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Snorkeling Through the Unexpected Waves of Panic

Yes, it’s March in Colorado, which means we’re in the midst of what is typically our snowiest month of the year. But, because it’s Colorado, it may be in the 60s and Sunny! Or not! Either way, I keep thinking back to our trip to Hawaii in October and dreaming a little. I just can’t help myself.

Photo of me, snorkeling. We brought our new fancy-schmancy underwater camera on this trip, and we had a ton of fun playing with it! I’ll spare you the hundreds of snorkeling photos and videos. You’re welcome.

As you can see by that photo, one of the things I couldn’t wait to do while in Hawaii was go snorkeling. I’ve never gone before, and it sounded like so much fun!

Because the name of the game was Relaxation, we were pretty chill about when we were going to rent gear. The first full day in Hawaii was going to be used to acclimate us to the island, and we’d rent gear the next day.

I love the ocean. I was really looking forward to snorkeling. In the meantime, we were going to frolic on the beach. This was going to be perfect!

My husband went into the ocean and beckoned for me to join him. I happily follow. The warm tide comes in and gently pulls at my legs and waist, and all of a sudden it hits me.

A huge panic attack grips my body. I scramble for a solid footing in the sand. Tears instantly fill my eyes. I’m gasping for air, but I can’t breathe.

It’s no longer 2010. I’m no longer playing in the gentle waves of Kaanapali Beach. It’s 1993, and I’m in Cancun with a group of friends. In my head, I’ve just been pulled under the water by a rip-tide none of us expected. I can’t tell which way is up. I’m being tossed around and pulled out to sea. I’m a strong swimmer, but this lack of control has taken me off guard. I’m frantic. I panic. I’m holding my breath, but there’s no sight of the surface.