I have a bad habit of often being my own biggest critic so an occasional pat on the back goes a long way at times, which is why, rather uncharacteristically, I'm verbalising a moment of pride I felt 13 days ago, when I stood on a jetty beside the impossibly turquoise water in the Maldives, tank of oxygen strapped to my back, having just scuba dived for the very first time. But it's not the dive itself that I'm proud of - it's the fact that I didn't give up, even when I felt like I'd never be able to do it. Twice, when we practised some basic skills under water, I panicked. I swallowed water whenever I'd briefly remove the regulator from my mouth & I felt like I was choking. I couldn't equalise pressure in my right ear & I signalled to my instructor that I needed to come back up to the surface. "I can't do this," I declared, the fear plastered all over my face. "I keep panicking & I'm not getting it at all." We hadn't even started the actual dive at this point & I was convinced I'd make my way back onto the jetty & call it a day. They'd carry on with Pumpkin, the man in my life, who to my envy, never worries about anything (evidently not even under the water.) But no, that wasn't how the conversation was going to go. "Don't worry," my divemaster reassured calmly. "It's normal to feel like this. We'll just keep going till you get the hang of it." So we did. And I did. And within minutes, I saw the world in a deeper, bluer, more serene way than I'd ever known before, among shoals & corals & colours. Thank you @haishamm for not giving up on me!