I was working on my WinDVD capturing pictures from some of my DVDs some nights back. It was a humbling experience, looking at pictures that remind me that yes, I actually do suck, and *BAD*, at certain things :P Things I suck at, things I lack, there are tons of them but two that stand out most on my mind -
One, my aquatic grace and skills - or the lack thereof :) One thing I am absolutely sure of is that no matter how confident I may be on land and air, I am an absolute clown in the water. I float when I try to sink, and sink when I try to float.
I spent a lot of time on the ocean trying to learn how to float. My expert, state-level swimmer friends did everything they could, they taught me all the tricks they knew, like 'You have to create two little islands in the water!' :P Cute but it didn't help. I just got like 10 shades darker.
Despite all this, I paid a lot of good money for a boat to take me out to the middle of the ocean and do scary things in the water. So they took us to the Great Barrier Reef, where my instructors and my guides had to sit and talk with me for quite a while before I could be convinced to jump into the water. It took them about 15 minutes to convince me to snorkel and almost an hour to dive.
I bravely donned my heavy diving gear, with which I could barely walk because it was so heavy, I closed my eyes and jumped into the water, pretty sure I would immediately sink like a stone, and will have to be shamefully rescued, in front of a boat full of people. I floated.
So here I am bravely jumping into the water, that's me with the pink flippers. So far so good - I didn't sink :D
It was only when everyone I dived with had gone under, and I was the only one still floating like a cork, that I started to suspect that something was not quite right.
When I finally did sink, I knew I was only barely underwater so I was still unafraid. I was, however, the only one to keep complaining that she had water in her mask, or had trouble with the regulator, or that her flippers were coming off. Our instructor would start descending, and we'd follow, then I'd stop and signal furiously that there was something wrong, and he'd come back and check my gear. This is a demeaning feeling, knowing that you're being tended to while you just flail around helplessly, makes you feel like an invalid.
Here he is during one of my false alarms.
A little deeper, and here you can see I'm starting to panic a little and floundering. My friends looked like they were floating on air, and I was starting to seriously thrash around already :P My body just refused to move in the direction I wanted it to.
Because I was holding them up, my instructor took my friends down, and left me, in the mercy of the water :( If they made a movie of the things that went through my head that time, it would make a very interesting movie. Lots of blood and gore, giant sharks, giant squids, and giant blood-sucking nematodes. Being left behind, in the middle of an ocean, only a slippery rope for company, unable to swim, jellyfish and burst capillaries and blocked regulators in your head - not the most pleasant thing in the world. He came back for me later, but hanging there waiting....**shudder** I swear I'm scarred for life.
Anyway, somewhere on our way down, my instructor asked me to change my regulator. I violently shook my head 'NO! Don't take my life support out!!' He signaled me to change it again, I kept shaking my head. So he came and took it out of my mouth. Changed it to the other one. But I couldn't breathe anymore. He saw the fear in my eyes and calmed me down. For like 3 seconds.
Then that was it, I freaked and tried to scramble up, he held me down, which resulted in an all-out fist fight, mostly my fist. I was kicking him and scratching madly at him with everything I had, and he had to let me go.
I don't even remember how in the world I got up to the surface, but I did, and in my panic had forgotten all about my oxygen tank and my regulator. My lungs were bursting, and I broke through the surface, felt air (very good!), and gulped (very bad!). The sea water took that chance to gladly surge into my gaping mouth and down my gutless gut.
I was glad to be alive, but I saw the boat, and the people on it, looking at me. A failure. Scaredy cat. And I felt like such a loser that I wanted to just dive right in again. But I was dragged out of the water and made to eat. I'm sure it was good food, but food just doesn't taste good when you've just helped yourself to generous helpings of water from the Coral Sea.
But anyway, the corals were sure pretty.
And if there's a next time, I will just stick to snorkeling.
Now for my second grudge against God, my height. How many times have I heard the word 'tiny' being used to describe me? I'm okay with my height in India, but once you step out of India and on to the land of giants, is when you start to really hate the words 'tiny', 'small', 'petite' and worst of all, 'short'.
I was the only adult on that boat that day that wore kid flippers. None of the adult ones fitted me. Oh, the shame, the agony! My suits hung loose, my instructor thought I should get a better fitting one, but admitted that he couldn't find anything smaller.
Look at my instructor's massive white flippers. Then look at my pink *ugh* tiny ones. I never thought flippers, of ALL things in the world, would ever conspire against me and be objects that cause me shame!
The skydiving trip also found me trying on a whole range of different suits to find one that would make me look good. In vain.
Look at how snugly and nicely my instructor's black suit weaves around his wrist. And look at my red suit, and my sleeves, and I would like to tell you to also look at my wrists, but you simply can't see wrists. However, if I look closely enough, I think I can see the tips of my fingers. And you wear something like that, and jump from a plane, then you'll feel like you've sprouted wings from the way everything flaps so crazily about and around you. I was wearing my jeans, and two full-sleeved T-shirts under that suit. And still I flapped :(
But I'm not complaining. I would if either my general clumsiness in the water, or my height, had stopped me from doing the things I did. But they didn't. And for that, I am grateful. But, I will continue to date only tall men. Some sort of insurance for my kids if I ever decide to get married :-)