In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Apply Yourself.”
It was ten years ago this spring that I had the crazy notion to attempt scuba diving. Now, you must know that swimming has never been one of my strong points. So, to attempt scuba diving was almost asking for disaster, but I threw caution and $400 dollars to the wind.
It was a two day course. I would be scuba dive certified by the end of the day and then have to take an open water test in the future. The night before I had stayed up late. I have always been a night-owl and that has not changed even to this day. I slept in and I was more than an hour late for the class. Lucky for me, I had my own instructor and even though his time is valuable, he stayed for me because he KNEW this would be worth it.
He had been informed before the class that I am in a wheelchair and we would have to adapt some of thing things in the class. The first thing we needed to figure out, how do I float right? You remember that scene in Men Of Honor when they are meeting in the courtroom to figure out if Cuba Gooding Jr’s character, Carl Brashear, would ever dive again after losing his leg? Well, it is true. Those of us without our lower limbs, or in my case, the use of my lower limbs, we don’t float as an able bodied person does. So, weights needed to be added to my ankles so I would keep from my legs floating up above my head. Picture that– UPSIDE DOWN SCUBA DIVER!!! It may look something like this:
This should have been a sign to me that this was going to be a nearly impossible road to travel. But, continue I did. We finally got the weight right on each ankle (45 pounds) so I would float right and then we put on the scuba gear and just got a feel for breathing underwater. I did this portion like a fish! Breathing under water with no issues with equipment or anything, I am really good at that! I loved it! It was truly freedom.
I rallied through the next few skills as though I was born to do this and then came the deep dive and clearing of the mask. Sometimes as a diver water can get into the mask you wear over your eyes, or it can be pulled off by waves or bumping into an object and you need to clear out the water and reseal the mask against your face. This skill requires breathing in through your mouth and the regulator and breathing out through your nose to clear, or push, the water from the interior of the mask and creating a seal again.
Over the next thirty minutes I took it what seemed like a gallon of water. I could not get my body to understand that I wanted to breath in through my mouth and out through my nose hard enough to clear the mask and I would continually breath in through my nose. Pool water shot into my head, causing a panic. Now, as I said before, water has never been my forte’ so, I should have known from the beginning that this was not going to be easy or detours would come.
I just could not get myself to get past that one skill and reluctantly, I decided that my scuba diving days were done. Now, that was not without the pushing of my instructor. He KNEW that I could complete this and I could be a great diver, but I didn’t have the same belief in myself. I was just not born to be a strong swimmer and I was not born to be a scuba diver.
We all have our skills in life. I want to encourage each of you to find yours. And, in this instance, do not follow in my footsteps. DO NOT GIVE UP! Just because something doesn’t come easy, or because you keep hitting obstacles does not mean that you were not meant to defeat those obstacles and do the activity you want to do.
I saw a video online this morning of a young man who has no use of his arms or legs, but he is a drummer. His high school band teacher found a way through IPad programs that he could tap the screen and be a drummer. He is still marching in the marching band and even though you could see him and think, “There is no way HE is a drummer!” He is!
Now, there are certain things that we are not meant to do and those activities are meant for other people to accelerate at. I was never meant to be a football player. This world has many great football players, I am not one of them. After my swimming issues as a child, which I may blog about someday (stay tuned), I should have known that anything that has to do with water is not really for me. There are things that ARE for me and I believe I am on the road to discovering those things now.
I will one day be one of the great writers of this world. I may not write like Shakespeare or Whitman, but I will one day, through perseverance be paid to write. I don’t know if it will be through books or blogging, but I will continue this blog until I hit that one post that goes viral and makes me famous!
What are you meant to do? Are you experiencing road blocks, but you know in your soul it is what you are here to do? Keep at it. The key is to discover is it what you are meant to do, or is it something that you want to do that you really are not meant to do. I was never meant to be a scuba diver. I tried. It didn’t work. I was never meant to be a football player since I don’t have the use of my feet. I am, however, meant to be one of the great writers that the world will know about and I am one step closer with this post and the artistic flow of my craft.
Find what you are good at. Find what is difficult to do and keep working at it. There are things that you are meant to do in this world that will create a ripple of positivity and there are things you are meant to do that will pave the way for future people who have the same roadblocks you are having now. Stay the course. We can’t all be everything, but by God, we are all meant to be something.