It was wintry cold when I got to the beach yesterday morning. So cold, my feet cramped up when I stepped into the water. Colder than usual for September - generally one of the hotter months of the year. But hot never came to Southern California this year...so I got cold instead. It was enough to make me reconsider - more deeply than ever before - that I may not have what it takes for this surfing thing.
Surfing in the summer, no problem. Even in the fog, it's still pretty warm. But surfing in the winter - I've heard the waves are better, but the weather? Not so much.
I have no need, like I once did, to prove myself macho and capable of "taking it like a man". Though I'm not always completely sure what it "means" to be a woman, it definitely doesn't mean I have to prove to all the men that I'm as "tough" as they are. I kept standing there. Looking for a reason. To go in. Or to stay out.
I stood on the brink for a long time. If I can stay in for thirty minutes, I told myself, that'll be enough. I went in. Not to impress anyone. It just would have felt wrong to turn around and go home.
In the water, I remembered a dream I'd had the night before. I stood in front of a mirror in a dance studio, practicing in pointe shoes. A master dancer stood outside the studio door. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't control a wobble in my ankle. I didn't want her to see my imperfect technique. I wanted to figure it out on my own.
I've figured out quite a bit during the last few weeks and months of surfing alone. I'm much more comfortable in the water. I understand waves and currents and tides with a new acuity. But there are vast imperfections I still can't figure out. The master stands outside the door. Let her in. Using the seventy-five dollars I'd squirreled away for "something special," I've scheduled a lesson for tomorrow morning.