Crying Underwater

I thought I did everything right today. I made sure to drink a lot of water and I ate a chicken breast foot long sub for protein and energy.

I sat in my financial wellness class and focused on relaxing. I reminded myself that while I was nervous, I could definitely complete whatever tasks came my way today.

I am in the second group for my scuba class, so I came in early to practice some skills. Justin and I were at the pool this weekend practicing my mask clearing skill. I finally got it and was so proud. I told Carol that I did it and she was proud too. Now she wanted to see me do it.

I leaned back against the wall. I took three long deep breathes in and let them out slow and long.

Relax, Ashley, I told myself. Just relax.

I closed my eyes. Threw myself under water and visioned Justin on the other side. I told myself he was holding my mask and his hands would keep me calm.

But something went wrong. I got frantic and I thought I couldn’t breathe any longer. I came up too soon and my snorkel wasn’t cleared.

“Did you get it,” Carol asked me. “Looks like you did!”

I could have lied. I could have said yes and never looked back. But I didn’t get it. And lying won’t get me anywhere.

“No, I didn’t,” I said back.

“Well, what happened!?!” she asked.

I choked, I wanted to say.

“The snorkel came up and I didn’t grab it in time,” I said.

“Oh, okay,” she said. “Well if that happens again just flip it around.”

I tried again and didn’t get it.

“Well, I don’t want to rush you,” Carol said. “You just keep practicing.”

My buddy helped me out a little bit more.

“I just need to relax,” I told her. “I just need to do this for me. I mean, the reason I am here is because Justin wants to scuba dive on our honeymoon.”

“I know,” she said and laughed. “I told my boyfriend if he wants to marry me then he has to learn how to scuba dive. I told him about you and getting married and going scuba diving on your honeymoon.”

Maybe, I thought.

We put the equipment together and jumped into the water. I, of course, couldn’t sink.

“Something wrong, Ashley?” Carol asked me.

“I just can’t sink again,” I said slightly choking on water.

Why can’t I sink!?! I am trying toooo hard!!!!

I attempted to go down again and nothing worked. I was crying. I started crying underwater. I just don’t get it….I was ready to get out of the pool and thank Carol for her time. I looked at the door and thought I would do anything to leave. Just walk out.

But I didn’t.

Carol gave me another weight and I sankright to the bottom. About time.

Since everyone had already learned the skill, I had to try to teach myself. I think I got it. But then came the scary party.

Buddy breathing.

You literally take yourself off the regulator and share your air with your buddy. It sounds easy, or maybe it doesn’t. But I was anxious. She didn’t show us how to do it– she just explained it. And I did to watch it. I need to try it. I’m not an auditory learner.

My buddy and I went under water. Only after I asked a million times what I was supposed to do. She probably hates her life for saying yes to being my buddy. But we did it.

“Okay, now swim a lap around the pool and do this in the deep end,” Carol said.

Get real, I thought.

My buddy looked at me and said, “Well are you ready?”

“No,” I said.

“What is wrong!?” She asked.

“I just don’t feel comfortable!” I explained.

“Everything okay ladies?” Carol asked.

“I just don’t feel comfortable…” I said back.

It was the truth. I wasn’t prepared yet.

So I practiced side by side with the student intstructor. And then we did a lap together in the shallow end.


By golly, I didn’t go in the deep end and do it — but I sure did it in shallow end.


At home, I was eating our MCL dinner alone. Waiting on Justin to get home, I just kept thinking about how bummed Iwas that I don’t get things right away. And how I am always the last one to catch on. I was having a serious thought attack. With tears filling my eyes, I heard the door opening.

My love.

Soo, tell me what happened at SCUBA today,” Justin said laughing. I text him earlier and gave him a warning that I wasn’t so sure about myself.

“I just– I just don’t get it,” I said. “I’m trying sooo hard. I’ve never tried sooo hard at something and never gotten it.”

I started crying.

“I was crying under water. I looked around and saw other people in class doing crazy things like flips and having a blast. And I was just trying to get down to the bottom. I was just crying..”

Justin looked at me and smiled.

“Stand up,” he said. “And put that napkin out of your hand.”

He grabbed my hand and lifted it in the air like we were about to dance.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“All my life, I prayed for someone like you,” Justin started singing.

That’s our song. Our first dance song at our wedding. He was singing it to me. And I was crying. But this time I wasn’t crying because I couldn’t do something that I thought was impossible. Rather, I was crying because I believe a love like this is possible…he means the world to me.

“I love you so much,” I said with a salty tear falling into my mouth.

“I love you too baby,” he said.

He kept singing and then I looked up at him with my blurry eyes and gave him a kiss.

“And I’m so proud of you Ashley,” he said. “So proud. Think about how far you have come since day one. You swam the 300 meter on the first day. And you even did pretty good on the first day. You almost got the 50 feet under water swim and I barely got 25. I am so proud of you.”

Maybe I should be proud of myself too.

Much love,

2 thoughts on “Crying Underwater

  1. Justin is right. 🙂 You should be proud of yourself. Every time you get in the water you're doing it, you didn't quit. Your courage and spirit are a constant inspiration for me, on the real. (Oh, and, the new hat is what's up!) 🙂

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