait to get whatever it was I needed when it’s light. I have night lights in every room of my house and take them on vacation so that I’m never in total darkness. I can’t sleep, I can’t breathe, I can’t move, the whole time my imagination is going at warp speed and every possible scary noise is 10 times louder than it really is.
I could do without that one, but everything else I’m okay.

I’m glad you did so well, someone’s help or not with the flight attendant class. Good for you, that would be so hard!

May 15, 2007
5:18 pm

Renee said:

I’m not sure if there is any fear that I feel is bad enough to warrant trying to overcome it…I think all of mine are in the regularly required levels of fear that help keep us from doing something too stupid.

As for your fear of water…It seems that you’ve got a very good handle on it. It wasn’t so bad that you couldn’t go save your child. But there are ways of conquring it if you want to.

I think I would go kick your cousin’s butt though. ;)

Course, I dumped an entire bucket of dirt on my cousin’s head once…he was a jerk and deserved it, and he wasn’t even that upset about it either.

May 15, 2007
6:32 pm

Angela said:

Wow! I can see why you’re afraid. Its good that you at least know yourself enough not to doubt that you’re willing to face your fear to save your children.

I’m pretty afraid of heights, but I have braved my fear by climbing a mountain (looking down was pretty scary). I wouldn’t say it cured me (I still get pretty nervous even on a step ladder), but there is something encouraging about knowing that I CAN deal with my fear if I push myself.

Have fun at Disneyland! I’m so jealous. It is definately on my list of things to do!

May 15, 2007
7:34 pm

Pamela said:

You did conquer your fear. You jumped in for your daughter. Thats conquering it… even if it was only for the moment.

It doesn’t mean you aren’t afraid anymore.. it just means you did it anyway.. even though you were afraid.

May 15, 2007
8:58 pm

BeachMama said:

Wow that would make anyone not want to swim. I would imagine that there are classes to help you overcome your fear. Or even starting at the beginning with your kids. They are taught very early how not to be afraid and perhaps if you took the lessons with them it would help you to overcome your fears. Maybe you wouldn’t swim everyday but you would be able to swim when you needed to. Your story with GG just shows that your fear is not bigger than you.

Have fun at Disney!!

May 16, 2007
1:45 am

Vixen said:

Wow…this is so inspirational. I too can’t swim and being under water totally freaks me out. It’s so coll how you saved your daughter…that’s a true story of courage right there. I love your blog, btw.

May 16, 2007
4:10 am

Renee said:

come write the blog I’m taking your questions to answer on my blog.

May 16, 2007
5:15 am

Desert Songbird said:

I have so many fears: snakes, heights, closed in places, bridges (to name a few). I’m not sure how or if I could conquer them all. I’m so sorry for you that your fear was caused by someone’s malice; thank goodness for Girlie Girl that she has you for her hero mom!

May 16, 2007
10:37 am

Carey said:

Wow, how scary. Im so glad you were able to save your daughter. And you are right, regardless of the fear, we would do anything to save our children. Someday, you will conquer your fear, it may not be on this side of heaven, but you will….someday.

May 16, 2007
12:47 pm

Karen said:

Thanks for sharing your story. Your fear of the water is so understandable given your horrible experience when you were young… and then seeing it happen with your daughter OMG!
I was also so afraid of the water when I was a kid - I was enrolled in swimming classes at a very young age but always felt uncomfortable. Then one time when I was about 6 the instructor wasn’t watching and I almost drowned (or felt like it anyway). Then I refused to take any more lessons. I wouldn’t take any lessons again until I was 10 - then I cruised through them and went right through to lifesaving courses. I now love the water - but it’s non-negotiable for my kids to take swimming lessons. My 7 year old is a fish; my 2 year old looks like she’ll follow. I’m glad for that.
I’m not great with heights or small spaces. I would love to scuba dive but I’m afraid I might panic and feel too claustrophobic with all the breathing restrictions.
Have a fantastic vacation at Disney, BTW.

May 16, 2007
12:55 pm

Lissete said:

OMG, what scary experiences for both of you! I cannot even imagine! I have many fears but I somewhat conquered my main one, flying. It took me 39 years but I did it!

May 16, 2007
6:21 pm

rach said:

I now understand the reason behind your fear. That was a scary experience as a child and no one can blame you for not learning how to swim. It would have made me scared of going to the water too.

I admire your strong mother’s instinct. I admire you for thinking fast and risking your life to save your child. I’m very happy that both you and GG were saved. It’s a great sign of unconditional love. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

May 16, 2007
8:14 pm

NOLADawn said:

Wow, how scary. Now I understand. My only fear is closed spaces or being caught up in a crowd that is too close. Makes Mardi Gras real fun.

May 17, 2007
12:18 pm

groovyoldlady said:

I have a strange fear of tidal waves - with occasional nightmares thereof. Fortunately, They’re not much of an issue in central Maine!

I’m also somewhat claustrophobic. Do NOT close me in or you might get hurt!

May 17, 2007
1:12 pm

Write From Karen said:

Wow … just wow. I’d like to have a word or two, or three, with that cousin of yours. *frown*

And your daughter in the water story … omg. I simply CAN’T imagine what that must have been like, for both of you. Bravo for putting your daughter above your fears! I once watched my youngest slip off the diving board, but other than a few scrapes and bruises, he was fine. Was pretty shaky about going off the diving board the rest of the summer, but I think he’s okay with the whole water thing.

I’m not a very strong swimmer, I can swim, but it’s a pathetic attempt at best. I’m not exactly afraid of the water, but it’s not my favorite place to be. I can’t really think of a fear-fear I have - I’m not crazy about heights, but I don’t freak out in an airplane or anything. I guess I would have to say the whole suspension thing, like hang gliding or rides that drop suddenly (like the Tower of Terror at Disney World. No way would you get me on that ride - nuh huh).

Anyhoo, thanks for sharing your story. It’s not easy talking about our fears.

May 17, 2007
5:28 pm

chesca silva said:

this was a very scary story.
i can only imagine the terror you felt when you saw GG in the water.
my life would have flashed right before my eyes.
glad everything ended well.
the scar is truly a reminder of your unconditional love for your children.

May 21, 2007
1:59 am

Claire said:

How very scary, but how inspiring that your love for your daughter outweighed your fear, without a second thought!

I battle with fear of people. This fear has greatly, greatly affected my life. On my 360 site I blog about how God has been helping me overcome it. You’re more than welcome to drop by if it helps.

May 21, 2007
11:19 am

meredith said:

Oh girl! Oh wow. That just gave me chills (especially the part about her going down the wrong slide and not surfacing….).

I have an irrational fear of spiders… not sure how to get over that one.

July 8, 2007
1:25 am

Carnival Of Family Life - May 21st, 2007 - Be A Good Dad said:

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