After I Lost my Ability to Walk, I Learned How to Fly (underwater)


After I Lost my Ability to Walk, I Learned How to Fly

I can still remember the planetary toys I had when I was around 6 years old. It was not just a “want” to explore the galaxies but a definite need. I grew up fantasizing the world without gravity.

I remember waking up one morning with the sharp tingling sensation coming from my legs down to my toes. I didn’t know what to do so I started screaming. The next thing I know is that doctors were running x-rays, CT scans and MRI on me. After all the tests they made, all I heard was that I have a tumor in my spinal cord. I underwent several therapies and diagnosis.  Time went by and more than I didn’t want to believe the doctors, my limbs cannot back me up – I cannot feel them. I have complete paraplegia. I cannot walk or even stand on my own. I am imprisoned in my wheelchair for eternity.

After I Lost my Ability to Walk, I Learned How to Fly

I may have lost control over my legs but never would I allow damaged nerve cells to have control over my whole life. I researched the things that I could do and kept my hopes in line then I discovered my refuge – diving.

Yes, it possible. I made it happen. It all started when I participated an annual event by an organization who takes differently abled to go diving. They took us in Malaysia, we started off with an orientation together with the volunteers and instructors.

What may seem a regular activity for able-bodied people was rather an extraordinary experience for me. The moment volunteers lifted me up my wheelchair was the moment I knew my life would change. Despite being nervous in taking my first dip, I exhaled my anxiety and inhaled courage. I had difficulties at the initial stages but with the help of the competent instructor, I got the hang of it.

After I Lost my Ability to Walk, I Learned How to Fly

I loved the idea of breaking a tradition such as breathing through my mouth instead of my nose and getting away from my wheelchair. I can’t even express in words how enlightening that very moment was. I experienced an incredible philosophical shift, it was out of this world.

After a while, I learned how to get neutral – neutrally buoyant where I was weightless, just hanging at whatever depth I was, floating along neither sinking nor rising.  In the depths of the ocean, I reached the most alien world filled with the strangest creatures I dreamed of as a child. This right here is where my childhood longing lies. This is where my body is connected.

After I Lost my Ability to Walk, I Learned How to Fly

 

I literally felt like flying in space just without the expensive rocket but only my diving gear. I may not have reached the universe just yet but I can proudly say that I flew over the bottom of the Earth and I guess that’s sort of the same thing. It came to me that diving brings the most unutterable sense of freedom.

After my very first dive, even my damaged nerve cells wanted more of it so I started studying the art of diving and exploring every possible ocean that I can dive in. I confused being a diver into wanting to be an astronaut as a child. But now that I have come to my senses, I know that this is it, this is my destiny, I was born to be a diver. I still firmly believe that the possibilities in this world, just like the universe are infinite.

 


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