Rafting the Rapids
Rafting the rapids. Waterboarding. Nature. Bugs. Spiders. Bees. The risk of drowning, concussion, scraps, bumps, and ache in your nether regions that feel like you got swatted by a windmill . . . not my idea of a good time.
That was until I had a panic hit me. A crisis of what reputation I was leaving behind. A worry that all that would be left to remember me was a pile of unfinished and unpublished manuscripts. A collection of prescription bottles, a legacy of being kind of a bitch, and a reputation of being that weird loner girl with no friends, no love life, and no adventures to speak of.
*Sigh* it was a depressing outlook honestly, one that kicked my tail into gear, put a dent in my wallet, and continues to be a looming cloud over my mind every time the week begins to approach Friday.
What am I doing this weekend?
What adventure am I going on?
What story will be told about me one day?
What memory will I look back on when my ungrateful little brats stick me in a nursing home? HUH SUZY AND PETER? WHAT WILL MOMMA THINK OF THEN?
*Remembers I don't have kids.* Oh, okay nvm.
Of course this consciousness of the panic didn't hit me until a few weeks later. All I knew is that I needed something in my life other than writing. I needed a tale that wasn't lived out on the lines of a Pages document. It needed to be alive. And fun. And a little dangerous-- if you can consider rafting dangerous, but we'll get to that part later.
So here it goes. Here's the story of my first adventure and the spark that flickered into a collection of novels that I'm destined to write one day. Because OF COURSE my non-writing adventure time would lead to MORE writing time. Ugh. You can take the author out of the novel, but you can't take the novel out of the author . . . hey I should copyright that. Okay, no one steal that okay? Be cool.
The Day I Went Rafting
The day started at seven in the morning. Me and my brother (because obviously I'm too scared to do these things alone) pack up our things and head off into the unknown.
Both riddled with anxiety over traveling to a new place, doing a new activity, and quite, frankly, being away from the comfort of home-- we were a little skeptical of the enjoyment factor we were going to get out of this.
I stuffed it down like the denialist I am though, and constantly reminded my brother that it would be fine. FINE. Of course it would be fine. Brilliant even. The most fun any two people ever had EVER.
Then time came to sign the waiver. Oh Jeez. We signed our life away. Concussion? Paralysis? Partial paralysis? Complete paralysis? Bee Stings? Scraps? Broken bones? Exposed organs? Blood loss? Limb loss? Phalangeal loss? WE SIGNED OUR RIGHT TO SUE AWAY.
See, my brother had the right idea. He didn't read it. He signed his life away with the blissful ignorance of-- well, a man. I didn't. I read every line. Once. Twice. Three times.
And like a magic trick, my excitement for the day dwindled into this gnawing animal in the pit of my stomach. Now, I didn't care about me so much (THANKS DEPRESSION) but I DID care about my brother. What if he fell in? What if his head came off? He likes his head y'all. Gotta say, I'm kind of fond of it too. It suits him JUST FINE.
So we loaded the bus. A cramped condition with life jackets, and paddles, and helmets, and the smell of river water drying and molding and baking egregious aromas in the air.
And my anxiety never settled down. Not once on the bus ride. Not during the safety speech. Not once during the actual rafting trip. Have you done river rafting with anxiety? Let me paint the picture for you.
Your ass has to sit on the side of the raft. Did you know they're inflatable and look like they could pop at a moment's notice? I DIDN'T. Surprise number uno.
Then you have to practice the GET DOWN GET DOWN GET DOWN command they throw at you or you will be flung from the raft while headed down a seven foot rapid full of rocks. Sharp rocks. Rocks that I don't want to brush up against, let alone crash into. Oh and if you get caught between the raft and the rocks . . . Well, buddy good thing you signed that waiver. That was surprise numero dos.
But the biggest surprise didn't come until a day later. When I woke up, half of my body nearly immobilized, my ass cheek throbbing like a pulsing machine was on it, and an ache in my crotch that was-- unpleasant. Girls, it hurts. I'm not going to lie to you. Men? I do not know how you do it. Like I might have to give you props for being able to raft because I was side to siding it for the next three days. Alas. Surprise numero tres.
Now, let's get to the magical moment. The moment that made everything worth while. A magical moment that ended up being a series of events that sparked the most fervent dream I've had in years.
The River Guides of the Ocee.
It's hard to put into words when you meet people that makes the world better. Their simple existence makes everything seem less horrible. Less painful. Less grey.
I KNOW WHAT YOU'RE THINKING. I'm being a dramatic hoe, I understand this came as quite a shock to me too. But these people are everything I aspire to be. Adventurous and brave. Kind and supportive. Loving people that take others to the edge of their bravery and push them off to prove to them they can do anything. People who inspired me so much that I'm going back armed with an open heart and big dream: To write a novel about it.
EASY PEEZY RIGHT? Well, let's see how these other three novels go. And the grant I'm applying for. Let's see how that goes too.
Out of all of this, I think this was the most perfect adventure I could have had. My body ached after. I met incredible people. I flew down rapids and hunkered down in fear of my life. I tasted just enough of the danger to feel-- better. To feel more accomplished and whole. And it was the perfect, most brilliant moment that could have only happened outside of my home, away from my computer, and out into the world.
Please note, that my brother still in fact has his head. He even "Rode the Bull" in a shocking turn of events. And he has never looked happier. That was surpise numero four. The best one in my opinion. One that I'll hold dear for the rest of my life.
FINE okay I'll stop with the drama. Golly wolly you guys are testy today.
So here's my question. What's your next adventure away from the screen and in the real world? Tell me in the comments below.
AIGHT. Stay Saucy. Stay weird. And stay safe, cause adventuring is cool but there's like germs and bugs out there and stuff.