Sometimes something so embarrassingly dreadful happens that it makes you physically cringe to think about it, and you know it will give you flashbacks for years to come. Sometimes we laugh these incidences off, but others leave a deep routed pain disguised behind the laughter.
Mine happened while I was snorkeling in the Med off Cyprus a few years ago. I’d tried to mentally block this out. But a few weeks ago I was back at the same beach in Cyprus, and the memory and its pain came haunting back. It’s a lovely beach and it’s where I first learnt to snorkel many years ago, but now it only means one thing to me.
Embarrassing or hurtful?
I was mistaken for a seal, or possibly a shark, or maybe even a whale. I’m not sure. But, to be honest none of those are really a good thing to be mistaken for, is it? What’s even worse is that it wasn’t another person that did the mistaking. If it had been a person, I could explain it away as someone being short sighted, or rude or just plain stupid. But no, it was a FISH.
Yes. A fish. A lone remora fish, also known as a sucker fish. They are the ones that attach to big sea creatures in some kind of symbiotic relationship. Genuinely thought I was a likely looking new home for it and followed me around for ages, and when I say followed around I mean it kept trying to attach itself to my belly. Constantly. Every time I thought I’d lost him he’d reappear again a few minutes later, eager as ever. I was mortified.
Eventually I ended up just swimming to shore and getting out. There may have been a slight temper tantrum that resulted in me trying to bat the thing away with my hands while screaming “I’m not a F***ing SEAL!” at the top of my voice.
You’d think that when something like that happens it would make you stop dead and rethink your lifestyle. Something so humiliatingly awful would mean that you had no option but to change your ways. Only I didn’t, I wasn’t ready, so I just laughed it off and carried on, but really that innocent fish hurt me.
Embarrassing or funny?
I stood on that beach a couple of weeks ago and I thought about all the things that have changed since the last time I was there; good things and bad things. I’ll probably never go back again, my Mum and Dad had a bungalow there, and my Mum is selling it now my Dad has died.
I thought about how I don’t want my memories of that place all about being mistaken for a whale. Or at least if that is what I remember I want it to be as a genuinely funny anecdote, not something I pretend is funny so people don’t realise how much it upset me. I am ready now to change my lifestyle, and in doing so I will change that memory.
So now I’m using it as a tool to get back on track and stay on track. Every time I feel the urge to nibble on something when I’m not hungry, or when I think “it’s just one more glass of wine”, or when I look in the fridge “just in case” something tasty has appeared I’m vowing to remember that I’m NOT a seal, I’ll remember the hysterical temper tantrum and that lovely beach in Cyprus and how I want it to be a happy memory not a painful one.
I’ve even found a sticker online that says “I’m not a seal” (ok it might be a sticker about surfers getting eaten by sharks but that’s not what it means to me). I’ve ordered one to go the fridge and one for the front of my journal so I CAN’T forget and I’m looking forward to changing my mindset.
It’s time to get sorted, join me chanting my new mantra “I AM NOT A SEAL” Let’s do this people!
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