They decorate the air with sails of green and red and turquoise and yellow. They dance on gusts of invisible wind, giant soaring birds doing the tango. Strong and silent. Free and flying. The ocean is every shade of blue. And foamy white. I want to be there, on the waves, in the air.
It must take a lot of physical strength to dance with the wind like that. To fly on water. Strong arms to hold that sail. Strong legs to stay upright. Powerful inside to keep balanced. So much strength. And stamina.
And courage. To fly into the wide open sky. To let the wind lead. It must take a lot of courage and steeled, unbreakable, unbendable nerves to give over like that. To unknown waters, unpredictable wind.
I’m not sure I’m brave enough.
It’s a little more than a year since I hit publish for the very first time. I wrote about my longing to live in Israel, and I called it Kiteboarders Do Come Back. I published it on the wonderful Israeli-based news site, Times of Israel. It was 11pm at night. I was terrified.
My heart thundered in my chest. I don’t know why I did it so late at night. The noise in my head, in my ears, in my heart deafeningly drowned out any possibility of sleep. Every nerve ending quivered, from my intestines to my toenails and the tips of my eyelashes. Real. Fear.
I’ve never jumped out a plane to go skydiving, or leapt off a cliff with a hang glider, or taken to the ocean with nothing but a board, a sail and the wind between me and the sun. But I’m pretty sure this feeling of terror overpowers every shred of exhilaration in anticipation of these extreme, courageous feats. Before that adrenaline kicks in, before “Hey, I’m doing this, I’m flying, I’m REALLY DOING THIS,” must come “Oh. My. G-d,” and “W T F” and “I thought this was a good idea WHY?”
As soon as I hit that button I felt like I’d blindly leapt off a cliff. Sick with fear. Shaking with terror. That I’d made a mistake. Done the wrong thing. I wasn’t sure if I’d crash in a heap of broken somethings (heart, pride, feelings to start) or if I’d be lucky enough to feel the briefest whisper of wind in my too-short hair.
My kite boarder moment.
I love to write. To turn inward and be present and thoughtful with myself. To listen to my own thoughts, feelings, opinions and then name them with words on a white page right with my own fingers, before my eyes. It took a long time for me to feel comfortable to do even that, but I knew if I didn’t I was either going to drown in my own unnamed words, or fish them out of the deep blue where I could see them, count them, describe them, hate them, love them.
And it’s one thing to hold those words up to the light where I can see them. It’s another to hold them out for others to see.
Hitting publish is leaping off the cliff. It’s standing on stage in front of a packed theater and forgetting your lines (that has happened to me). It’s taking off on a board in the Bay, with a bright green sail above you, not knowing if you’ll make it back to shore or be tossed under the Golden Gate and far into the wild Pacific.
It’s unknown. And it’s terrifying.
I published that first piece about Israel because I didn’t know what else to do with my thoughts and feelings. They confused and troubled me. I wrote them out. Which helped, but didn’t quiet the restless grumbling I heard inside. So I held them out for others to read, in the hope that feedback, validation, discussion would help me find peace and fulfillment. It was not the first piece I wrote, but it was the first I showed to more than a friend or two.
And for so many moments after clicking the publish button, my arms went weak. My whole body shook and I lost my balance on that board. The sail slackened, and I regretted it all. Overshare, TMI, who cares if I want to live in Israel or that my dog is old or that my kids only talk to me when I’m in the bathroom!
But the wind caught the sail just so. And my arms felt strong again, and I took a deep breath. And did a tiny dance on the waves.
It’s scary, every time, to reveal these little and not so little parts of me in stark black words on a white page. But then the wind catches and gently ruffles my hair, and it’s more fulfilling to put it out there, than not to.
It’s exhilarating. To have found the courage. To feel brave.
Now if only I could learn to kite board.
This is a Finish the Sentence Friday post, inspired by the prompt,”I’ve never had the courage to…” Hosted by Kristi from Finding Ninee, and guest hosts Tarana from Sand in My Toes and Vidya from Vidya Sury.