A dive to remember
This is how I walked into the ocean that afternoon. Smiling, ready and prepared to dive. Scuba diving is not something you get to do on every trip and thinking of that, I had convinced myself that I’ll give it a try.
I had read a bit online, spoken to a few friends who had dived before and even dreamt of those movie-like moments where it would be all magical and surreal. I would walk into the sea, swim near colorful fishes and see corals up close.
The reality was entirely different.
I registered, signed a couple of disclaimers, wore the gear and walked into the water holding hands. Then, I couldn’t stay strong and kept on losing my balance. I realized how standing on the ground is so much easier and tells you that it will not shake. A firm foot on the piece of land you stand gives you confidence. I did not feel that. The sand beneath my feet kept slipping away.
Meanwhile, I learnt all the hand signals and quickly memorized them. They were simple. The instructor told us how we will dive meter by meter. No rush and no issues even if we can’t reach the seabed. It will all depend on how comfortable we feel and our ability to bear the pressure under water.
To the instructor, I seemed ready. He did not see that I wasn’t able to let go of VT’s hand. In a couple of minutes when I let go, I grabbed my instructor’s. Some things are better observed than told. Every wave would jolt my short frame and the vast sea in front of me was building its presence. The moment I would find a stable speck of sand, it would get washed with water and I would feel like a child again struggling to ground myself.
There was fear and the sea was all around. A look at the horizon was overpowering my will to attempt a dive. Standing in neck-deep water, I realized how I could not see anything but water ahead of me. My eyes were covered with those waterproof goggles and my nose wasn’t completely blocked to be able to breathe through the mouth. I struggled and held my breath. Released and used my nose. The technique wasn’t working well.
At that moment, the instructor told me to get my head under the water. Still holding his hand, I went down. As water splashed on my face and the goggles, I panicked. I came up in milliseconds and gave up.
No, I don’t want to dive.
It’s okay. I am good but I don’t want to go further.
I meant what I said and I accepted how I felt. No, it wasn’t that the instructor did not give me enough time. It also wasn’t that the goggles did not fit me well. It didn’t matter if I had known swimming. There were no excuses.
I was scared and I gave up.
And it’s okay. It’s okay to be scared and to give up. We needn’t fight all battles we face. I had a choice and I chose not to dive. I am not upset about the fact that I did not try. Maybe I will give diving a second chance, but at that point I was okay to let go. Life is not as short to not take chances. I learnt that I cannot beat myself up for giving up.
I realized all this on my attempt at scuba diving. It was a dive and a lesson to remember.
Writing for YeahWrite #302 today.