How do you face fears?
Head on and jump right in? Tip toe slowly and gently...? Deny they're there altogether?
Sun is shining bright, humidity is as high as it has been here on the Mexican playa, and off we go into a small speed boat, venturing into the deep blue.
We go with more people than we were told in this tiny boat - so fear number 1 is ignited: Covid. The risks I've taking by taking a plane, by taking off my mask in the crowded street here at times, by entering stores where the staff doesn't wear masks... were joined by a new friend: a capacity bigger than expected on this tiny boat. After a few long moments of hesitation, we get up on the boat, turning back to see the playa disappearing as we speed away.
Enter fear number 2: Speed boat. This little machinery is no walk in the park. Now I see why the tour company sales rep mentioned we should have a LIGHT breakfast. I hold my hand on the railing for most of the ride, and my fearless mer-man suggests I should 'let go.' Sounds so simple, right? I let go for moments...well, seconds... but when the boat rocks back and forth on the fiery sea - I hold on to dear life.
I look at my left, trail the coast with my eyes, as if to not let go of the ground. When I look to my right, fear number 3 pops its head in: deep ocean. What's lurking there? Will it get me? Will we all come out of this fully formed? My mind goes quick with catastrophic thinking. I wonder if I have watched 'Jaws' one too many times. Oh darn you Spielberg! Great filmmakers leave their mark on ya it seems...
Lo and behold, the boat slows down. We arrive at Marieta islands and I come face to face with fear number 4: Snorkeling in the deep ocean. To my surprise the corals are far and between, and the fish are few and gentle, so I am almost impressed with my ease at this new endeavor. (Not so new - I've deep sea dived a handful of times and snorkeled, but every time feels new and equally as stressful for the fearful mouse that I am.) I follow my mer-man towards a rocky area, and a sudden wave appears in my goggles. I cannot see clearly anymore and for a moment - I think... this is it! No return from this moment. The wave will take me to the rocks and bash my skull in! It's not a pretty thought, but luckily I snap out of it and come to my senses. The ocean is clear and calm again and up I go in the boat again. Sigh of relief and even a smile of adventure.
And off we go to another stop, a beautiful playa to chill out in and take pictures in. Our last stop is at the 'Lovers Beach'. This is the highlight of this journey. A round caved beach you must swim under the caves to get to. This is what I thought I'd be afraid of, but after facing the last four fears... I breeze through the 750 feet of swimming against the currant to this wondrous beach where I can admire the surroundings and admire my journey. I lived to tell. I survived facing my fears today. I didn't see any sharks or sting rays (whew thank GOD) and only came out with a couple of minor bruises. And the Lovers Beach was indeed beautiful.
On the boat ride back I drink a couple of beers and suddenly the speed boat doesn't bother me so much, and the few other people that were a 'covid-hazard' before - seem harmless and actually even cool. Oh how deep the rabbit hole of fears go...
We get back to land, tip our tour guide, and head to wash the salt water off of our hair and slightly sun-burned skin.
It was a journey today. One of facing fears, and one of venturing into sea. For me - they are two of the same.
What fears will I face tomorrow? I wonder.
What fears will YOU?
In April 2020, while experiencing her first ever global pandemic, Tamar Pelzig pledged to write something every day, even if it's only a word, so she welcomed to the world a daily blog to keep her creative writing wheels rolling.
Header Art: Daniel Landerman