She couldn’t do it.
I watched as this woman, whose name I’ll never know, placed her arms above her head, her right hand over her left, and tried to dive into the ocean.
My partner and I were snorkelling, and as I tread water I watched the young woman put a toe in, and then swiftly take it out.
She had hired an instructor to teach her to snorkel. She had the mask on – slowly fogging with the air of panic, and he waited for her to take the leap.
But she couldn’t.
Every part of her wanted to. You could tell by the look in her eyes, the tension in her jaw – you could almost hear her brain begging her body to just dive.
We’re not that simple, though.
If human beings were capable of making a decision and then executing it the world would be a very different place. Often, we make a decision, promise ourselves we’ll drink more water or be on time or eat more fruit and veg, and then, for whatever reason, we don’t.
‘Tomorrow will be different’, we often assure ourselves in bed, before we drift off to sleep. It isn’t, though.
I’ve never been afraid of the water, but a few hours later I found myself in exactly the same position as the woman who never did dive in.
As we were having drinks, I glanced over to the table next to us. There was a couple, who I’d noticed were outrageously friendly to everyone, sitting with about six other people.
They’d all met on the holiday. They’d probably started chatting to the other guests by the pool, and then someone suggested they meet for a drink, and eventually they’d spend every night of the trip together.
They laughed and told stories and connected seamlessly – like it was the easiest thing in the world.
A part of me longed to be able to do that, like the woman putting her toe in the water. But I couldn’t. I’ve never been able to do that. Because I suffer from an affliction called shyness.
I’ve been like that for as long as I can remember.