" Under pressure" The place where I feel most safe
“Being in the water is the place where I feel the most safe”. Many woman scuba divers might recognize this feeling. And as a diver completely submerged, with our body under the pressure of the water that surrounds us, the ocean brings relief, a feeling that is hard to describe, but let me give it a try.
For most of my young and adult life I struggled with two things, being overweight and the mental load we carry as women.
When I was a little girl I always loved to go to the beach. I was lucky to grow up on a beautiful Caribbean island where I was never far from the ocean. My father’s hometown "Le Diamant", on the South coast of Martinique, was my favorite "beach playground" .
I didn’t feel much for the beach itself or to stay on my towel but I loved to be in the ocean. Floating in the water... Just floating around...
Most of the time, my mother was calling out for me “don’t go too far, come back, you can’t stand there”! For me it was an escape, the feeling of being free, immersed in the infinity of the sea, that seemed endless in the mind of a young girl. My family had no clue about diving but even being young I had the feeling that the ocean was the best place I could be.
It took me a while to discover diving. I became a scuba diver years later, in my early twenties. A time where as a young woman you struggle with your self confidence, appearance and social pressure. But in diving I discovered a world where I didn’t need to ‘care’. To care in the sense that the dive community involves everyone, from young to old, people from every walk of life.
Having salt in your hair and sand in your wetsuit, was not something to be too worried about. Especially since at the time our society was not yet taken hostage by Tik Tok and Instagram models. It was all about the experience of diving.
I took my first breaths underwater in a pool in Paris in the middle of winter!
It was the start of my CMAS 1* course and I remember it well. It was a big step from floating around in the Caribbean sea to being submerged in a pool in a big city in cold Europe. And I did submerge and it changed my life forever.
When I completed the pool sessions in Paris I was ‘ready’ for my first dive in the ocean. It was on a diving live aboard trip in the Red Sea, Egypt. That week I remember feeling so happy about the way I spend my days. Excited to have completed the dives, knowing that I could do it and that the ocean had accepted me to its home. Every night when the guests would hang around in the lounge downstairs, I would go to the top deck...to dance, feeling free and happy as never before!
This moment, dancing in the middle of the Red Sea, felt like I could do anything. A feeling that the ocean captured me and would never let me go. A moment I remember years after. And will remember the rest of my life.
I can honestly say that scuba diving changed my life and saved me from my fears, taking over control. A feeling that many female divers can relate to and what makes female divers so positive and powerful.
We do not only dive to discover but it is a sanctuary to ease the thinking mind. Yes even after 15 years of diving and several years as a dive professional, I still feel excitement before every dive.
The adrenaline, the stress when you put on your equipment.
I’m scared to fall and hate the feeling of falling. Something that I need to overcome before each dive. That moment of back roll entry or the giant stride...holding my breath a second before landing in the water and the feeling of the water hitting your face.
Your wetsuit soaks up the salt water and in that moment you decide if the water temperature feels cold or pleasant. But then all the fun starts!
You release the air from your BCD and the water starts covering your mask and face. While I descent into the deep and take that first breath underwater just below the surface, there is a feeling of coming home. The moment you are fully submerged your body responds by slowing down your heart beat.
Your brain stops thinking and focusses on the moment. I am surrounded by the blue and light of the ocean. When I am with students or guiding divers I have to be fully dedicated, but when diving without guests, it is like being in a state of meditation and peace.
I struggled all my life with my weight and being obsessed with appearance and a mind that never stops thinking. It keeps me awake at night for many hours. But the ocean brings relief and my mental health improved through scuba diving.
Underwater is the place where I feel most safe. The mental load of a woman always thinking, doing lists in her mind, this stops under water. Somehow diving lets you focus only on the present moment. And the experience is even better when there are sharks, mantas or critters around. But even in a quarry with nothing to see but the hand in front of you, you can experience the silence in your head that comes with being under water.
When I discovered underwater videography, it lighted a fire in me that is still burning. I love the underwater action and my attention is always to see the behaviour of marine life. When everyone is on the reef wall searching for macro or nudis, I float in the blue looking for something to appear. Enjoying that feeling of the perfect buoyancy. That point where you don’t feel your body, you just float, looking at the blue, feeling like a fusilier. (Those little pretty blue yellow striped fish that swim in schools over the reef or in the blue).
Although we live in Bali now, the last weeks I have not been diving. I spend my time editing new projects...which I love! But I feel the call of the ocean. I need to leave my little office and get out. Go diving, feeling free of boundaries. It’s time to dive!
By Travel2Sea.com, April 6th, 2021
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