18 May 2010

Ice Cold

It was muggy this afternoon when I went out for my run, muggy for Oregon anyway. I headed into the locker room overheated, sweaty, and pressed for time.

[This is starting off like some kind of bad erotic short story, but I promise that's not where it's headed.]

I really, really, REALLY dislike cold water. When I was in middle school, there was a polar bear swim at my summer camp, and on that cool, summer morning, the icy water took my breath away when I jumped in. I thought I was going to drown. Ever since then, I have not been able to stand cold water: showers, pools, the ocean. Even when I lived in a tropical rain forest, I heated up my water for bucket baths.

My dislike of cold water comes from a place of fear borne out of that summer camp experience. As I stood with my hand under the water in the locker room shower stall today, waiting for it to heat up, I thought about that summer day, and I thought about fear. I thought about how I ask Maddie and Riley to do new things and take new risks every day, to embrace that fear of the unknown or to push beyond a known fear to see if it can be overcome.

I turned the dial back, as cold as it would go, and I got in.

It took my breath away for a moment, but then it felt refreshing. I talk often about not wanting to live in a place of fear, and although this is such a small thing, I realized that I don't always put my money where my mouth is when it comes to testing my own limits. I'm often presented with opportunities to face my emotional fears, but have fewer chances to do so on a physical level. I want to be alert for more instances like this, habits and behaviors that are not damaging, but that are fear-based, and be open to change, to new experience. To fearlessness.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

cool!

Wordgirl said...

I love this post!

I know I rarely leave my own comfort zone -- thank you for this eloquent reminder of the daily possibilities to start over.

Pam

jaycosnett said...

To fearlessness.

Jen said...

Wow, you are my hero. I can't pinpoint the root of my discomfort with cold water, but to purposefully step into a cold shower -- you are very brave!

Megan said...

I'm impressed! To do it when you have to do it is one thing; to do it when you have the option of waiting for warm water is an entirely different beast. Well done!

erk said...

WHAT'S COOLER THAN COOL???

DoctorMama said...

"This is starting off like some kind of bad erotic short story" -- hee hee

Sadia said...

There are so many tiny things that contribute to my comfort zone that it's hard to know where to start to break out of it. Good for you!

Raddit said...

I must say I laughed out loud at the erotic short story aside as well. I hadn't noticed, and then it was like ewwwwww... :-)

Shiel said...

I think it's interesting that you thought of your expectations of your children and then compared yourself to that.

I find myself doing this kind of comparison daily, and sometimes hourly. If I'm not willing to do something myself, I can't see expecting my child to do it either.

As a result, I've found that I have a ton of strength I didn't realize I had ... all because of B!

Anonymous said...

I couldn't help but wonder how you managed to live in Massachusetts all those years?!

But, congrats for the cold shower!

Michèle Hastings said...

what a great analogy... i agree that we, as parents, expect our children to step outside their comfort zone pretty regularly... yet we (the parents) take the safe road. i am trying really hard to get out of that pattern. this week i learned to drive a school bus... talk about feeling POWERFUL! (and i didn't run anyone over or take out any signs with my mirrors etc...)

christina(apronstrings) said...

Here, here.

Denise said...

Since I've moved to Massachusetts I've found, much to my surprise, that I LOVE swimming in ice cold ocean water.

Good for you for testing your limits, even in a small way, and also for putting yourself in your little ones' shoes.

django's mommy said...

Hi Snick- I haven't commented in a while (but continue to read faithfully!), but this post really struck home with me. I think one of the wonderful things about my husband was that he pushed me outside my comfort zone, and since he died, I have only recently become aware of just how "stuck" I am. Sure, it was a calculated decision that first year- to keep things as stable as possible for me and my son. But now, coming up on 3 years this September... it's time. Now, I'm thinking bigger things, like moving out of the house, moving forward with a wonderful relationship, a new job... and I fully intend to put myself out there and move my life forward over the next year to 18 months. But you are absolutely right, that we ask our children to try new foods, try new experiences every day... but sometimes we are loathe to open ourselves up to those challenges. I'm ready!!

To fearlessness.

Mary Ellen said...

Great idea! And the brain loves it when we mix things up and deviate from our usual ruts.

OTRgirl said...

It's hard to realize what's going on in time to make a choice about it. And even if you know what's going on, it's still hard to ACT on it. What a great moment. Good for you!

A couple things recently made me think about that (quirky childhood based fears/phobias):
-being anywhere without a book (from always waiting for my Dad. I chose to go out without my Kindle yesterday and felt TOTALLY naked. Weird)
-riding my bike off a curb
(I tested a new bike today that has shock absorbers on the front fork. It was FUN to just go straight off a curb)