We had only been paddling a few times since my diagnosis in September, so when the director said we had a 6:30 start time on Sunday morning, I was a little nervous. I was nervous that I’d fall in and get soaked and freeze to death, because everything was going so well. Surely SOMETHING tragic would happen to bring me back down to earth.
Isn’t it fucked up how we do this to ourselves? We work so hard and make so many sacrifices as we carve our own paths through this life, and when things are FINALLY going well, we assume that the good won’t last, instead of really soaking it up.
As soon as I started walking down the dock, a calm washed over my body.
I’m not a professional paddleboarder, nor was there any expectation that I was. This wasn’t some high-pressure shoot for a brand that needed my feet placement on the board just right, my hair just right, my wardrobe just right. This was a crew here to see me be me, and my truth was that I’ve only done this a couple times since my diagnosis and no matter what happened, it would be right. And honest.
That fact fucked me up pretty good this weekend because, for my entire life, that’s all I’ve wanted. To be seen for who I truly am.
For 72 hours, I did exactly that. It was a constant battle of my old shit coming up (who do you think you are, having this crew follow you around?) and reassuring myself that I’m doing okay because I’m just being me.
As soon as the cameras showed up, I had to get real with myself and just trust that my instincts and answers were true because they were MINE.
I caught myself questioning my answers at times. Sometimes because I was so grounded and spoke with such clarity that it threw ME off my normally-rambly game. Sometimes because I was dipping back into a pattern of needing external validation. Sometimes because I’m usually on the other side of the camera and I want to make sure they’re getting what they need in a format that works.
And every time I did, I was met with some version of just keep showing up.
So I did. And I will.