Who Do I Think I Am?

May 20th, 2015

news- surfing

Who do I think I am. Really? I know I can be all manner of things, good and bad, depending on my sugar levels, planetary alignments, a decent coffee and whether or not I’ve remembered to floss in the last year. I can make people laugh, cry and run for their lives. I am mostly honest, mostly reliable and mostly happy with my life choices. I cook, teach, take risks and laugh at my own jokes. I am a lover, a dreamer, a doer and believer.
But a surfer, I am not.

“Here,” he tossed me a dripping-wet and sandy wetsuit used by the previous  student just moments before. It looked a little tired and worn at the elbows. I wanted a cute body flattering one. (Is there such a thing?) Or maybe just a dry one. Something about surfers peeing out at sea made me cringe so completely that I may have let out a shriek while holding it at arm’s length. Any hopes of pulling of the cool 44yr old mother act faded instantly when I poked a toe in one leg and screamed, “oh god oh god oh god” repeatedly until my entire body squeezed into something it should never have to squeeze into. Spanx felt like a caftan in comparison to this. Once zipped up from ankle to hairline I collapsed on the sand under the blazing sun gasping for a strong alcoholic beverage.

We had given our kids surfing lessons for Christmas. We thought it would be fun to do it as a family, altogether. To learn something new, a form of bonding if you will. I think the most fun everyone had that lesson was watching me get into the wetsuit, while the most bonding that took place was between my thighs and said wetsuit.

Our teacher, all of 15yrs mumbled a few choice words. Like “Get on your board, then stand up.” I would have rathered an instructor with a larger vocabulary but I figured if he could keep it together while watching me flounder about during my whole wetsuit performance (unlike my own family who lost it completely and still talk about it as a true highlight of their lives) then he would do.

One minor problem – I get motion sickness. As in any motion at all and I am sick. This includes sitting in traffic while the car next to me edges forward, brushing my teeth with an electric toothbrush making my head buzz slightly, and now apparently lying on a surfboard going over waves. I could barely get past the breakers without feeling like my life was about to end. After flying over the top of the waves one too many times, I tried going under the waves, ducking the nose of the board under as far as possible, only to be thrown off, churned around 600 times, and spat right back out on the shoreline, to where small innocent children played. The fear in their mothers eyes as I came hurtling toward their children didn’t go unnoticed.

But I did eventually get out the back. I did eventually catch a wave, on my knees. And I did eventually peel that wetsuit off my tired limp body. But not before falling off in ankle deep water and jarring my wrist up into my neck (an injury that has required x-rays, physiotherapy, extensive acupuncture and a few prayers over the past 3 months.) So there we both sat, me and my last shred of my dignity sitting by my side on the sand watching my children conquer new worlds, and my husband giving it his all while hanging onto boyhood dreams.

I think we can all agree it is safe to cross “surfer” off the list of things I am. And without going into detail, let’s just go ahead and take off windsurfer, water-skier, and fly fisher too. It appears water sports are not my thing. So, who do I think I am? I have absolutely no clue, but I do know I am someone who is still learning one terrifyingly, invigoratingly, and death defying lesson after another who I am not.


*Footnote. Photos take 10 metres off waves actual size. I may or may not have said “gnarly dude”.  And my daughter did not in fact die of embarrassment as originally feared.

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  1. Jerry Jehle says:

    Wonderful depiction.  Thanks for sharing it.

  2. Jerilee Boily says:

    Haha!! Great!!

  3. Bernadette says:

    Meg, your article brought a smile to my face. Such honesty and humor! My hubby & I just returned from Yosemite. I won’t speak for him, but I got my butt kicked on the trails there. You start in the valley and it is all straight up (actually zigzag) then straight down. I required a daily bath with Epsom salts as soon as we got back to civilization (and Wifi). Love your writing. Hi to Ian too.  Bernadette

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