A debut memoir celebrates the author’s determination not to be limited by her physical disability.
Myrick was born with “a congenital defect of the left arm called Radial Hemimelia…where the arm bone (radius) is considerably shortened.” Despite this, she “actually led a somewhat ‘normal’ life,” doing everything her “siblings did—playing dodge ball, softball, and jacks.” Growing up in a family that “saw me, not my hand” enabled the author to develop a can-do attitude and to persevere even when she feared death, as when she started learning to swim. Her interest in diving was born when she watched a scuba show on TV: She “was mesmerized” by the “explosion of color…Bright yellow, pink and blue fish were everywhere.” Before long, she was taking her first diving lessons. Then, for her certification dives, she and her husband, James, chose Divetech at the Cobalt Coast Resort in Grand Cayman, known for its tranquil, clear waters. But choppy seas with strong undercurrents were the order of the day. She failed her first try at certification, but she persisted, succeeding on her second attempt. In prose that is often searing, she describes being constantly worried about how people perceived her. As a child, she often asked “God to make people stop staring” at her hand. The opening chapter dream sequence during her flight to Grand Cayman provides a backdrop for her love and terror of the sea: Moving “timidly into the warm water, wading ankle deep, the water seems to beckon me,” and when it “is just below my knees, my heart starts to race; I can hear pounding in my ears and I can hardly breathe.” Readers who are interested in scuba diving should appreciate Myrick’s straightforward descriptions of the equipment and the step-by-step skills needed for open-water diving certification: “You wear the mask over your eyes and nose to provide an air pocket for better vision and equalization of pressure”; “we began switching from the snorkel to the second-stage regulator, lifting the inflator hose, releasing air from the BCD, exhaling.”
A heartfelt testament to the power of positive thinking and a primer for readers considering open-water scuba certification.