Hello, my name is Patricia and I’m about to literally have the crap scared out of me due to an attempted murder situation with a kayak many years ago.
So, to say I have a fear of kayaking, is an understatement.
And it’s not exactly what I’d call a rationale fear.
It’s one of those messed up, crazy ones because of a jealous redheaded bully.
I was encouraged to take kayaking lessons, but in order to first rent a kayak, I had to take a rolling clinic so I’d know what to do when my flipped. And according to my instructor, I had what he called ‘an unshakeable roll,’…meaning: everything the instructor threw at me, I was able to easily upright myself with a simple flick of my paddle.
And not only was my rolling technique excellent, but so was my newly acquired paddling skills.
The only thing I lacked was experience.
But here’s where the bullying came in – what I was able to achieve in one lesson, it took the redheaded bully over a year to master.
That apparently didn’t go over very well according to her ex-husband.
Afterwards, when I’d go out kayaking, I noticed the redhead would do everything in her power to intimidate me. Like ramming into me, deliberately try to tip me over. And for whatever reason, she’d get this shit-eating grin on her face every time she tormented me.
She was a jealous bully and took out her inadequacies on me.
After a few months of exposure to her behaviour, I started to notice how my body would need to use the washroom OFTEN prior to heading out kayaking with her. It got so bad, I finally saw my doctor because I couldn’t figure out what was going on.
He looked at me with disbelief and said to me point blank, “Patricia, your body is going into Fear Response. You are literally having the sh*t scared out of you.”
All because of bullying.
That last and final time I went kayaking with her, she took me to a raging river with huge waters well beyond my level of expertise. I was completely and utterly terrified – but thankfully, my natural skills with the paddle took over, and I felt like I barely escaped with my life.
That is, until she took me to one particular spot where she knew for certain that I’d be brutally smashed up against a rock wall. And sure enough, I crashed hard, and flipped my kayak. Losing my paddle upon impact, I found myself dangling under the fierce water, completely submerged, and out of control.
I was lucky to not lose consciousness after the blow, but incredibly unfortunate to lose my paddle.
I am not exaggerating when I say I feel incredibly fortunate to have survived that situation.
Afterwards, she actually told me that she deliberately brought me to this spot because she knew I’d finally flip my kayak. And she did this with a big shit-eating grin on her face.
I’m the kind of person that likes to give people the benefit of the doubt, but her ex-husband confirmed years later that she had been jealous of the fact that I got my roll right away.
Today, I still feel fear and I think it’s super crappy that she did this to me because of her petty jealousy. Just because of a stupid roll.
Hey, guess what?
There’s tonnes of stuff out there that doesn’t come naturally to me. But it doesn’t mean I’m going to punish anyone if they’re good at something that I’m not. If it’s something that interests me, I’m going to find the time to work at it. There is never any need to punish someone for being good at something…EVER.
Needless to say, I sold everything I had – my kayak and all my gear – swearing I’d never get in a kayak ever again.
Coast Mountain Expeditions
So when one of my dearest friends offered me her place for a week long kayaking expedition with Coast Mountain Expeditions on British Columbia’s majestic west coast (worth almost $1200!!), I thanked her and said, ‘NO’.
She knew why.
Months later, when she asked again, I found myself in the unique position of needing to get out of town AND in serious need an adventure for that month.
So I said yes, looking at it as an opportunity to come to terms with bullying.
Filled with extreme trepidation, I shared my experience with the kayaking guides so they’d knew what they’d be dealing with. And to be perfectly frank, I honestly had no idea how I might react to any situation I’d be put in.
It helped, I imagine, to be surrounded by our beautiful mountains, the wilderness, the wildlife, and some of the new friends I made on the trip. Even though my natural talents with a paddle came back to me, my body was instantaneously triggered and put into fear response mode.
With each day that passed, I sensed my fear lessening. Granted, a part of it was still there…but the guides at Coast Mountain Expeditions were incredible. They even offered to take time out of their busy schedule to help me work on specific fears – like being submerged under water in the kayak.
Unfortunately, I just couldn’t do it. Not yet, anyways.
Now, I might not have completely addressed or resolved my fears surrounding kayaking, but all in good time. I made the decision to release the negative associations I had with kayaking and horrible jealous redheads.
That’s gotta be something.
I 100% recommend Coast Mountain Expeditions. I am so thankful their kayaking guides, Rory Sutherland and Cody Hartikainen for their extreme sensitivity with my situation.
A few months later, Cody Hartikainen came into Vancouver and was filmed with me on Granville Island by Turkey Run Productions. Cody was attempting to help me address my fears by submerging my kayak….but I tell you this, my fear is still alive and well.
My face was a hot mess of tears, complete with snot running down my face.
I was terrified and not exactly what I would call a pretty picture. But with Cody’s gentleness, he did eventually get me to get under the water with my kayak.
That’s saying something for me.
And you, redhead, wherever you may be in this world…I want you to know that you are nothing more than a bully. There is a reason why you have no female friends. I do feel sorry for you because this is going to be a repeating pattern in your life. And, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but no one is jealous of you.
Also, you owe me a big fat apology.
© Monthly Adventure, Patricia Taylor, August 2011