Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Ledge

You are standing on the ledge, and I am standing slightly behind you, holding your hands tightly. You have been here before. Only this time, this ledge is even higher, the fall even further down and the person holding your hand then was someone else. You recognize this, and you feel your life has come a full circle, and you didn't make it anywhere near where you wanted to be.

You asked me to look down, at all the things you have pushed down or fell off the ledge. I take a step nearer and look down. I see shattered dreams, broken hearts, bruised confidence, and unresolved passions at the bottom. You keep looking down but I keep looking at you. I tell you it is okay, I am still here. But you don't see me. You refuse to look at the safer grounds that we are standing on. And I break down in helplessness.

I turn your face to look at me. See me. I am here. Then as the wind blew hard, you took my hand and start crawling back to safer grounds. We crawl slowly, and I feel safer... for you and for me. But in an instant, as if the ghosts of the valley calls to you, you let go of me and start running back towards the edge. You tell me there is nothing to live for on the safer grounds. That all you built was down in the valley. Shattered. You just had to mourn them one more time. I run after you, because I promised I will not leave you alone ever again.

As we stand and mourn, I get tired from standing. I feel like letting go off your hand, but am afraid that you will jump or I will fall of the ledge. I keep looking at the safer ground, and wonder when we will ever make it back. Then as I feel my grip on you loosen, you tell me that I have pushed you here to the ledge. I keep telling you I do not have the energy to hold on, but you insist that the stand won't be for long. So I stare ahead, trying to take in all the beauty of the view from the ledge. To draw strength to stand there longer. But as I stood going weary, I had to unload certain weights in my life, in order to keep standing next to you. By choice, I start throwing things that I had built and wanted down to the valley. This depresses you more. And you feel you have no choice but to push me to safer ground, and force me to leave you at the ledge.

I stand on safer ground, calling you. "Look at me". You do not hear me. So I choose to run to the ledge and decide to jump. You grab me and ask me why I do this. I do not know. Maybe it's because I am tired on running back and forth. Maybe it's because I too have nothing else on safer ground to live for. And maybe, just maybe, I wanted you to know how it's like to see the love of your life stop fighting the fight, giving up and leaving you behind. This was the threat and you felt no greater betrayal. 

You finally sit at the ledge and ask me to sit beside you. You said that having me sit here calms you down. Helps you from wanting to jump off the ledge. But you feel me shiver. And you asked me why I feel so insecure and unsafe. "I am afraid of heights, Baby." It never came to your mind, that I would be afraid of anything. So you ask me "What now?" I plead you to look at the ground we sit on, stand on. And look further ahead, to the safer ground. There are new dreams to built, new passions to explore, new families to embrace. And I want to be there with you when you finally make it there. I will be with you every excruciating step of the way. I would scrape my knees, bear cuts on my fingers, withstand hunger and thirst, if you would step off the ledge and walk with me back to safer grounds. 

So here I am, standing with you on the ledge, holding your hands. What do you want to do? What do you decide? 

Monday, May 11, 2009


I love the getaway...beaches has always been my thing. Tioman was a lovely place. And of course, I love the person that was sharing my first experience in diving. But I hated to learn how to dive! I will try not to bore you with too much details, but I might have to narrate it dive-by-dive (if I can recall clearly, 'cause my brains could have been fried by the amount of nitrogen that went in).

Dive 1
Find a buddy. Effortless.Get into the wet suit. Easy.
Learn about the equipments. No problem.
Carry equipment from deck to shore. Nearly fell.
Going into the deep ocean water for the first time. Panic.Must breathe through mouth instead of nose. Almost impossible.
Clear mask underwater (letting stinging sea water into the mask and blowing it all out). Mind blowing.Bobbing up and down in shallow waters (about 3m) for a long time. Motion sickness. Need to throw up, but might choke and die underwater. Decided to call it a day.

Dive 2
After spending the whole night freaking out to Red, I thought I managed to convince myself to be better at this. It took me no more than 5min in the water...I started panicking. All I wanted to do was come out of the water. Surface. Surface. Let me go dammit! The dive instructor held me down, signaled for me to breathe. Cleared my mask. After gaining back some level of sanity, we joined the rest of the group and started repeating all the skills we have learnt. But we had 2 new skills to learn in this dive. I managed to survive without further incidents and with my confidence in tact.

Dive 3
After lunch we suited up and went back in the 
water. Additional skills to learn:
- Removal of weight belt underwater (this required us to take out the weight belt, hold it in one hand, do a body roll to put the belt on again). Not that difficult, just tricky as I got disorientated when I was TRYING to roll in water.
- In an out-of-air situation. This one nearly damn killed me. I so wanted to die in this session. Literally. Took me a long time before I was calm enough to purposely remove my air supply underwater, take Red's alternate regulator (they call it the octopus) only to realize it could not work! I had no air! I threw out the octopus, panicking, grabbed my own regulator, gulped what seemed like tons of sea water, choking for air, and then tried hard to breathe once I got air in my lungs. After the instructor checked the equipment, he seemed to think it's safe now for me to repeat that unnatural act of choking underwater. This time it worked better, but nonetheless, I still gulped plenty of sea water as struggled to get the octopus into my mouth. (I wonder if any small plankton or fish went into my body). As if that was not bad enough, the next was to share my regulator with Red. If this is not an act of "I will die for you", then I don't know what is. At every interval where the regulator was with Red and I was gasping for air, I swallowed sea water, choked more, panicked even more. Lucky for me, it's his face that I am looking at. Although I really felt like crying, I eventually calmed down because I knew this man would not let anything happen to me. 
- We apparently learnt how to fin like a dolphin. I think I looked more like a half dead salmon.

Ended with a cramp on my right foot only to realize later that I sprained my ankles. It begin to swell and I had to call it a day. The girls went back in for another dive, Red stayed with me (ON DRY LAND).

Dive  4 - 7
Woke up and found my bikini missing. Spoilt my mood. Borrowed swimsuit from Bec. Limping around with swollen ankle. Suited up, got onto speedboat, posed for a group shot and mentally prepared for FOUR boat dives in a day.
It was unnerving to imagine holding on to mask and regulator, sitting at the edge of the boat and flipping backwards into the sea. But once you get a hang of it, this is actually the best part!Can't explain the sense of calm as you crash into the water, breathe with ease, look up at the clear water from beneath and slowly floating to surface.
The four dives were all quite similar but yet held very different experiences for me. The deepest we went to was 23metres. This was Dive 6 and because my ankles were busted, I was being towed around by the instructor. These boat dives were indeed more relaxing and fun compared to the earlier learning shore dives. However, I still found myself from time to time panicking and wanting to surface. 
Things I experienced/saw in these 4 boat dives:
1. REALLY cold waters when we reached below 20metres. 
2. You could not only feel the current underwater, you can actually SEE it.
3. Swam through narrow tunnels of corals. I think they are corals. It can't be real caves can it?? LOL
4. Was left alone in the deep blue sea for a few terrifying minutes while instructor tried to locate the rest of the group.
5. Saw amazing sea life - turtles, clown fish, shark, school of barracudas, really tiny red fish, stingray, FISH, FISH, FISH an FISH. They were all beautiful. Thank God we didn't come ascross jelly fish. I would have freaked.

To add to the difficulty, after ALL that we endured, we had to sit for a written test. Thankfully, we all managed to pass (with the help of an open book and unethically asking each other). Celebrations were in order and we drank to our 'success'. I still cannot believe till today, that miraculously, I am now a certified scuba diver! :D