I want to inspire you to believe you can do the things you once did, before the time you crashed, before your body had a fall, and your life changed, perhaps somewhat, or more drastically.
Please be motivated by this post, because I wish that I could have spoke to my suffering and frightened self a few years ago, to reassure myself that things would change.
Recently I completed a massive goal that had been seemingly impossible for a long time, and this in turn branched off into more goal progress in other areas, which I’m now going to talk about, as those little branches, and roots are what keeps the journey evolving and spreading out like a positive, healing wildfire.
I went on my first holiday abroad in a very long time, see another post about the adventures with this big triumph, and during this big achievement I solidified something I had been trying to do for a while, which was to extend to my next exercise level.
I love to swim and a beach holiday was a prime opportunity for more playing around with this deep desire.
The sea, and the holiday pools I had fun in recently, helped me to strengthen a goal that had got somewhat waylaid in 2017. Swimming!
During the recovering stages it’s trial and error for a long time, or so I found out. Swimming has always been a big love for me to get back to. My husband would often say, oh you’ll get back to swimming at some point, and despite my strong desire to achieve, if I’m honest, my mind would automatically chirp up with, “I don’t think that’s ever going to happen.”
I first attempted in 2015, and it was quite a tough call. I wanted so much, so soon I release now. Just getting my swimming costume on at home, getting to the pool, I.e. out of the car, undressed again and bobing in the water was tough! Especially because I could hardly walk 100metres. I didn’t dare get my hair wet, as I knew I couldn’t wash it myself at that point. I hurt all over, and every joint was on fire. I floated around but it was quite uncomfortable so I really couldn’t get much enjoyment, as much as I wanted to. Frankly I felt like hell.
Looking back now though, I know that even these moments, where it seemed to create more sadness, or failure, were important junctures, simply because I was still trying, I was fighting. Even if a lot of the time the fighting may have been causing me extra problems, it was who I was, so it was far better than giving up. I needed more time, more sleep, more time outside of the maladaptive stress response, and more of that feeling of safety that had evaded me, which was the key to everything, but I didn’t know that, so all I had were these little hopes, and tough gauntlets of struggle with my body, and myself.
So in 2016, as I tried again, and I had some results, this time I started to be able to get to the pool and get in without my husband, and to be able to do three, what you would call lengths, and at least I could wash my hair after. After that I was shattered and had pain from standing up in the shower for so long, especially with my super thick hair, washing it in the piddle, type water pressure, was a massive undertaking, and my heart rate would go really rather high throughout this entire episode.
After, I would get more pain, because my muscles had worked a lot harder, as I was still only getting used to stand up showers at the turn of 2016, as I remember!
Despite painful results, I think I tried again a few more times but a relapse of a few days could follow.
Yet as time ebbed on, many other things improved, and fell into place, from both hard-work and letting go. So entering, 2017, I knew it was my year. I tried again, and each time I got a bit further, a relapse would turn to just a little flare, I could actually swim now, up to 20 lengths, but I couldn’t maintain my initial goal level, quite as I wanted, of going regularly. I didn’t want so much payback either, because all round I had such stability now.
After enough trying, and enough exposure, I knew I’d get back into the swing eventually, and as is often the case with our goals, we are normally spinning plates across many areas of our lives, and sometimes it’s about timing, and a lot of patience, in addition to a good level of pacing, balance, discipline and body intuition. I have learned, on some goals it’s fine to revisit and come back to at a later date. It was very much about the feelings I had to each goal also. Each time I have had a prolonged burst with this activity, I have become stronger and now I’m happy to say I’m maintaining my original aim set eighteen months ago.
Swimming on holiday was something I did every day in October 2017, whilst in Spain, and since returning I upped my fortnightly swim to every week. I also moved from 20 lengths to 40! It’s also lovely to have a more normalised heart rate after I get out of the pool, and stand and wash my hair, in that same piddly, excuse for a shower! Now I don’t feel like I’m going to pass out, or have crippling migraines. I can even jet about for the remaining day doing jobs, and living normally after a swim, total amaze balls to me! I do take care to rest later on, and amend to a lower paced walk the next day as needed. Sometimes there is some muscle fatigue but it’s at a lower level for sure.
I would love to be able to swim at least a mile a week again by the end of 2018, like I used to do. I never say never! We’ll see what happens, as I continue to set the bar.
I’m not a zealot and if I need to change my routine and take a week off, or move back to fortnightly then I do. It’s about being realistic with yourself, and there’s no point pushing it when you are tired. I’ve been so surprised, and pleased that the payback has decreased, and I’ve learned some vital information about body strengthening. Working alongside my hyper-mobile nature, I know that it’s so important to create strong muscles, but that exercising beyond a point will not help.
It’s important for you to listen to your body, but also your dreams, and if you have a passion, do try to bring it back if you can. I believe in you. A mermaid, will always be a mermaid, whether she dangles her legs in, or dives down deep into the abyss. 🧜♀️