In a word: YEP!
However, I was entirely un-emotionally-prepared for what happened during my first two seconds under the water.
To help you understand, I need to take you back to my life 27 years ago.
I was living with my mom for the first time since I was two years old. My mom is mentally ill so it is hard to be around her but it was better than living with both of my step-grandparents (yes, both steps). The psychological abuse in their home was more than I could handle so one day I loaded my suitcase and a friend helped me drag it around the block, down the quarter-mile of train tracks, and around another block to my mother’s apartment. My ‘grandparents’ threatened me that if I did not come home I’d be written out of the will. I rather impolitely suggested they keep their money.
Like many apartments there was a small swimming pool. I spent so much time in it I had patterned tan lines on my skin where the sun had permeated the white stripes on my bathing suit. That’s a lot of swimming!
The pools aboard the Crown Princess are of a similar size to the one that was my second home. When I slid under the water for the first time, I was back in that pool.
Sixteen again. Free again.
I was not baptized by religion until I was in my teens and the sensation was eerily similar to the experience of being submersed in those holy waters.
Exhilaration enveloped my whole body.
While still under the water tears came to my eyes while I smiled. As my head breached the surface I blinked away the salty, chlorine-y water from my eyelashes. I was seeing the world for the first time. Again.
“I have to bring this back,” I nearly blurted aloud.
I was changed.
I knew it.
However, not only did I put myself in those healing waters I walked to them clothed only in my swimsuit. No cover up. No towel to hide behind. Just me and my orange flip flops with the white hibiscus flowers on the soles which make no sense but amuse me just the same.
Cruising from our port side aft cabin on the Riviera deck, outside then up two sets of stairs to the Lido deck, through the doors leading to two moderately packed dining areas, through more doors, around several outdoor seating areas, and down the ladder my swimsuit clad body was on display.
Obviously, I did not die.
But, I know I am going to live…more of my life in the water holding tightly to the memory of that first moment of freedom. It is both fitting and beautiful to me one of the Princess Cruise ad campaigns uses the tag line, “Come Back New.” I did.
PS…I have already checked into fitness center membership options and I’ll be signing up next week. I’ll also be using my only cruise ship souvenir: a Princess Cruises beach towel to help me remember I am always braver than I believe.