Diving into My Lifeby Hunaid Gurji, Sugar Land, TXFear, a disease that sucks up the enjoyment in our lives, is incurable but controllable. It does not matter if it is fear of the dark or of an animal; fear can overtake your emotions and cause great pain. If you have ever felt fear, you know what I experienced when I scuba dived for the first time. After watching many segments on television on how the great white rips open its prey and learning that depressurizing too fast can permanently hurt you, I formulated a fear of deep areas of water, whether the neighborhood pool or the Gulf of Mexico. Yes, you may call me a "scaredy-cat." I confess I was - and take heed of the word "was" - afraid. Last summer, my father invited our family of four to St. Croix, Virgin Islands - his temporary workplace. Because the Virgin Islands are one of the best places to scuba dive, my father scheduled a lesson with professional divers for my brother and me. At first, the thought of swimming with exotic fish thrilled me. But then, with the speed at which adrenaline rushes through the body, my phobia hit me. Seconds after hearing my father's elated news, I reacted with terror. My parents told me to think about it and they would back my decision. But would it be the logical decision and would my parents really back me up? After days, the time came and I had to make a decision: was I ready to dive? Of course, I wanted to dive, but I was afraid. Then my mother took my aside and told me, "Look, son, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You should take it. There is no need to be afraid. God will be with you all the way. You must have faith ... Your worries are mental; wipe them away." For one small moment, I thought that I was dreaming, but reality was with me. This speech encouraged me to strive for this adventure like there was no tomorrow. I told the instructors that I was ready to experience the abyss. We suited up and walked to the beach, a beach where the water reflected a crystal blue color. After reaching a certain depth, we were instructed to start using the regulators and follow the instructions we had learned in class.My word, look what I would have missed! Here was a whole new world where the oceanic life interacted with my own. I touched the white-sanded bottom of the ocean. The grains of the soft sand ran through my hands like silk through my fingers. I saw the coral-forming reefs - some swayed from side to side. I could have seen all this just on a video, but I was experiencing it! From this point, I knew I was not going to let my fear of anything stop me from experiencing life's greatest pleasures. There is so much out there to experience that it is almost overwhelming. I try all options given to me. Most importantly, I learned that fear is just an emotion that tries to play with my mind. It can prevent me from enjoying life. I must wipe it out and go on. I know that my fear is just a mental insecurity that I must ignore and work to better myself. Nothing is impossible. I must scrounge up courage, breathe through that regulator, and explore the worlds life is allowing me to see. ?
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.