Thursday, April 8, 2010


To whomever spoke the saying "there is nothing to fear but fear itself," I'd like to beg to differ. If you've ever had a brush with death, especially as a young child, the fear instilled in your person is something that is probably one of the most powerful forces to be reckoned with. Atleast it was with me. 

When I was 3 my parents had the grand idea of going canoeing as a family. Sounds like a great bonding experience, until I throw in the small detail that it had just rained a nice April shower. In Louisiana, this means about a foot of rain (perhaps that is an exaggeration, but seriously, it was A LOT). So what is normally a gentle flowing river was changed into a white water extravaganza. I clearly remember the entire setting as if it were yesterday. There was a small brown shack set up next to the river to outfit the brave with life vests and paddles. Then they had a guide who would bring the canoes up to the bank of the river for you to get into. That in and of itself was a feat considering the water was raging. Once our family was in the canoe we were all getting situated. Dad was in the front of the boat while mom was in the back. For some odd reason mom hadn't sat down yet so the boat was rocking pretty wildly. And then, it happened. The boat tipped over and it was too late. At 3 years old, I was sucked under the current and swiftly swept downstream. I remember people yelling, and then getting caught up in brush on the side of the river. TRAU.MA.TIC. From that moment of my life I literally would scream,cry, and panic anytime I was in a canoe. Even if it was in the middle of a calm lake. It literally brought panic to my veins. 
The sweet irony in all of this is that I married a man who for a summer  was a white water raft guide in West Virginia, and has paddled class 5 waters like it was nothing. His name is on one of the first decent lists for a river in Arkansas (that means he was the first to ever kayak down the river). Now in my late 20's, I can brave anything up to class 2 water (which is about the flow of the water out of your bath tub faucet). Anything more than that and I still have panic attacks. The sight of white water causes me to cry. Like a baby. And I'm ok with that. I guess there's some things in life you'll never outgrow.

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