(this one isn't about swimming, but it is about how I see myself as an athlete.)
I've been thinking a lot about this woman who was in my gymnastics class last night. She's a lot like I was about 12 years ago and I found her SO annoying. She was incredibly pessimistic. She, and a guy, and I were in the "newbee" group, the other 4 in the "veterans" group. The instructor would give us a skill to work on, and she'd immediately start with the "oh, I don't think I can do that" and "I hope I don't hurt myself" and "I must look like a fool." She flirted with the guy in our little group. Couldn't stop talking to him when the instructor was talking. Teased him, etc. At one point she said to me "you lose 13 pounds in the first 12 weeks of this class. Or at least I hope so" About 45 min into the class we were working on running cartwheels and she decided her ankle hurt too much to keep doing them. So she sat and watched the rest of the class (though she almost got "better" when we moved to the trampoline.)
I'm not sure why I'm thinking about her so much today. Perhaps because she was a good example of how far I've come. I'm not in it for the weight loss. I don't try to pick up guys EVERYWHERE I go. My self talk is much more along the "come-on reebs, you can do this" line. In fact with the running cartwheels I did the first one, and fell. And the instructor said "you just went for it. Good job!" I was so proud. I did just go for it. Forgetting fear. Realizing you have to learn to fly to do this skill. I found pure joy in that moment. And it was spectacular.