Take the Plunge
Written By: Shauna Bhattacharya
Immediately, when we walked through the stone archway, the cliff diving was the main attraction. We went to the stairway to observe the amazing spectacle. Professional divers were doing flips and twists, leaping from cliffs that had over 70 foot drops into the sea below. People from all around the world were enjoying watching others jump, cliff diving themselves, or watching the professionals. Everyone cheered each other on. Everyone I spoke with said that you must experience the rush of diving from the cliff at least once. I was determined to jump! Only, there was one tiny problem...I am terrified of heights!!
As Becky and I slowly trekked up the stairs to get to the top of the cliff, my heart was a hammer in my chest causing a thundering in my mind. The butterflies in my stomach transformed into full-grown, raging bats violent thrashing around. It felt like those bats were trying to rip me apart from the inside out. My inner voice was screaming at me to turn around and run. I swallowed hard, pushed down my fear, and kept trudging onward up the stairs. My head began spinning with apprehension as we approached the top and got in line. The closer I moved to the edge of the cliff the more terrified I became. I counted and watched as each person before me jumped and hit the crystal clear water below. Finally, Becky and I were up at the front. The cliff diving guide explained the directions and mechanics of a safe jump. It was if my body thought it was already underwater because my ears were filled with a thundering white noise. I could not make sense of anything the guide was saying. The next thing I knew, Becky was halfway through the descent of her jump and 30 feet below making a huge splash in the ocean. It was now my turn, as I stood on the brink of the cliff looking out at the horizon then down to the churning waves below, my knees grew weak. I wrapped my arms around my body and gave myself an encouraging squeeze. I closed my eyes letting the calming lapping of the waves against the rocks lull me in to a calmer state. Still, with my eyes shut, I crouched and with all my might jumped off the cliff, soaring away from my fears to the sea below.
Ouch! I felt the sudden slap as my skin met the ocean's surface with a forceful blow. My legs stung as if they were on fire. The watching crowd yelled, "Aah, Owe! Oh!" I could hear the crowd's gasp as they held their breath as the waited for me to resurface. When I was fully submerged under the water I could hear the roar of boat engines and waves smashing against the rocks. The waves tousled my body, but the frigidness numbed the stinging in my legs. I pumped and kicked my legs as hard as I could and finally broke through to the surface. The crowd cheered! I made it!
As, I reached the ladder and pulled my self back ashore, I realized how idiotic I must have looked doing a sitting backflop instead of a dive. My cheeks flushed red with embarrassment and I was silently kicking myself for thinking I could do this! But I did, and that was apparent when I was greeted by my TWJ group. Their eyes shined with pride and admiration. They were also concerned about my legs, which we watched turn from ghost white to angry red welts, then purple bruises. As my legs changed colors, we watched the video replay of my adventure and laughed. No one believed I had jumped after I revealed that I was terrified of heights. The pride shined brighter in their eyes. Even though my legs were throbbing, I felt like I was on top of the world.