Sana Farooq on overcoming her fear
What is your biggest fear? Mine was the water. I learned to tame it the older I got, so that nobody would notice or bring attention to it. I would get tense being around a pool, in case I slipped, or someone would feel like “playfully” pushing me in. I let 30 years of fear control where I went on vacation, what I did during the inevitable pool days, and letting my comfort around bodies of water be in the hands of others.
Five months ago, I took all of that anxiety, nausea, and fear, and stood in front of a pool ready to simply try. Learning to swim as an adult certainly had its pros and cons. On the one hand, you feel every milestone deeply. I remember the first time I floated on my back: the feeling of weightlessness brought me to tears. I remember the first time I allowed my head to be fully submerged, not realizing that it would drown out all of the sound around me, including my instructor’s guidance, and wondering why it felt oddly peaceful.
On the other hand was the child in me that first learned what it felt like to choke on chlorine water, trying desperately for my hands and feet to grab on to something, feeling helpless.
I carried the traumatized child with me to every lesson, doing it for her. With every milestone came pride, and with every bit of pride came enjoyment, and with every moment I enjoyed, I relaxed…and the more I relaxed, the more I floated.
I started falling in love with the challenge, the way it made me feel afterwards, and the sense of belonging it gave me. It slowly consumed all of my thoughts, and something kept pulling me back each week, excited to accomplish another small goal.
In July I left my private lessons to join Swim with Heart Masters, where my sunrise class times are the best parts of my week. I have watched myself improve day by day, under the masterful guidance of Mikey Flaherty, immensely grateful for my new routine that has brought me so much joy.
Learning to swim has changed my life in more ways than I could have ever imagined. It has made me question parts of myself I never had before.
What other fears have been holding me back in my life?
What else is my body capable of?
What other ways can I make myself truly proud?
If I had known I could fall in love with my biggest fear, what would it have changed for me?
Sana, we are so thankful that you allowed us to share your story. It is an honor to coach you! Can’t wait to see what you do next.