Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Adventure Bowl
Face Your Damn Fears!

When we are kids we have no fears. I can still remember ripping down my hill in a Hulk Big Wheel going what seemed 55mph without a care in the world.

Now, I have the weirdest fears, like Halloween and the ocean. Halloween because it makes no sense to, in the dark, tempt perfect strangers wearing masks with chocolate covered candy so they can come into your house to bound, gag and rob you. (Yes, I have a very active imagination!)

And imagine all the energy they'll have after they've eaten the Almond Joy you gave them.

My fear of the ocean is completely unclear as I was once a lifeguard and ya know, was charged with rescuing drowning beach people.

But the whole idea of this Adventure Bowl is to overcome fears and reignite things on the "to-do" of life. Knowing that by doing so will lead to a happier me.

So when I picked "Today you will paddle board," I secretly cringed because I'd have to do it in the ocean. Where sharks live. Where your legs sometimes dangle into the ocean where sharks live while you're getting the board out there. (There, the ocean... where sharks live.)

I hear they like to snack on your legs. That's what I learned during "Shark Week" on the Discovery Channel.

But fear has really gotten the best of me. And this time, I was determined to overcome it...

So I went down to the ocean and rented all my gear. I'm slightly embarrassed to admit the whole idea of paddle boarding came to me while I was watching an episode of "Iconoclasts" with Eddie Vedder and Laird Hamilton. As I watched Eddie Vedder (who's music I love, but he is a known pouter) paddle board in Hawaii and smile a smile where you can almost measure JOY, I thought, "That's for me, I gotta do that."

The gear is awkward because you want a really long board, then you want some paddles and then in front of TOTALLY HOT SURFERS you have to get all this gear out, far in the ocean and past the breaks.

You kind of have to think that no one is looking at you. Like dancing in public. If I think that it looks all spastic and someone is likely to just call 911 as a precaution, then I don't dance.

And here, I didn't think about how, I could NOT look less like I knew what I was doing. But I did it anyway.

You would be AMAZED how much stamina it takes to drag yourself around on a board. It looks so easy but it's hard! You're supposed to have something called "abs" that I do not seem to possess. But there was this infinite quietness and sense of how small I seemed to be in the world.

And that's something I needed.

That and to just laugh at how NOT strong I am. Or coordinated. Do you know what it's like to just stand up, on a board, paddle really hard and then not get anywhere? I just felt ridiculous. And it felt like life, how I am often trying to push through something when I should just... I don't know, sit there and wait for it to blow over.

So I did a lot of sitting. And I'll admit, not a lot of leg dangling was going on. I did not "dangle the leg snacks." That's what's great about a 6ft board... you can sit and lay down.

Mostly, I thought, "I did it" when I could have stayed home, could have just been watching TV or hanging out and instead I got in a hideous bathing suit, carried a huge cumbersome board out to the ocean of death (yeah, I can be waaaay dramatic) and tried something new.

And faced a fear. Will I do it again? Absolutely. As soon as I have abs. Then definitely, again.

This blog is dedicated to land sharks.



Tw!nkleTw!nkle said...

cant wait for the rest! btw i heard that if ur bitten by a shark, u have a pretty good chance that they will let u go, without ingesting a limb. but PUNCH THEM IN THE HEAD ANYWAY!!! and dont move ur leg around in the water tempting the giant fishy. here fishy fishy :P

p.s. i will NEVER EVER EVER go into the ocean. unless i can see the bottom. and a great white cant possibly fit in such a shallow pool of water.... right?

Krista Lou Cook said...

Don't leave me hanging. How did it go? please tell please tell!

RadoMom said...

Good for you! Can't wait to hear the rest....
I LOVE the ocean. It's murky creepy lakes that I don't like! That's where people always throw the bodies.... = )

Gwendol said...

I was just thinking about your Adventure Bowl yesterday, when a friend and I started talking about Found Magazine and the two books we've read of theirs. In one book, it was mentioned that the author found a note that said "please admit Jeff*" and it was signed, but totally illegibly. So, he gave it to his friend Jeff, who promptly decided to use it to see how many places and events he could get free entry to with this note. I mean, who would want to cross "illegible"??

I would love to hear about you writing yourself such a note (or, get a friend to write it), and telling us what happens.

*The name was probably not Jeff, I just can't remember it.

Anonymous said...

Ahh cliffhanger! At least I know you survived, as you're writing this entry.

Lettie said...

You always make stories so meaningful and hilarious - I love this one... especially about just carving out the time and doing it, that really spoke to be.

Jess said...

Your dedication says a lot too....

Paddle boarding may be a metaphor for life, but there are also "sharks" in our lives. People waiting for us to let our guard down and then they rip us apart.
(....but you probably realized that a LONG time ago. I am slow sometimes ;) haha)

Congratulations on trying something new and just getting out there and overcoming your fear of the "ocean of death". Your blogs are very inspirational.

GoGo said...

I love this blog so much and especially the Adventure ones. It's amazing the things you've been through and that you're so dedicated to making life fun even when it would be easier to just lay in bed and be sad.

myself said...

oooo human shark snacks...yeah gonna agree with you there....I don't think I would have been able to do it, brave girl!

forgetfulone said...

I'm gonna live vicariously through you on this one. I just don't have the energy! Plus, the only place to go into the ocean near here was pretty much destroyed by the hurricane, so even if I joined you, it'd have to be a while later.

HollyJ said...

Love this blog! And this entry is exactly why. Keep 'em coming!

Daisy637 said...

I loved this entry, especially about not having any "abs" - sadly, I understand this too. Thanks for the laugh, your blog is always a bright spot to my day!

FromTheKiwi said...

Your blog inspired me to go kayaking this weekend which if you knew me, you would know... if a major step. And adventure for me lately, has been ordering something different at Starbucks, so thank you.

Charmaine said...

OMG. You are WONDERFUL!!! Hilarious.

"Leg snacks". I can't get over it.

I'm posting a link to your blog.

Anonymous said...

You are so funny, and such a good writer. Thanks for sharing your real fears in such an amusing way. "dangle the leg snacks"--not that I EVER go in the ocean, but if I did, I would be chuckling about my leg snacks.

RadoMom said...

My legs ain't just a snack...they are a 5 course meal!