One year ago on May 25th, I went to the Shir Ami Mikvah

I was nervous and I was ready to bare all to be Jewish.  I had already been through what I considered to be the tough part, the Beit Din (Jewish Court).  This consisted of my sponsoring Reform Rabbi, a Conservative Rabbi and our Cantor.  Wow, that was the part I felt most nervous about.  The Beit Din was not that difficult though, because after a year of living Jewish, the answers to the questions came pretty naturally.

Now the mikvah.  It was a 90 minute drive away.  I think a thousand different things went through my mind.  Including, but not limited to:  this is just a matter of getting naked and getting in a pool in front of a female rabbi,  the embarrassing part is that my sponsoring rabbi will be on the other side of the door once I immerse myself along with a cantor to say the prayers with me, my bathrobe is too old, I probably should have bought a new one, am I going the screw up the Hebrew, can I hold my nose when I immerse myself, I hate getting water in my nose, etc.

The prayers included the Shema, the Shehekianu and the blessing for the mikvah:  Barukh atah Ado-nai Elo-henu melekh ha'olam asher kideshanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu al ha'tevillah.
"Blessed are You, O Lord, our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us regarding the immersion".  The female rabbi was helpful with the Hebrew that I was not so sure of.

I immersed myself in the water, completely, 3 times.  I managed to maneuver holding my nose and make sure all of my long hair was submerged at the same time.  Afterwards, the rabbi gave me a few minutes to reflect while I was still in the mikvah.  I actually submerged myself a 4th time, just to make sure.  Since I had to shower before and after the mikvah, I came out sopping wet, but I felt pretty incredible.

Overall, I can say in spite of the embarrassing part, I really felt it was a necessary passage.  It was like stepping through a doorway and leaving my past behind.  While I still remember my past, sometimes all too well, I do know that I am a different person now.  My beliefs are different and my attitude about the world is different.  It's not a panacea, but I do feel like I have a stronger foundation and guide for the world (aka the Torah).  I am not limited to the rigid constraints of my past religion.  I have a broader view of life and I feel like I can have a positive affect on it.  The mikvah was the beginning of this new outlook.