Full Moon Paddle

You know that feeling when you’d settle for just being Simba before he was king, but instead you feel more like the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz? That moment where you think maybe you’re really not who you think you are, and you might never be?

That was me today at precisely 8:15pm when I decided to turn around and not go to the Full Moon Paddleboarding Event I had signed up for, which started at 8:30pm. This might sound silly, but I bought my inflatable paddleboard close to a month and a half ago and I still hadn’t ridden it. The worst part was that I had bought the board with a little help ($$) from my family (thanks Mom) and friends, after I’d shared with them my dream of freely roaming the lake in my spare time. I was ashamed at having let them down. But every time I wanted to go out to the lake and try it, the thought of unrolling the board, manually inflating it, and looking like I had no idea what I was doing made me change my mind.

I have this need to know what I’m doing a lot. Most of the time it’s helpful because it pushes me to figure things out on my own, but sometimes it’s pretty dumb.

Isn’t it crazy how many excuses we find when we’d rather not face the truth of what we’re actually feeling? I planned to leave early, around 7:30p, to give myself enough daylight so that I could actually see my damn paddleboard in order to pump it. Instead I stayed at the yoga studio after I taught and ordered food at a place which probably has the slowest service in town (I love you Cafe Coco). Strike one. By the time I had made it halfway there, I realized I’d forgotten the new smartphone I now have, fully equipped with GPS and LTE capabilities. Strike two. I also realized that I’d forgotten the PFD one of my yoga teachers at SWY so graciously donated to me. That was OK, maybe I could get one there. But then, tragedy struck. I-40E was CLOSED. What? (side note, seriously TDOT what gives with closing interstates at times when people actually need to drive on them?) Strike three! This was it. This was my sign, I couldn’t go.

So I turned around and headed home.

Except that then I felt so much more like the cowardly lion that I didn’t even want to go home. I couldn’t face myself. Instead I called one of my best friends. I told her how freakin’ lame I felt and was, and how it was all over, and how the next full moon was not for another while, and blah.

‘Why don’t you just go?’
‘What?’
‘Yeah, I mean, you are just going to feel sad if you stay at home, you might as well see if you can join up with them.’

Suddenly, a hint of courage emerged within me, which I knew would not last long. So I ran home, grabbed my smartphone and my PFD, put on some Drake (nonstop), and hit the road. Praise the lord, no cops were present to witness the ride.

..

At 9:01pm, I arrive on the premises. Still 59 minutes to go before the end of the event. I unzip my paddleboard carrying case, throw the board down on the empty parking spot next to me, act like I know what the heck I’m doing, take out the pump, hook it in and start pumping. It looks like it’s working. Two sore arms and 15 minutes later, I march to the lake with my board in tow.

When I arrive to the edge of the water, I face one more obstacle, an angry looking dog barking rather vehemently at me (“get off my lawn!”). But I pay him no mind. I’m too far in to turn back now. (“You can’t stop me!”) Into the water I go, wondering, have I inflated my board enough?

It doesn’t matter, the moon is full . There’s no one in sight, and I’m paddling. I’m paddling! I start to gain momentum and make it to a spot where I can clearly see the moon’s reflection on the water. I pause.

Wow. I can’t believe I’m here.

No, I mean really, I actually can’t believe it. Did I inflate my board enough?

By the time I catch up to the group, which resembles a sea of fireflies over the the water (definitely missed the headlamp memo), I notice that they are heading back… Of course they are. I look at my watch, it’s 9:40pm. Facepalm.

One of the guys catches up to me.

‘Are you a part of the group?’
‘Well I was.’
‘You should take one of these before the cops fine you.’
He hands me a headlamp.
‘Thanks.’
‘Are you coming back with us?’
‘Uh. Well. I know the owner, I can always give it back to her.’
‘Ok. You going to stay out here alone?’
I pause for a moment.
‘Yeah.”
‘Aren’t you scared?”
I pause again.
‘Nope.’
‘Well all right then, have a good night.’

Eventually, I realize I’m all alone on the water. I notice the stars are out and the Earth is most definitely not flat.

I spend the next hour in community with the moon and the stars. The water is warm and feels nice against my legs. I don’t even mind the bugs that are flying nearby because they look like shooting stars in my headlamp light. (Listen up mosquitos, we may have declared a treaty for this battle, but the war is still on)… I talk to God. He tells me I am doing just fine.

I meditate:

I have arrived,
I have arrived,
I have arrived,
I’m home.

If this is what being brave feels like, I’d like to do more of it.