I Could Never Syndrome
“Leap and the net will appear.” -John Burroughs
Sun, sand and water. Yippee! This weekend I will be down on the Gulf Coast cheering on my brother-in-law who will be competing in the Mullet Man Triathlon, which takes place in Perdido Key at the famed Flora Bama Lounge, Package and Oyster Bar. Triathlons? Yes! Oysters? Hell no! When I first decided to head down to the Coast for a few days, I said to myself, “what a great opportunity to practice your open water swimming!” My next statement was “I ain’t gettin’ in that water!”
This weekend will be a colossal step in overcoming my biggest fear in the process of becoming a triathlete. I sent an e-mail telling my coach about the impending first open-water swim and he replied, “You’ll do great. Do you recognize your fear? Seriously, besides sea life?” I had to think about that. Can’t it simply be my fear of what’s in the water? Is it my fear of underwater critters or is there something deeper? Fear of the unknown? Maybe I’m suffering from a flare-up of the “I Could Nevers,” a sneaky syndrome that is painful, recurrent and hard to cure. Never heard of I Could Never Syndrome? Here is what I hope will be a helpful guide to this extremely annoying condition:
What is I Could Never Syndrome?
ICNS symptoms may include high-grade self-doubt, a low-grade opinion of yourself and the inability to control verbal outbursts of negativity. Here are some examples: I could never run for more than two minutes without requiring emergency medical care. I could never get my bike up and over a hill without crashing and embarrassing myself in front of the entire neighborhood. I could never do a flip turn in the pool without the lifeguard thinking I look like someone who needs to be rescued and resuscitated. I could NEVER compete in a triathlon with all of those “real” athletes.
Who gets I Could Never Syndrome?
This syndrome can affect anyone at anytime. It doesn’t discriminate between gender, age or physical condition.
Is I Could Never Syndrome Treatable?
Yes, there are remedies that have been proven successful in the treatment of ICNS. You may find that there are other forms of treatment, but these have worked for me:
1) I try to recognize that what neighbors, lifeguards, acquaintances or competitors think of me, say about me or do to me has nothing to do with me. People don’t do things to me. They just do things. It takes a lot of energy to worry about what people are thinking and 9 times out of 10 it isn’t me they’re worrying about. The world revolves around the sun, not me and, really, what business is it of mine anyway?
2) If on any given day my mind is already 5 months ahead of my body, reviewing my abysmal race results, I will not have a good workout and won’t care because if I’m going to bomb anyway, why put forth the energy. I can worry about a conversation that took place 5 years ago or an event that hasn’t happened yet, but if I just show up in my own life and stay in the present, I’m much more likely to be happy, to work hard and to be excited about what I’m trying to achieve. And, funny thing, I have a way better chance of succeeding. Show up, do the next right thing and stay the hell out of the past AND the future. I’m not a fortune-teller or a re-writer of history.
3) Helping another person who may be suffering from ICNS is the easiest way to treat the illness. If I can listen to, accept and encourage others, I will learn how to do those same things for myself. I will be able to hear what my body and mind are trying to tell me. I will be able to accept where I’m at and at the same time will be able to find the strength to do what it takes to achieve the vision of what I want my life to look like.
*If you or anyone you love are experiencing any of the symptoms of ICNS, consult God for additional information and treatment options.
“The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears or the sea.” -Isak Dinesen
This weekend, even if the predicted thunder storms decide to rain on my parade and even if I start to feel the onset I Could Never Syndrome symptoms, I will be ready to dive off my brother-in-law’s dock straight into beautiful Arnica Bay and into my first open-water swim. I will leap and the net will appear. Bring it.
*All images provided by Yours Truly.