The Tina Effect

I am a BIG Tina Fey Fan. I love Tina and Amy Poehler pushing the envelope while hosting the Golden Globes. I love the Tina and Steve Carrell banter in Date Night. I love more of Tina and Amy in Baby Mama. Perhaps, most of all, I love Tina as Liz Lemon on 30 Rock. I think I have quoted Liz L. a million times on this blog because that lady is FUNNY! AND REAL! And she loves sandwiches!

How is this Oceanside training related? Well, the other day I was chatting with someone about my panicky experience in the water last weekend, and they suggested I have a mantra. Like, “Just keep swimming.” Or, whatever will keep me going and not let my brain totally wig out on me.

So, I thought about what could be motivational for me…it would be all butterflies and rainbows to drag me out of whatever darkness was taking over my thoughts.

But, I really don’t want to be all sentimental…what is it that I want to think? And then, I heard the voice of my anti-hero Liz Lemon whisper (ha, more like YELL) those magical three words:

“Shut it down.”

If you are a 30 Rock newbie, Liz says “Shut it down” when something totally ridiculous/appalling/hilariously inappropriate happens in her work or personal life.

Here is a little montage of that.

So, I tested out my new mantra this weekend. Some friends and I swam in the ocean. I went out and could feel the panic setting in, that feeling of not being able to control my emotions or the waves or anything…my brain was freezing up…why was this happening, and then I put on my Liz Lemmon pants and thought to myself, “Shut it down.” And I swam a mile.

Like, seriously, why is it so hard to shut down that inner chatter? I was trying to be all introspective last week on why I am having Open Water Swimming Anxiety (OWSA) and I just can’t nail it down. And then I realized that the reason you fear something is because someone tells you it is scary. There have been countless times i told people I was swimming in the ocean and I could see the look of fear in their eyes. Initially, I thought, why are they scared? it’s just a swim.

I think back to 9 years ago when I did my first triathlon –which happened to be my first open water swim. I was a lap swimmer and did not really think that swimming in a lake would be different. It was. It was super bizarre swimming in the open water, but I distinctly remember NOT being scared. More puzzled by what was going on with all the limbs flailing around.

Since that race I have completed —-or attempted—28 triathlons. 3 Alcatraz swims. I swam 2 miles in Lake Tahoe without a wetsuit. A bunch of splash and dashes and practice swims. I swam 3.6 miles in the Lake Mead Slam the Dam. I am not backdoor bragging—it’s more to convince myself that these thoughts of not being able to swim—they aren’t well substantiated. I can swim. I swim open water. I am a swimmer.

But then, there was that time I swam in Hawaii when the red flags were up and my world got turned upside down a bit. Sometimes when I am in the open water my thoughts drift to that time I was bobbing around in the water, so close to shore yet unable to just SWIM there…

And you know what I have to say to those thoughts?

JUST. SHUT. IT. DOWN.

And if I can dispense advice to you, do the same. So often I encounter other people who have doubts about their awesomeness, they don’t realize the fantastic things they accomplished and they still think they aren’t worthy…that because they don’t fit the mold of whatever unrealistic ideal society has shoved down their throats, that they should not just GO FOR IT. Like, Carpe Diem and all that jazz. Let me tell you something, you ARE amazing and YOU need to see that. When those thoughts of inadequacy creep in, take a deep breath, squeeze your eyes shut, exhale and just…shut it down.

That’s what I plan to do. I know that when I get in the water in just under a couple weeks, I will be nervous. I will be scared. My plan is to  imagine a little Liz Lemon on my shoulder yelling at me to shut it down. And probably when I am on mile 10 of the run she will be screaming at me.

(Writers Note: literally as I was writing this post getting ready to publish it, I have Scandal playing in the background. Olivia Pope’s monologue went something like this: “If there is a scandal, I do what I am supposed to do. And that is SHUT IT DOWN.” Whoa. it’s a sign.)

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