Fear Factor

Operation: ocean.

I’m afraid of the ocean. I know, I know, it’s ridiculous. Half of the name of the city I live in has the word Beach in it, which means it’s connected to the ocean. And I’m afraid to dive in. Until yesterday. First airplanes, now the ocean. What’s next? Me having a pet gecko and tarantula? My god I hope not.

It all started back when I watched a Jaws marathon on a vacation to Florida. As a nice Midwestern girl from a landlocked state, I had to wonder, “Why would they even think about showing things like that here?” After that, even the pool required a look-see to make sure no great whites were waiting to rip my limbs off.

My phobia upped its ante later on a middle school trip to a lake, where a fish swam into me. Leave it up to me find the one drunk fish in the lake. After that, bodies of water with critters swimming in them and I made our separate ways. I mean, really, anything that can hold great whites and whales has enough going on it in. It doesn’t need me in the mix.

But yesterday, at a Fancy Friday outing to the beach with the girls, I let Maria talk me into getting in. It was, after all, 99 degrees out. And I just couldn’t take it any more. Sweat was running down my nose like it was the downhill portion of a marathon. So, with her influence (and a partial bottle of rose loosening up my inhibitions), I walked in. I dunked my hair. I got in the ocean. I even got in a second time, with a happy little 2-year-old I borrowed from a friend strapped to my hip. We jumped the waves together. Watching her happiness reminded me, hey, this is fun.

Thankfully, we re-emerged with limbs still in tact.

Not going to lie. I’m kind of proud of me.