Yep, you see that title right there.... that would be me!
It's like official and everything, I have the certificate to prove it! *nods like a proud child on sports day at school*
Anyway I couldn't have done this life changing milestone without the waterfront staff at Mark Warner and the story behind my certificate goes as follows...
I have a fear of open water, deep water and my head being under water... basically, what I'm saying is, I have a fear of water that is bigger than me.
The history of my fear...
This fear stems from several things that happened in the past, which I'm actually having palpitations just thinking about. It is a deep fear which hits my body like someone has put me into a horror film and I'm being chased by a serial killer.
As a child I used to love the sea, it's what happens when you grow up on the Yorkshire Coast. I loved being on the water. I loved being on boats. I loved it all in general. I have never been the strongest swimmer but that didn't matter because I always had a life jacket on. Life jackets are great. They make you float... sadly they don't help when the top of the water is lined with a sail so you can't actually get to the top to breathe.
That is what happened to me, the less than 30 second stint with my head under the water (and sail) felt like a year and the pure panic I felt at the time and after made it worse.
I have never been in the sea since.
I've paddled but never has the sea been above my knees since that very day.
Life With A Fear Of Water....
I have dreams/nightmares about giant waves, being stuck under water, large lakes, the sea, boats... you name it, I've woken up sweating and panicking about it and often that is it for that nights sleep, I'm awake then, This meaning the next day is swallowed by one big huge yawn.
It is one of those fears you can avoid on a daily basis so it has never been a huge deal in everyday life. I can touch the floor in most swimming pools as I'm so tall, so swimming is fine in that sense and on holidays I have just avoided going into the sea as best I could. I would just sit, relax and watch it, which oddly is fine, tranquil in fact. You see I still love the sea, it is one of my get away 'me time' favourites, well, as long as it is at arms length or less than knee deep that is.
Time To Face The Music... well the sea...
Mark Warner Holidays are activity based holidays, with WATER sports at the heart. I had told myself it was OK, I'd just sit and watch and enjoy watching but when asked why I didn't want to go in, my answer felt stupid. Especially as, you know, my husband, special needs child and toddler were doing it, I just looked pathetic.
So whilst laying on the beach watching Hoff on a Kayak, knowing that Kyd was up the shore windsurfing and Rocky was getting ready to go out on a boat too, I took a deep breath and gave myself a talking to... well I was arguing with the little voice in my head actually.
'You NEED to do this Alice' - 'Well I don't do I, it isn't life or death'
'COME ON... If you are going to face this anywhere THIS is the place to do it' - 'Yeah I know, but what if I fall in?'
'Look around you, look at the safety boats, the life jackets, you'll be fine' - 'yeah, but if I fall in I'll drown and they don't see'
I was panicking so much a tear rolled down my cheek.
'Man up ALICE, sort yourself out and get on with it' NOW IS THE TIME - 'but they'll laugh at me'
'everybody laughs at you... what's your point?...' - 'yeah, alright, you have a point'
Then something amazing happened...
I stood up.
I walked over to the little hut with the Mark Warner Beach Front Staff in... and whilst trying not to cry or look pathetic, I spoke to the lad on duty.... I know I'm as shocked as you!
His name was Jake. He didn't laugh. He did smile when I started laughing at myself but he wasn't shocked. He reassured me that I wasn't the first and I wouldn't be the last to be scared of the sea. He said he was a Lifeguard back home in England and that he worked with people who had fears all the time.
I then made a big decision.
Well WE, Jake and I, decided together, that now was the time and that he was the right person to fix me and my phobia. Instead of the 'slowly, slowly, catchy, monkey' approach, we decided that we should just jump right in... but not actually jump in, as that would be a bit too much and that idea makes my heart sink just thinking about it.
I booked myself in for a private kayak session at 3pm that very day!
I panicked, a lot. I was proud of myself in a geeky childlike way. Hoff was gobsmacked. He wasn't expecting to get off the Kayak and hear me say 'I've booked myself in for a private session, I'm going on a boat' after all the 'I'm not doing it's' he had heard on the run up to the holiday. I still had tears in my eyes. I was laughing though. Determined, petrified but laughing.
We got Rocky & Kyd from their kids clubs,
We went for lunch.
We took Kyd back to his kids club.
It was time...
Take a deep breath Alice...
LOOK AT ME!!!
I DID IT!!!
I DIDN'T EVEN CRY!!! Well not out loud...
It was hard though. My whole body was frozen, like I'd seen a ghost in the arctic. My hands were shaking and I was crying a little bit inside but I had my sunglasses on so that Jake couldn't see it. I actually struggled more after the event. I think it was shock that I'd done it but I felt so ill and shaky and Hoff thought it was hilarious. *shakes head*
I feel really sorry for poor old Jake though, I tend to talk A LOT when I'm nervous and we now know each other like we've been friends for years after just one hour... poor sod.
He was amazing though, he took me into the water in my own time. He talked me through EVERYTHING, the tiny bumps, details and everything that goes with it. He laughed at me talking to myself in the back of the boat and he reassured me when I needed it. He was my perfect phobia crusher. He was quite funny too, that helped.
Jake is a credit to Mark Warner and the Waterfront team in Lakitira. I know they are very particular about who they have on their teams and this really shows. The rest of Jake's team were also really supportive. Not once did I feel stupid and that is what I was scared of before that eureka moment on the beach when I decided to take that step.
I'd like to thank all of the Waterfront team at Lakitira, Kos, for just being awesome. Give yourself a pat on the backs from me... patronising much
But my biggest thanks goes out to Jake. Even though he sings really badly on karaoke (which I learnt a few days later) and he embarrassed me by making me go up and get a certificate in front of all those people... I really appreciate his time and effort, oh and the fact that he managed to deal with my constant nervous gabbing in the back of the kayak.
I DID IT... Go Me!!