What is the thing deep down inside of you that motivates you to do what you do?
Well, for me, sometimes it is fear, others it is spite. At times it’s stupidity or loyalty. However more often than not, love is the reason that I act the way that I do.
Sunday, I had the pleasure of accompanying my son, who will be 17 in a few weeks, to an all-day music festival at a local venue. The venue happened to be a water park. Unique, right?
I personally, have developed an issue with community pools over the last three years as the OCD has re-emerged and the fear of germs and contamination has caused fear to take over my brain and keep me from engaging in day to day activities without suffering from severe angst. I agreed to hold a snake (a HUGE fear of mine, one that in the past brought me to nearly hyper ventilating due to the amount of fear I was in) just so I would not have to go to the water park due to my fear of contracting something that I can’t pronounce that is lurking in that misleading clear pool water.
Yesterday I agreed to go to the festival, because I assumed that there would be an area at the park on land where there would be stage and a place for all music goers to enjoy the music. I had never in the past been to this water park, so I did not know the layout. Nor did I take the time to pull up a map of the park to check out the park’s layout, or I would see that my thought process was flawed.
Upon arriving at the park, we were greeted with long security lines. We were segregated, men and women in separate lines, and all of our belongings were searched. Water bottles were thrown out and even sunscreen was not permitted within the perimeter (I applied a base coat, but this pale Irish girl was going to look like a lobster at the end of the day). We followed the sound of the music and much to our surprise we quickly found the stage. It was much smaller than we expected, and we were able to get quite close. Plus we found that there were places to sit as well as shade (My skin sighed in relief).
But then, we heard a guitar tune up and we walked a little farther on the path and that’s when we saw it. It was this huge monstrosity in the center of the enormous wave pool. The stage was erected at the end of the wave pool in the deep end. It was massive, and to access the stage, you had to walk through the water, the gen pop, presumably dirty, “I don’t know where their feet have been” water. I nearly puked right there on my shoes. My heart started to race, my head got buzzy and my mind started to go faster than my heart. Holy shitake mushroom and California Fart Balls, what did I get myself into? I look down at my son and he has this huge smile on his face, and it is sealed in my mind that today, today was the day that I was going to have to face this humungous fear of mine. I would face it with no assistance as I had no anxiety meds with me. I had nothing to rescue me. I had to do this on my own, with only the tools I have learned in therapy.
My son knew how much I had an issue with gen pop water, and he looked at me and said, “you can do it!” I wanted to cry. My brain was about to self-destruct, and I just had to tell myself that I would be fine. Even if I did end up getting some fungal infection, I would see a doctor and get a medication to treat it. That I had been in gen pop pools in the past and I had always been fine and today would be no different.
In a t-shirt and jean shorts I stood in a wave pool with my son for over two hours and listened to bands I had never heard before. Up until the end, when I hit my limit, I had a fantastic time. There is something about being a parent and seeing your child happy that is this gift that brings you this unmeasurable amount of joy. It’s a feeling that words are not able to begin to describe.
I am not going to go and buy a water park pass for the summer or sign up for swim team at the local pool. But I am proud that I leaped over a large hurdle (honestly, I really did a face plant as I attempted to jump over it, but I made it…).
The love I have for my son helped me overcome a fear. Had it not been for him and the amount of love that I have for him I would have never put a pinky toe in that water let alone spend more than two hours in a pool, standing shoulder to shoulder with strangers in the Arizona sun in the middle of the day in 95* weather.
Within life there are different things that motivate us. I have found that when I am motivated by love, I make the greatest and longest bounds, and the biggest strides. Love heals.