"Rite of Passage" by Rachel, 15 | Under the Surface 2016
My hands ache, the cold water combining with the icy chill of the abyss.
I know I should be here.
I know this is the place where I turn things around.
All I need is just the last burst of courage that I beg the water to give me.
My legs burn.
I swim towards the arch of the rock that threatens to crumble down on top of me.
I remember my fears.
All that I hold onto so tightly I shake from my grip.
I let them all go.
I release the anxieties from my hands as I cross under the curved rock.
It encases me in a sense of warmth, of happiness.
I let everything melt away.
I let the ice that has created a mold around my body go.
From the top of my head to my neck.
To my chest and my stomach.
Then to my legs and feet.
And last, to my toes.
Each one of them releasing the last bit of doubt that I held onto for what seemed like ages.
And I know in passing under the arch that I have become a new person . . .
A new me.
And I am stronger this way.
About Rachel: "Hi, I’m Rachel. I came to Passage struggling to see the good in myself. My depression and anxiety overtook me, which led me to become a threat to my own life. When I first started underwater photography, it was almost instant relief. Every time I put my face in the water, all of my worries washed away. The water engulfed my ears with hope and healing, and it helped me notice all the good the world has to offer."