Hi! My name’s Juanita, and I’m afraid of deep water. Yes, it’s true. I have this thing about water that’s deeper than I am tall, which is not very deep considering I’m only 5’2″ tall. I’m not a great swimmer, but I can swim if I know when I put my feet down I can touch the bottom. When I can’t touch the bottom, I panic and sink like a rock (hanging head in embarrassment). I’m not scared to go under water, but I can’t get over this fear of deep water.
Hoping to become a better swimmer, I actually took swimming lessons last summer. After 2 sessions of lessons, I still had to be coaxed off the wall in the deep end of the pool, even while I’m hanging on for dear life to a noodle around my middle with one hand and keeping a death grip on the instructor’s hand with the other. It was pitiful, folks, and I have no idea how I’m going to get over the fear. Some fears I don’t mind not getting over, like my paralyzing fear of snakes. I have no desire to get comfortable with those creepy crawlies. Shiver. And if I see one anywhere around my house, I’d probably put my house up for sale that very day. But my fear of deep water nags at me, and I really, really want to be comfortable in the water.
So I went to the beach with my friends recently with this fear of deep water. And I promised them that one day before we left I would actually get in the ocean. This is how I preferred to spend my time at the beach:
I finally made it out into water that was chest deep and took a beating from the waves, but I went into the ocean. If my friends could have persuaded me to go out a bit deeper, the waves wouldn’t have broken right on top of me, pushing me towards the beach, but I couldn’t get past my fear. Sigh.
Then, there was this discussion of parasailing. Enter my second nagging fear, the fear of heights. I don’t like being up high. Airplanes are fine, but I nearly froze driving up Mount Evans in Colorado when I got above the tree line and saw how high up I was, and there was no guard rail. And then there was that time I was going to try zip lining. I climbed up this wooden tower and out onto this ridiculously narrow platform that seemed to be miles above the ground and got hooked into the harness. I’m shaking from head to toe when the panic hits, and I’m nearly hysterical, telling the zip line attendant to, “GET ME DOWN! GET ME DOWN!” You can laugh if you want, but I was in full panic mode looking at how high up I was. So I hung my head in shame, and climbed down the tower on legs of jello and watched my friends have the funnest 20 seconds of their life flying across the tree tops.
So parasailing. It would combine two of my biggest fears, deep water and heights, but yet, it looks so fun. The question my friends were asking me was will you do it? But the wind saved me. The day we were going to go parasailing was too windy, and parasailing companies were not operating. Secretly, I breathed a sigh of relief!
So I’m thinking of all these things when we meet our friend John and his now wife, Kristy, for breakfast before their wedding. Somehow the subject of parasailing and my fears comes up, and Kristy says something I can’t forget. She tells me that the fear is just my brain telling me the activity isn’t safe. So I have to tell my brain that it IS safe, and just go for it. Hmmmm…
And then she challenged me to set a dare bucket list. So I’ve been thinking about that because despite being afraid of deep water and heights, some things that involve both of those look like a lot of fun. Over the years, I’ve discovered I’ve missed out on a lot of fun because of fear, and I refuse to let fear control my life anymore. So here is my dare bucket list (does putting this is writing mean I really have to do these things? Gulp.):
- Zip lining
- Swim in deep water
- Cross the bridge at the Royal Gorge
Maybe I’ll add to the list as time goes on, but these are the things that I’ve wanted to do but am held back by fear. I’m sweating just looking at the list. I hope I can find my courage, convince my brain that these activities ARE safe, and just go for it!
What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done?
What’s something you want to do but are scared to try?