photo: courtesy of photobucket
I’m a control freak. Make that a self-control freak. Okay, an emotional control freak. Some people prefer to control others unleashing a litany of passive-aggressive behavior in order to get their way. Me? I’m more of an eyes-on-your-own-paper kind of girl. When things get too sticky- code for “You’re getting too close to my emotional edges” - I shut down and head for the hills taking my vulnerability with me.
I’m not a coward, though. I push my limits in all other areas of life. I’m the girl, who travels to Mexico for a month, knowing not a soul. I’m the one who left a lucrative job in the corporate world to pursue my creative passions.
So, signing up for Surf School in Costa Rica was right up my alley. It was Winter; I was pale; and I always wanted to learn how to surf. For five days, I stuck close to my adorable, South American Surfing Instructor, Rodrigo, whose shouts of “P-AH-ddle! P-AH-ddle! Get Up!” rang in my ears long after school was over.
On the third day, I had a revelation. As I paddled out to Rodrigo, who was straddled on his board, sitting upright, feet dangling in the water, he gave me the usual, “You ready?” I was exhausted. The muscles in my arms were on fire, my nose running like a five-year old, and the waves seemed bigger that day than they had all week. But, I’m no slouch. I nodded and got into position.
As I lay there on the board, Rodrigo offered some last minute reminders. “Fit W-EYE-d. Bock foot fearst. Then front. Okay? Let’s go. P-AH-ddle! P-AH-ddle! Hard!”
Determination kicked in and I focused on everything he told me. As I waited on the board, face down and ready to paddle, I thought about how bizarre the whole experience was. I couldn’t see the waves coming and I was completely reliant upon Rodrigo’s judgment and direction. It was a total loss of control.
I thought of Rob. Tall, dark and beautifully chiseled Rob, whose deep voice alone could drive a woman to orgasm. We dated for almost a year. He was a Personal Trainer who liked his weed and his workouts – pretty simple. He loved my spirit and the fact that I spoke my mind. He was also a great listener.
“I have a fear of losing myself in relationship,” I told him early on. “I’m not sure I know how to be independent and committed.”
“I don’t want anything from you, Liz,” he said quietly, deep voice soothing my mental chatter. “Just, do you.”
Unfortunately, “doing me” consisted of bobbing and weaving like Muhammad Ali
And Rob was a good opponent, dipping left, when I went right, never doing that hug-thing boxers do when they want to stop the fight.
I tried, but I was terrified. What if I really let him in and actually got used to it? Then, what? What if he leaves? What if I couldn’t function without him?
I give him a lot of credit because he never pushed. Though, sometimes, I wonder if he had pushed a little harder, if we’d still be together, but, alas, we aren’t.
I just couldn’t let go – of myself.
In Costa Rica, I realized that learning to surf is a lot like love. Sitting there on my surfboard, I had to put myself in someone else’s hands. I had to let go and not only trust my instructor, but I had to trust the fact that when the time came for me to ride that wave, I could do it. I wondered how I could lay there, my back to the waves, with no idea of the height or the timing of the oncoming wave, waiting for that moment every surfer feels when the swell of the wave takes hold and challenges you to ride along with it.
Love is just like a wave – it swells, takes hold and the rest is just a ride. All you can do is remember to keep your feet planted properly and your focus on what’s in front of you. Sometimes, you fall – hard. Other times, you find that wave and everything slows down, as you truly feel like you are one with the ocean.
For me, I decided if I can ride the wave of Mother Nature, I can certainly give love a try.
As for Rob, he’s got a new girlfriend. I hear she’s teaching him how to surf.