Fear of the Deep

Hamdi Hussein, Writer

This is how I overcame my fear of water. It is not the typical fear of huge water or oceans, but the fear of drowning.. Again. I once drowned when I was in the 6th grade and it will forever be a day to remember.

It was a sunny summer afternoon when a few friends of mine and I decided it was a good idea to go for a swim. We made our way to our apartment pool. Shyla, my best friend/neighbor and her brothers dove and cannonballed into the pool, while I hung onto the edges for dear life. Thinking back to when I was around the deep end, between all the giggles and excitement, my hand must have slipped because I felt myself sinking. At the time I’m not sure how tall I was, but I will guess 5’1 and I was terrified, considering the deep end I was sinking in was 8 feet deep.

I was squirming for what felt like hours when Shyla’s younger brother extended me his hand and pulled me out. Looking round I sat on the chair in confusion and did not really say anything for a while. I was trying to wrap my head around what just happened and I think that day I understood what people meant when they say:  “My life flashed right before my eyes.”

Fast forward, 3 months later I was sitting in Language Arts class and kind of zoned out. Not asleep but just staring into nothing, and my mind went back to that moment. I jumped out of nowhere and, based on the horrified look on my face, my teacher noticed and felt like something might have been wrong and excused me into the hall. I did my best to explain what I was going through and she explained how in the future, if I didn’t deal with this head on and face my issue I was never going to overcome it.

After school that day, I caught up with Shyla and let her know what I had in mind. 

She looked at me very surprised and said, “Are you sure?” She was considering the events that took place last time.

“Yes, I’m sure,” I said. “I just need to overcome this and I will be okay again.”

“Alright,” she said with the look of uncertainty evident on her face.

We made our way to the pool, and that was when I became overwhelmed with all of those feelings of “what if’s” and froze in my tracks. Shyla, however, cannonballed into the water and made her way back up. Staring at me, wondering  why I hadn’t gotten in yet, she reassured me she would help me if anything happened. She would be right next to me, but still I remained frozen.

Finally, I took a deep breath and convinced myself it was all in my head. I walked around the corner, made my way to the stairs, and slowly trudged down into the water.

As the water enveloped me, “It’s not as bad as I thought,” I said to Shyla.

“I knew you could do it!” she squealed.

I began moving my legs as she coached me, and I began to doggy paddle. It wasn’t the best form considering I was rather still, but it was on that day that I decided I would commit to at least 30 minutes of this every other day till I learned on my own. “Striving for progression, not perfection,” Anonymous. The goal here was to get better each time and not to get it perfect, because I was not anywhere near perfect.