Remember It’s OK – It’s OK to be Scared

I’m going to take you back to a day in the summer before I started sixth grade, when my mom was making me try out for a swim team. 

Mind you, the last time I had even been in a swimming pool was when I had taken lessons at Goldfish. I didn’t know what she was expecting, but I went along with it because my mom always made me feel confident in my abilities. 

My whole life, she’d always tell me I could do it, and because of that, I just could. That, and I wasn’t old enough to have a legit opinion.

You’ve probably heard before that you can never forget how to ride a bike or swim. That day for me, the latter was true. I remember starting off the first lap strong. I was really doing it… until the pool floor dropped. 

Suddenly I felt stranded. Each side of the pool felt a long ways away. I stopped and began to thrash around and completely forgot how to breathe. 

I had never been that scared in my life. I was also humiliated and wanted out of there as fast as possible.

It’s funny because my zodiac sign is actually a water sign, but since that day, I’ve had this fear of swimming in waters deeper than 5’2 (coincidentally my height).

The Youtube algorithm should have known this (since the internet knows basically everything about you), but it recommended to me the video “One Breath Around The World,” anyway.

The video shows a man (world champion freediver Guillaume Néry) taking a huge breath before diving into the ocean, only to resurface at the end of the 12 minute video. 

Although I’m pretty sure I had a serious case of thalassophobia, and still kind of do (you’d be crazy to not to be afraid of the ocean), the video made me rethink my fear.

Néry described the experience of freediving in a TED talk, and it hit me: as humans, we live within our boundaries, and are always comfortable. Entering an alien underwater world pushes man to the limits, and most people never experience anything like that in their lifetimes.

I don’t want to live a life I regret. If I continue to be afraid of water, I’ll never be able to experience the things he described. I’ll never be able to experience the feeling of flying or the humility that comes with the vastness. 

The next time you’re afraid, you need to ask yourself “what might I miss out on?” 

You only live once, so you might as well make the most of it. Seek to push your limits and try things you don’t want to. I haven’t actually gotten around to experiencing being completely submerged in a body of water yet, but I’m going to do it one day. I’m going to face my fears and make memories I’ll be glad I made.