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Verse Two

Annette kayakingI ended my last blog sharing about how vital water has been in my quest for best health. I started water walking at a community center and I gained strength and endurance. One of my water walking friends coordinated a kayaking adventure for women who’d never done it. When I heard a group talking about it, I was ecstatic—for them. Inwardly, I was sad that I was not physically able to join them. I figured I was way too fat and my mobility was still too limited. Then the group actually suggested I go kayaking too! I thought they’d lost their minds and/or greatly misjudged my ability. I said, “No Way!” The kayaking adventure was planned with a group called “Dirty Girl Adventures.”

When I heard that name, an old mental tape admonishing me “girls should not get dirty” played in my head. Not that kayaking didn’t sound appealing. Quite the contrary, it enthralled me! It ranked high on my list of things I wanted to try. The list was titled “Things I Might Consider—At least 100 lbs From Now.” I was around 315 lbs. Even my vivid imagination couldn’t picture me in a kayak. But the more objections I presented to why kayaking was impossible for me, the more my friends assured me I could. I smiled as we discussed it, but the smile hid a boatload of fear that  1) there wasn’t a kayak made that could accommodate my weight and 2) even if it held my weight, my severely arthritic knees wouldn’t allow me to get in and out. Still, my friends persisted. Good friends are like that. I did research and contacted the leader of Dirty Girl Adventures, the “Dirty Mother” herself. I shared my concerns about my weight and my knees, expecting/hoping she would confirm my fears that I was too fat.. To my surprise, she didn’t dissuade me, she encouraged me too! When I bore my soul and told her I was afraid I couldn’t  get in and out of the kayak without embarrassing myself and my friends, she assured me her team would help.

I was terrified the day we arrived at the lake to kayak, but, I was also determined to walk (and paddle) through the terror. The most important thing I did that day was to give myself the gift of accepting help. Rather than telling you what happened, I offer you this picture. Within the thousand words this picture is worth, are triumph, gratitude, pride and pleasure. I entered the water afraid and exited transformed. I hadn’t sullied the water, I’d blessed it. Water didn’t reject me for being too fat, it welcomed me—fat and all.

I’ve kayaked a second time with no terror and a lake’s worth of joy. With kayaking, just like with water walking, I put myself in full view of my support system and, when they told me I was able, I believed them. Good friends are more than just support, they can be mirrors—if we let them.. When you feel unworthy or unable, listen to your friends and believe them. When you lack confidence, allow them to lend you theirs. True friends love you not only for who you see yourself as, but also for who you don’t yet realize you’ve become. We are at the mercy of many internal “No Ways!” Trust the “Yes Ways!” of friends.

I invite you to look at your “Things I Want To Do When I Weigh Less” list –look courageously. What could you do now?

Annette's Books

Descants for a Daughter by Annette Hope Billings A Net Full of Hope by Annette Hope Billings

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