Fear of the Deep Blue

It’s one of those enigmas in life. Well, my life anyways.

It wasn’t always this way. I grew up on a huge man-made lake; weekends and summers filled with swimming, water skiing, and raisin-like fingertips galore!

I lived for the water. While I didn’t live at the beach growing up, we visited every year. I would soak in the salt water for hours. I was a fish as soon as I could float. My parents couldn’t keep me out of it.

I remember once slicing my foot open on something in the murky deep.

I didn’t care. Patch me up. Send me back in, Mom.

I remember anonymous creatures and vegetation slithering through my legs and grazing my body but nothing could deter me from the water. It was my home.

I remember the day that all changed.

We were visiting Pawley’s Island for our annual family vacation. Eighteen aunts, uncles, and cousins crammed into a house for seven straight days. It was heaven. I was still a fish, spending my days laid out on a float in the water or with my ass in the wet sand to cool off from the hot day. A friend of mine came with me and I found out very quickly that she was afraid of the water.

Color. Me. Flabbergasted.

By this point in my life, I lived in Charleston, SC. In other words, I lived at the beach. How does someone live at the beach and not love the water? I was shocked!

I vowed to get her in the ocean by the end of the week. It was safe. It was cool. It would soothe our red skin that baked in the afternoon sun. It was fun for Pete’s sake!

It took all week, but by Friday, the day before we left, she finally couldn’t take the heat anymore. Not wanting to waste her last day of vacation inside, she slowly made her way to the water to join me, floating blissfully out in the dark water.

She waded out, taking her time to adjust to the cool, ocean waters. When she finally reached me, I smiled in victory and offered her the opposite side of my float.

I won. I convinced her. The ocean was, in fact, fabulous.

That’s when it happened. Sabotage!

The stingray lunged out of the water, approximately ten feet away from our position of floating bliss. My friend’s back was to the creature but my face conveyed all she needed to see. The abomination’s flaps flailed around through the air like one of those wacky, crazy, inflatable arm guys you see in used car dealerships.

My friend didn’t even look. She heard the splash and took off toward the shore. I was right behind her. I left the float, practically running on water like I was the next coming of Jesus. We both reached the shore and collapsed to the sandy ground. My friend glared at me as I laughed at our narrow escape from the hideous beast of the sea! As she stomped away, I stared out into the ocean; the stingray no where to be seen.

It may have been funny at the time, but the damage was done. Seeing it first-hand became too much to handle. What else lurked in the shadowy depths? I never wanted to find out.

I may live at the beach, but the ocean is no longer my home.

Awesomeness Awaits at Yeah Write!

40 thoughts on “Fear of the Deep Blue

    1. Yeah, I think I’m okay when it comes to the ocean though 🙂 Unless I’m in the Caribbean and can see what’s down there!

      1. Oh c’mon, the water’s fine! Don’t mind that stray tentacle over there. And that fin? It’s just for show, promise! 😉

      2. Hah! AHHHH! I’m really just terrified of jellyfish. We have them in bulk in Charleston and those suckers hurt!

  1. I love water, but I hate deep water. I need to be able to hold my breath and touch bottom. If I can’t do that, it’s too deep unless I’m on a boat.

    1. I used to be okay with that too … until I learned sharks have attacked in knee deep water.

      And we had an alligator show up on shore of my favorite beach the other week…. yippee

      1. Thank you! Sometimes I miss it …. and then my boyfriend gets stung by a jellyfish and that goes away real quickly 🙂

  2. Ha! I believe the last time I got in any kind of murky water was when I was fell off some water skis and into a school of jelllyfish. There ain’t enough vinegar (or pee!) in the world to tame that sting.

    1. Hah! Apparently a great white was tagged and has been tracked around the South Carolina coast.

      As if I needed another reason not to get in the water…

      1. Well, just in case they think I have it coming, I’m going to stay out of the beast infested waters!

  3. My moment came while boogie boarding off Pismo Beach when I was in junior high. The dorsal fin broke the water’s edge a few feet from me… I’d gone passed the breakers, waiting for the next big surge to come in, to get the long ride in… and I knew I was done for. I couldn’t out swim it. I had nowhere to escape to.
    Then the rest of the dolphin rolled over, and I could breathe again.
    I went ashore. Done for the day.
    I body surfed for awhile after that, but only the waves close to share, never beyond where my feet could touch… and, honestly, in the last 10 years or so the frequency with which I actually go in the water has dwindled away to nothing. Maybe once in th least 5 years. Maybe.

      1. Of course, because in that moment when all you see is the fin… and your view of that is distorted by the rolling ocean, and the foam, and the adrenaline that just began pumping through your veins in earnest, there is only one thing that fin can be…

  4. omg too funny, the image of you running on water! I kept thinking of a looney tunes cartoon or something. I used to love the ocean too! It scares me to no end, now. Even snorkeling when you can see everything. Who’s to say a shark won’t just wonder in your path. eek!

  5. I love the ocean! But I’ve never seen anything too scary. Even the sharks I’ve seen were reef sharks and way below me. I could see how that could freak you out!

    1. I’d never seen a stingray before and never thought they were in my tiny part of the ocean. For some reason, I thought of them being more tropical. Needless to say, I was shocked!

  6. Oh wow – that is some scary stuff! I like stingrays when they’re swimming in shallow water at the aquarium where my kids and I can pet them as they swim by. But being in a body of water with them? All I can think of is Steve Irwin. Crikey! “…like the second coming of Jesus…” haha – stellar!

    1. The ones I’ve seen at the aquarium are usually okay. They’re a bit smaller though. This one was HUGE!

    1. I’m terrified of jellyfish. Matt got crazy stung last summer and it kind of ruined it for him too. They swarm our beaches. Yuck!

  7. i like how you described your shock about your friend’s fear of water ‘color.me.flabbergasted’ and then later that same fear as you 2 fled from the stingray.

    good read. props, props.

  8. Agh! That’s how I feel about the ocean now. I grew up in LA, so of course I spent every waking hour in the water – that is, until a friend had a close encounter with a jelly fish. That was creepy enough to make me nervous of the water ever-after.


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