I distinctly remember the day my Aunt pushed me into a crashing wave on the shores of San Diego to “remedy” my intense fear of the ocean. I was 4 years old, and my very young parents had just been divorced. My mom took custody of my little sister and me, and joined the Airforce in her best effort to take care of us. Unfortunately, it meant that I had to stay with my relatives while she endured boot camp. Of course, I misunderstood and thought my mom had left me. I was devastated and began to develop a fear of practically everything in the midst of this separation anxiety.
The ocean, in it’s mysterious, overwhelming power, terrified me. Needless to say, my Aunt’s push didn’t help. It only led to my choking down what seemed like a gallon of salt water in between panic-stricken sobs that would later have my little face purple with broken blood vessels. I felt betrayed by my family and violated by the Mother Sea. Lost in my own abyss of hurt, I carried this insult with me for way too long. It took many years of troubled living to sort out my messy pile of resentments. Like waves of the ocean, hard lessons would come crashing into my world as I chose to act from fear instead of love. Miraculously, a breaking point occurred in 2000. My first step was made toward true healing as I entered sobriety.
I had a badass of a spiritual mentor who put me on a fast-track plan of brave actions. She insisted that I learn how to swim- literally. Desperate to feel better, I followed her directions with vigor. Every day, for several months, I took to the shallow lane at the YMCA. To my surprise, I became a fairly decent swimmer. My inner mermaid was ignited!
In my second year of sobriety, a few close buds and I created our own mini-triathon. The Southeastern coast of North Carolina was fierce that afternoon, but I was determined to follow through. Something happens when you hit a tipping point. I was done relinquishing my life to fear. I plunged into that water and sliced through the charging waves with all of my child-like might. Halfway through the swim, I nearly fainted as the chop kept tossing me around. My swim-mate grabbed hold of me, and we took it slowly, together, the rest of the way. Key word: together. My soul opened up to community – a new family of my own choosing, and I found that I never had to face my fears alone again.
Flash forward to my 11th year of sobriety as I snorkeled for the very first time on a Sweet trip to Isla Mujeres, Mexico. It couldn’t have been a *sweeter* experience. My Dear One witnessed my initial head-duck into the water as I squealed like a giddy little girl. The reef was alive and dancing with spectacular color. I had never seen anything quite like it before. This was the beginning of a whole new chapter in my life. Since then, I’ve explored The Great Barrier Reef in Australia, and just recently (& quite reluctantly) returned from 20 magical days on the Big Island of Hawai’i. I am a changed woman. From a frightened little girl to Captain Snorkel~Diddie, my courage outweighs my fears today!
Feel free to peruse my photos, (taken by my brand new Coolpix underwater camera) and bare witness to the glorious sea-life of Hawai’i! If you need some help in planning YOUR snorkel adventure, I strongly suggest www.bigisland.org.
Also, if you want more tips on some of the BEST of the Big Island experience, be sure to look for upcoming articles in Curve magazine!
Sweeties, be sure to hit up Babs, aka Ms. Bomb Diggity, to schedule a snorkel outing with me while in Cozumel.
Shout out to United Airlines! They have a brand new direct flight from Los Angeles, Ca to Hilo, Hawai’i. Less time in the air & MORE magnificent time in the water.
NEXT WEEK: I’ll be posting Part Two of “Becoming Captain Snorkel~Diddie” with video footage & more lessons from the Mother Sea. Stay tuned! xoxo, ~t