I felt restless and agitated at the beginning of our recent trip to Hawaii’s Big Island. I needed something, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Part of the problem may have been that my husband attended a conference during the first part of our trip. That put a cramp in my adventure plans (and this is all about me, right?) Walking around the resort didn’t satisfy. Watching the dolphins in the Dolphin Lagoon didn’t quench the need. Once, we were able to get out of the resort, I felt better. Beyond the manicured lawns, and the carefully constructed activities, adventure beckoned. What I needed was something challenging , something where I need to push myself, something adventurous.
We kayaking a couple of times, once out of the bay of Puoka Bay on the Big Island where we snorkeled and encountered bright fish, sea urchins, and hono (sea turtles). We hiked across the Kings Footpath through age old lava fields to a secluded beach. After the conference, we hopped over to Maui via the small aircrafts of Mokelele airlines. That was in fact, an adventure, which my husband promises never to take again. Once in Maui, we took another kayak trip around the boats and waves of the Lahaina Bay. Still, simply rowing through ocean waves didn’t quite satisfy. We slapped on our hiking shoes again and tramped across the ridge of Waihe’e. Yet, the climbing and scampering didn’t hit the spot either.
I encountered the SUP, or Stand Up Paddleboard, at Lake Erie in August and I loved it. The feeling of standing up, riding the waves, and pushing my way around the water was soul satisfying. That was the missing something on this trip. I wanted to stand up paddle!
The concept is simple enough, but during our trip the trade winds decided to pick and and were blowing around the island. So I put off the SUP, hoping the winds would die down. That stubborn restless itch wouldn’t go away. Finally, one morning, my husband wanted to kayak, so I decided I was going to do it–I was going to rent a flipping paddleboard and do this. We drove down to Lahaina and flip-flopped our way into an ocean-sports shop.
There was a decided lack of enthusiasm for my SUP adventure. “The wind has really picked up since the morning,” the rental guy said. His face covered with dubious concern. My husband echoed the rental guy’s concern, repeatedly asking me if I was sure I wanted to this. Without much encouragement, I contemplated giving in and just renting a kayak. I’d only SUP’d once, maybe they were right and I wouldn’t enjoy it.
But, I’ve got a stubborn streak. And the more these two men looked concerned over my dainty welfare, the more I wanted to prove them wrong. I picked up the board. The wind blew hard, almost pulling the foam board out of my hands. But I got the awkward mass of styrofoam to the water, and dropped it down. I straddled the board and used the paddle to get out from the shore line. The wind was intent on pushing me back in, but I told the wind where it could stick it, got on my knees and started using my core and counter weight to get deeper out into the bay. Once I got some momentum, I moved further down along the shore. The wind died down and the water calmed. I put my paddle across the board, pressed my palms down, and carefully stood up. The waves flowed under the board, and I felt the awesome rush just like I remembered.
In the grand scheme of things, me standing up on a paddleboard in the Pacific may seem insignificant. But at that moment and in my remembrance, it felt profound. As I dug in my paddle over coral and blue water, I thought about struggling with the winds and how my life felt like that sometimes, like strong winds pushing against my goals. At that moment, I thought maybe I’d let life push me around just a little too much. And I think the bullying started a long time before losing Jordan.
I’ve always been a go-with-the-flow kind of girl–to a fault. If there was too much resistance to what I really wanted, then I would give up thinking maybe it wasn’t meant to be. This particularly applied to my career, or lack thereof, and, now, with fertility. Perhaps, I thought, as I traversed the waves, if I just pushed back a little harder maybe I would achieve the things I really wanted. I turned the board back towards my starting point. As I approached closer to Lahaina, the wind whipped up and almost pushed me off the board. I dropped to my knees feeling a flash of panic as the water pushed my board sideways, threatening to flip it over. I tamped down the fear and cranked my lone paddle into the water guiding the board in the right direct, cutting through newly created waves. Laughter escaped my lips. I cursed the wind a moment ago, but now I laughed. Ahh, silly wind, you’re just a bit of resistance, no big deal.
Indeed, there is resistance in my quest for a healthy baby but, I reminded myself, I have some options and I just need to dig in and commit to them. And, too, I am afraid of rejection with my writing but, again, there are options and I just need to dig in and practice, practice, practice. This bravada to dig in and push back might all be a huge mistake. But, so what? We have an angel praying for us, what is a little failure? Plus, I don’t want to live with the “What if’s.” They’re lame and sad, and who needs ’em? Not I.