Vanquishing My Fear of Water

For some years now, I have been terrified to enter any body of water larger than my bath tub. I had a close call with drowning several years ago and the thought of fully emerging myself was all but unbearable. Even years afterwards I steadfastly refused to re-test this fear. The dark water would rise above my face and I would be unable to escape death a second time. At least that was the (irrational) thought going through my head as I waded into the lake by the cottage my grandparents have rented since my father was a boy.
I had traveled to the other side of the country to visit my grandmother on her 83rd birthday and was saying at the cabin with my father and brother. The past year had seen me pushing myself out of my comfort zone and letting adventure back into my life. I had gone wading in the ocean not a week prior with two friends and even submerged my head, but I had not gone beyond my depth. So with the calm water before me and the memories of drowning somewhat dulled by the passage of time, I inched my way into the cold water. At first, I was frightened, my fears were becoming manifest and the water was lapping at my throat. This moment of panic soon passed however and managed to reach the floating raft, several dozen meters away. I found myself surrounded by sun, afloat midst the waves. For me, this was a feat previously unthinkable. The plunge back into the water and the return to shore was somewhat more desperate. This, if history was once again to repeat herself, would be where I could no longer struggle against the power of the lake, and be drawn down. I admit I panicked slightly in getting to shore and I clung to the first rock my wet hands found, only to find that I could stand free of the surface. I had survived!
After that I swam, dove, canoed, and generally felt free in water. It was as though the last of my fear was washed away in the waters of the lake. For too long had I allowed myself to be held back by a fear which I should have confronted long ago. Moving forwards, I will truly understand that the shadow cast by fear is insubstantial and only as scary as my mind allows it to be.