Friday, June 24, 2011

What's So Scary About Today?

The plan was to get up at 6AM to finish packing. In all my years of setting alarms, I can think of only one other time in which I actually managed that quintessential time-oopsie of setting for PM rather than AM.  My subconscious was probably requesting the additional sleep.

Regardless, I arose at 7:23AM, a little groggy from extending frantic packing late into the night, but refreshed and ready to take on today.

So few people really understand these intense emotions that I have while preparing for this training camp. Words that should make me feel better, reducing the pressure slightly, tend to send me over the edge. I realize that the Jimi Flowers Meet is not a qualifier for anything, and merely timed-finals. I realize that I have made the ParaPan American Games Team and that they aren't going to kick me off of it for no reason. I realize so many things that are rational and true about this experience, but there is so much more to it that is difficult for me to explain.

But nevertheless, I'll TRY...

No matter the meet, big or small, it is no different to me. I will not try any less this weekend than I did at Nationals. I will not treat the meet with any less seriousness or ferociousness. I, wholeheartedly, acknowledge the fact that I am a complete lunatic for signing up for 10 events in two days, but I need to swim as much as possible to give myself the opportunity to improve. If you don't compete in it, you have no chance of improvement.

I need to put my best foot forward, figuratively. I know myself well enough to know that when I am driven by nerves, I tend to shut down socially and crawl into a dark space, deep within my psyche and stay there until I feel safe again. I cannot afford to have this happen. I want my coaches and teammates to see me for who I really am. I want so honestly to be an asset to this team, being one of the--if not the--oldest member. I want to be able to impart certain wisdoms and mindful thinking to those that I interact with most in my professional life, the fifteen-year-olds-- of which there are a ton of. I desire to be an athlete that is as good in the water as out of the water.

Lastly, knocking down the walls of my character is that ever-present notion of confidence. Why can I STILL not shake it? There are voices that swirl inside of me questioning everything. At one point, in fact, I had convinced myself that the Paralympic Committee had made a mistake with me, accidentally put me on the email list and now they felt too bad to tell me the truth. Seriously? With thoughts like these its no wonder how I even manage to function during the day. I have spent the better part of the last two weeks really searching for that confidence-- I know it's in there somewhere. The negativity has so much power, to the point where it steals my breath and attempts to choke me. BUT I know that I am better than that. I know that I deserve this. I know that it is okay to let my hard work pay its own way. (Even writing this, I feel those emotions start churning from deep within, like an impending hurricane, shoving glimpses of the tide upwards through my eyes.) I guess the scariest part of it all is the fact that I am well-aware that the only thing that may hold me back from utter greatness... is me.

However, I am ready to face it. I am. I really think that this week is going to be a true testament to the power my mind has and the urge to collaborate with success. I am ready to move forward and to be able to say that I deserve to be on the US Team and that I AM part of the US Team.

So now I am off to swim, all alone, one last time for the next several days. I will head down to Colorado Springs to check-in in the dorms sometime around 3PM. Once I get settled in, my brain should follow...

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