The Fear Factor

Yesterday I went rafting with a group of guys. Fun. I like goofy boy energy, I like boy company, and boys are nice to watch. This is the first time, other than a simple girl’s Grand Ronde Trip, that I have gone rafting without Jim, and on an unfamiliar river. This is HUGE. I have trust issues. I’m working on them. I have to if I want to raft.

Jim was my most reliable outdoor buddy…he was Emerald’s, too. He knew his activities well, but he also knew me. He knew just the level where it would be fun, where it would be challenging, without sending me over the edge into the female crying point. He never flaunted his prowess, and he never made me feel like a wimp if I wasn’t up to the challenge that day. He sometimes erred on the side of caution, but he then was my biggest cheerleader when I proved him wrong.

It wasn’t always like this….it took some training. I like to remind people that I brought whitewater, mountain biking, and downhill skiing to Jim. I did…I introduced him to all of those sports during our 1st 2 years together in Corvallis. We had a lot of time and little money at that point in our lives, so we did everything together. Then real jobs and family came along. He got out a lot more than I did. Something about being the milk cow keeps a mom a little closer to the brood, and often the trade-off of missing my kids for days at a time was not worth the adventure that I had already done. Jim kept playing. He was passionate about it. He got good. Once we finally had time to get away together, he said, “follow me”. I hit the female crying point..more than once. He was a quick learner. He was passionate about me too. He realized that if I was going to join him on his adventures, which he wanted most (but not all) of the time, he was going to have to do it at a level that did not induce an adrenaline response in me. He judged well. He never made me feel bad if I decided to hand the oars over. I trusted him. He was the best outdoor buddy…even if he couldn’t cook. I got better, at my pace. Jim was a patient teacher.

I am getting better at flying solo. I can make a nice meal just for myself. I think just the dog is great company on a trail run if my running buddies aren’t available. I can tune up a lawn mower, plant a garden, caulk my own shower, and don’t mind watching a movie by myself. I rarely have trouble going to sleep at night, even in the big old bed. But, there are things I love to do that I cannot do alone. It is not safe to back country ski or to raft all by myself. I cannot pull boats on and off of trailers solo. It requires, at a minimum, a buddy. Ideally, a team. I have trust issues. I’m working on them.

I have a healthy fear of whitewater. Even though the drive to and from the river (or the shuttle!) is statistically the most dangerous part of every river trip, I did everything I could to be safe. I checked the weather, I checked the water levels, I brought lots of warm clothing and splash gear, I decided not to bring my boat so I could see the river first. I was still scared. Yesterday, I got to row a bit. I jumped off the oars when we came around a bend and there was a tree down spanning 90% of the river channel. Nobody made me feel bad. Next time, perhaps I will bring my own boat.

I have trust issues. Took a chink out of them yesterday. Fun.

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One Response to The Fear Factor

  1. aly says:

    nice job, girlfriend.

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