Incredibly for me a thirty year dream has finally come true and I’m still walking around in a child like state in disbelief that the one thing I really, really wanted is now right in front of me. I can’t begin to tell you guys how I feel right now – I’m ecstatic, over the moon, justifiably crazy with excitement. It only happened 3 weeks ago and yet I’m still walking around in a happy Zombie like state.
Sometimes dreams change but never give up on them – far too often we give up! Like when your planning your dream wedding full of ideas, wonders and the dress you’ve always dreamed of, believe it can happen! Seriously, just go for it! Just dive in and do what ever it takes to make it happen because you can make it come true.
When you want something bad enough and you reach deep inside yourself and forget everything that you’ve ever been told – magic happens and I have proof and I want to share it with you guys today.
You see, I have a disability. I can’t walk like you: my gait is wobbly and my legs tend to find their own way about town while the rest of me spends time abusing my legs for not doing what they’re told 🙂 (I can imagine the picture you have in your head right now and it’s really not that bad 🙂 ) but I don’t have the same muscle strength as most people. Yet I’m lucky. Because most other people with my disability are in wheelchairs and have far more challenges than I do.
For me though physical activities and sport are things I’ve only ever dreamt about. I’m in no way sporty-minded yet I’ve wished upon many stars that I could wake up one day and become a gym junkie to get fit and look Ah-Mazing, but my body rules and it has it’s limits because of my disability – or, so I thought!
Just a little dream
My disability has a really unpronouncably long name so I won’t bore you with it, but put it this way, I can’t run, I can’t jump and stairs are really difficult if I don’t have a trusty handle to balance me. Don’t panic, I’m not going all X Factor on you with a sob story, it’s actually quite the opposite…!
I’ve never told you guys I’m disabled because the last thing I ever wanted to do was to come across sobby, pompous, arrogant, needy, chip on a shoulder or wanting any kind of attention from it. It’s not really necessary and one day when you meet me, you might notice it but on here, it makes no difference – until now and I need your help with it! I really need your help!!!
For years my disability has stopped me persuing things because I was afraid, I mean stupidly afraid. The kind of afrarid that just doesn’t make sense like when I used to go to party’s and sit still all night, no matter how badly I needed to pee, in fear of people staring at me! Daaaa! Stupid right?! It’s stopped me doing a lot of things (not to mention some pretty close near misses with the loo :-)) things I wish I had done and things I regret not trying and this is where we are all alike.
A disability is always 90% mental and 10% physical, no matter what it is, whether it’s the pimple smack bang in the middle of your nose or your friends larger than life nose that she hates or your neighbours big teeth that make her hide her smile when she laughs and lets not mention the fat on our bodies that we all have and hate with such passion. We all have disabilities some are just more obvious than others, like mine. But it’s our confidence that gets affected! What makes it worse too is being judged by others for that same thing that we hate in ourselves and then suddenly our confidence spirals to rock bottom and we start believing we ‘can’t’ instead of ‘we can!’
Its ridiculous isn’t it?
This was me! All my life I’ve known that I can’t exercise, can’t play sport and walk slow. That was normal. Then suddenly a few months ago my Doctor told me that there was a possibility of life in a wheelchair at some point in my life. “We don’t know much about Nemaline Myopathy” she said “But there is a chance you could end up in a wheelchair”.
What the hell!
Like the Bride who craves her perfect wedding but is torn by pleasing her parents or grandparents and so makes decisions she otherwise wouldn’t make – all my life I’ve never thought about sport or exercise because it’s just so hard for me so I listened to everyone around me telling me “you can’t” and moved on.
This is when I dug deep and then magic happened!
Six weeks ago I said “@!$% it” and refused to accept that wheelchair the Doctor threatened me with and instead did something I never, ever, in my wildest dreams thought I could do. I still can’t believe I did it and in typical Zarn style I took on a challenge – a mighty darn big challenge. I decided that even though I’ve never been able to do sport I’d teach myself to swim and join the Aspire challenge to swim the English Channel. This coming from a girl who’s never swum a single lap of a 25m pool in her life – crazy ha!
I love the water and always have so stupidly I thought I’d be OK. Growing up in Australia our pool was about 3 feet deep and around 5 metres long so you didn’t need to know how to swim rather just frolic about in the water. For years I’d attempt a bit of freestyle but by the time I needed a breath, I’d resemble a drowned rat and swallow half the swimming pool. Here I was a determination taking hold of me because I refused to end up in a wheelchair.
I had to learn to swim! I HAD to! No matter how hard it was I needed to do something because I needed to get fit so badly to keep away that wheelchair and still be able to walk my baby girl to school and take her to the park and do those little things I love. I HAD to!!! And so I went off to do that crazy thing.
Dipping my toes into the warm 29 degree pool for the first time I stood with fear. ‘What the hell am I doing’ I thought watching the sporty freaks swimming laps in what seemed like a few seconds each. I dipped myself in and took off and some long time later finally got myself to the other side of the pool in a somewhat very un-elegant, splashy sort of way! The only style of swimming I have ever done is a splash, splutter, drown kind of style – well, (wink) until now!
On my third swim session, I did 4 laps -FOUR.FRICKIN.LAPS – ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!!! It may have taken me half an hour to attempt them but 4 laps!
That was 6 weeks ago…
… Now I.AM.A.SWIMMER!!! I’m doing 44 laps a session without stopping and I’ve taught myself to swim with my frenzied late night Google and YouTube sessions and I’m flippin over the moon, jumping on tables still and incredibly happy to tell you that while I still swallow half the swimming pool, I don’t look like a drowned rat! 🙂
Unbelievable dream come true
I never, ever thought I would ever call myself any label that resembeled any kind of sport other than the Muffin Baking Championship’s yet here I am. My dream come true and I am a swimmer!
And that ridiculous, impossible challenge I took on to swim the English Channel – I’m three weeks in and nearly 4 miles across – the White Cliffs of Dover are far in the distance now 🙂
It is an unbelievable dream come true for me that I am now doing a sport after being told and ‘thinking’ all my life that I can’t do sport! and instead thirty years later I’m swimming the English Channel (in my pool that is).
I couldn’t not take on this challenge because the second day I got out of that pool, feeling hopeless after only just attempting a few exhausting laps of the pool, staring at me on the reception desk was a leaflet for the Channel swim in aid of people with spinal injuries – those people already in a wheel chair. I couldn’t walk past without giving this a shot because the fear I felt knowing I could end up like that was too great – these people were already living it.
The charity is called Aspire and they are amazing! All I have to do, and feel free if you’d like to join me, is swim the whoooooole 22 scary miles of the English Channel in your local pool.
I took this challenge on when I could only manage a few laps of the pool and now within three short weeks I’ve pushed myself to 44 laps, 3 times a week because that’s what I have to do to complete the challenge in 12 weeks and this is what I have to do to get fit. And it proves that dreams, even when you think they’re impossible, can come true.
Like the Bride who says “@!$% it” too and choses her own path. They live the wedding of their dreams and I’m living a dream right now that I never, ever expected could come true. Magic does happen!
I am now a swimmer! Something I never believed I could be!
Aspire Challenge – I need your help!
And you can help me finish the challenge by keeping me inspired on Alice via my Facebook page, twitter and any other way you can think of. Oh trust me, I have plenty of days when I just want to sit on the couch and flop in front of the TV, my muscles ache, my arms feel like truck tyres and I have to drag myslef out to the pool but with your support I know I can do it.This is huge for me! Really huge but I’m really proud I’m doing it and it doesn’t matter if I finish it – what matters is I’m giving it a go.
You can help by donating a little or a lot 🙂 on my sponsorship page, please, please, please help me raise as much money as we can for those already in wheel chairs. Think about it, I have 13,000+ twitter fans and 2800+ FB fans, if you guys alone donated, imagine how we could support these guys. That’s a freaky amazing thought isn’t it?!
And before you leave this page to do it, thank you! A huge virtual hug goes out to you for helping me!
And a huge thanks goes to all the guys at Simplyswim who have generously sponsored me through this challenge by supplying my wicked swim gear: goggles, my lap watch and more. I’m already over three miles into the challenge and it’s proving incredibly useful.
My amazing sponsor
Believe in your dreams! Have the wedding of your dream! Make your dreams a possibility no matter what they are.
Lots of love