I had always been afraid of the water. My brother had thought it would be funny to push me in the lake when I was five and I have never fully recovered. I forgave my brother fairly quickly because at that point none of us knew how afraid I was of the water. It was the not knowing of what could be lurking in the murky water. I hated not being able to see everything around me. I just knew if I ever went swimming again, an unknown creature was going to sneak up on me under the guise that I didn’t actually know it was there.
It wasn’t until I met the love of my life in the fall of 2013 when I finally decided maybe I should try swimming again. Frank was a huge fan of scuba diving and planned many of his vacations around being able to dive and snorkel. I told him the reality of how I had never been scuba diving before, but didn’t tell him I didn’t know how to swim. At all. Embarrassed as I was, I signed up for private swimming lessons at the local swim complex. I couldn’t lose Frank over a simple fear of water. The first lesson I went to, I had a hard time even getting into the water and was only able to due to the fact I could see the bottom and everything around me. Although my fear of water was far from being under control, at least I was in the water and not having a panic attack.
As I began to learn the strokes, my teacher frequently commented on how long I could stay underwater without coming up for a breath. I honestly had no idea what she was talking about as I had never before put my head underwater on such a regular basis until I started lessons. The more she commented on how long I could hold my breath, the more I paid attention. What I finally learned, but never told anyone, was the fact I could breathe underwater. At last, I was no longer afraid of water and no longer thought I was going to drown. I was now afraid of people finding out about my gills.