Coming from Minnesota, the ocean was a mystery to me.
I knew it was huge.
I thought it had tons of sharks, and creatures yet to be discovered, and huge waves that would certainly drown you.
I thought it was scary.
So when I saw the ‘Scuba-Diving Social Media Internship’– I have no idea why I wanted to do it. My heart sang just a little bit—maybe it sounded bad ass, or maybe the idea was just something different, but I went with it. I applied and was accepted. Without much thinking—but your body knows more than your mind sometimes, so I trusted it, this flow.
But the flow was slightly harder than expected–
Scuba-diving sounds casual, right? Everybody does it, and anyone can do it. So on the first day, I wasn’t expecting a full day of studying. Or hours of videos. Or a whole textbook with two pages of homework after each chapter. And then four quizzes, and one final exam.
..and after, the studying was finally, only kind of, almost over.
Little did I know, the gear required assembly—by me.
Before pool practice, I attempted to the put the pieces in the right places, in the right order— BCD on the tank, bottom strap pull it tight, and then second strap over the nozzle, then regulator—screw it in but only if the regulator is on the right side.. or the left? What’s the regulator exactly? Who’s breather is what?
I spent two hours in the pool, and the only thing I remember is that first breath.
Inflater in hand, tank strapped to my back, I slowly began to descend.
The water slipped, cooly, over my chin as my head began to seep beneath the surface.. once my lips were chilled, I couldn’t just breathe anymore– I couldn’t take oxygen for granted. I held the last bit of exhalable breath in my chest, as the water cut my vision in half—between palmy leaves and a blue glow. It flooded my ear canals and slammed an invisible dam.
And I prepared to grasp for air—
But everything was silent.
Everything was blue.
Everything was slow, and steady, and black specks of dirt drifted upwards, and fallen leaves hovered.
Air swooshed down the cords and my throat like a chilly breeze, and inflated my lungs.
Sweet, pure, oxygen.