Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Jumping Out of My Box

     Well, I did it. I had promised someone that if they signed up for lessons that I would
 take the lessons with them. And even though I was sure they would eventually take the lessons, I felt that I had lots of time and tucked the thought away in my head.
 The time came to sign up and begin the class and although I had said yes, on the inside I was scared to death. See, the lessons were for scuba diving and I am afraid to get into the deep end of the pool. I don't get my face wet or my hair wet in a pool. I love baths and showers, but a pool is a different beast. I have always been afraid of water, ever since I was a child. It was mandatory to take swimming class in high school and before I graduated I could swim across the pool, although not gracefully and never voluntarily. When my children were small we had an inground swimming pool and hosted YMCA swim classes every year. My kids are awesome swimmers, snorklers, water skiers,  boaters, tubbers, jet skiers, etc. They are water rats, comfortable and playful in the water in pools and natural waters. I have always been envious of people that loved the water.
     I visited the scuba store a few times before class began. I had butterflys in every class and it always combined class time with dreaded pool time. I studied and did well in class and on the exams. I was exhausted after each pool time and dreaded the next time in the water. The class was interesting and the instructors extremely knowledgable, kind and patient.But I was still afraid.
     I did learn how to go down and stay in the bottom of the pool, take my mask completely off underwater and put it back on, clearing all the water out. I can tread water and float for 30 minutes. I can do many skills underwater and passed all the requirements.
    Of course, with all sports, having the right equipment is important. I invested in proper gear and even had a choice of fashionable pink mask, snorkel, fins and accents in my wet suit. ALL set to go. On the outside.
    We went to the Atlantic ocean 3 times, making sure the weather was perfect, the waves were minimal and the temperature warm enough. Finally the day came.
     I didn't sleep more than an hour all night. I tossed and turned and was nauseous. We took a morning refresher course in an outdoor pool and everything went fine. After a very short lunch, it was ocean time. We boated out to a reef and everyone jumped into the ocean, one at a time,with an instructor right oin the water waiting for us. All the scuba divers swam like good little fishes right down to the bottom of the coral reef about 30 feet down. All the scuba divers except me that is. The ocean looks even bigger than I thought. The fishes looked calm, and the idea of floating along the coral reef was enticing. But I was terrified. I was a perfect example of a diver out of control. I hung on to the rope like it was my best friend. I was hyperventilating and each time I calmed down, once I began to attempt another descent, the entire process replayed itself.
     Now, yes, NOW was the time for me to get out of the water. Even though I didn't get certified, I am still so proud of myslef for taking the class, making the efforts and actually jumping into the ocean. It was a rush. I will have to take smaller steps and make each one positive so that I can go to the next step.
    Life is all about pushing against the walls of our boxes. Sometimes we knock them dowm, sometimes we just move them a little. But we have to apply energy in order to make it happen.


  1. Good for you. My mother became a diver in the early 90's. I thought she was crazy!! I am an excellent swimmer, love the water, hated the ocean, correction...the fish with teeth in the ocean. I had nightmares of talking fish telling me they would eat me!! Who's crazy? My husband of 7 years is a diver and well to make a long story short I just got certified in Bonaire. It was wonderful. Such a feeling of empowerment to overcome fear, and admire the beauty that most will never experience.

  2. To Texasfoodie418 . . . Thanks so much for sharing your story. It's empowering to step outside our "box", and every step brings confidence and joy in it's own way. Taking the first step is sometimes so hard but if it was easy we wouldn't feel quite so great after we achieved it would we?