Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Why am I so afraid of the water?

"The sea was angry that day my friends, like an old man trying to send back soup at a deli."

It’s a necessity of life for me to be near a water source.  Currently I live on an island, which works for me.  No matter where I drive to, I will always hit the ocean.  Lately, I’ve been going to the beach by myself.  It’s been so wonderfully amazing.  I take a book, my iPod, a sandwich and I’m all set.  I roast and heat my body temperature up for a good half hour.  Then I venture to the waves to cool off.  I start off by putting dipping my feet into the water.  I inch my way, cautiously, into the blue.  Without warning, a large wave will always come crashing down.  I find myself inching my way back to the safe sand.  Then, I say to myself, “Just go for it!  Get in there and play in the water.” Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t.  I’m not sure where this fear has come from.  Over the past few years, I have really had a fear of the water.  Maybe, this fear, developed in my childhood.  Growing up my family had a pool with a diving board.  I would often go to the tip of the diving board and ponder about jumping in.  Just as I made peace with jumping into the pool, I would hear, “Thump! Thump! Thump!”  One of my brothers would be running down the diving board.  I would freeze up, like a deer caught in the headlights.  This freeze motion would not save me from the enviable result of finding myself unprepared to enter the water.  My big brother would give a massive push on my back and in I went.  Once I recovered from the shock of being pushed into the water, I would get out and make my way back to the sallow end.  It was safe, far away from my big brothers tormenting me.

Maybe, my fear stems from the unknown.  The ocean is dark and murky which makes it difficult to spot anything that may be swimming close by.  Whatever the reasoning, it bothers me.  All I want to do is play in the waves.  I want to cover my skin in the salty water.  I remember growing up, we would summer in our family's small cottage on the beach.  The water on this beach was very calm and shallow.  I remember I would always make one of my siblings or a cousin carry me in the water.  Afraid to put my feet down on the ocean floor.  Fearing, that a crab may nibble on my juicy toes.
They would carry me deep enough so that I could swim and I wouldn’t have to touch the bottom of the ocean.  I remember holding on to them for dear life. 

This summer I’ve gone for a few, late afternoon swims with my friend The Snake Charmer.  The other day we went in for a dip and she said to me, “Wow, I’m really surprised how deep you are.”  My reply, “I know!  And I keep putting my feet on the ground.  Normally, I just keep treading water.  I’m getting better and it feels so good.”
We swam around for an hour or so before making our way back to the beach and enjoying “Buck a Shuck” and a cold drink.  I love being in the water so much.  It's spiritual and cleansing.  I should not be crippled by fear.  It was a great day being able to wade around in the water.  I can't wait for my next swim!  Everyday I brush my fears from my mind.

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