Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Fish on the Dock

There are two stories I could tell right now. The first one is the triumphant story where I sleep on the side of the road next to roaring Icicle creek, climb eight pitches up Orbit, take pictures of Andrew's bloody fingers at the summit, stand at the edge of the cliff in the cold wind and hike out by moonlight. The story that I like to tell, the one where I'm strong and energetic and healthy, falling asleep in the passenger seat as Andrew drives down I-90 in a torrential rainstorm, safe after yet another big adventure, bringing us back to a city brimming with everything familiar.  The life that I've carved out just right.
The second story is that one where I'm failing, flailing, flopping around- picture a single fish in a net on the dock- the one where I'm late to everything, where I get lost, literally lost, in the passageways in the ship and I'm scared of my own room because there are no windows and it's next to the engine room and it's loud. The part where I'm exhausted and overwhelmed and fantasizing about quitting and falling asleep during the expedition team meeting and crying in my car to Randal, and my tears are white with salt which means I'm very very dehydrated because I can't find the water on the ship. That story where I'm sea-sick when I'm on dry land and the world is constantly tipping around me and the dog sits alone in the house all day and it's back to sleeping pills at night.
The transition into boat world has been tough. It feels like hell. I'm fairly certain I'm not doing a good job at it, and I always do a good job. With everything. Except this. As it turns out, two full time lives is one too many. 
One of our vessels, the Safari Spirit, burned down at the harbor last week, and the crew has been laid off or thrown in to a new job, a demotion by necessity, onto a new ship. The Safari Endeavour is still afloat, with a full crew working every hour of every day to get it ready for embarkation, and I should be so grateful that it was not my ship that burned. But all I can think is, if it had been, if I had been on the Spirit, I could go home, and crawl into bed, and go back to my normal life and nobody could blame me because my ship no longer existed. 
Of course, I can always just gloss over it. Glossing is an art, like everything else, and I've mastered it. I've mastered the wild, envy-inducing elevator pitch of my life:

I'm going to live aboard a boat, and soon we're heading to Southeast Alaska and I'll be there all summer leading kayak trips through Glacier Bay and being a medic and on the weekends, until we leave the harbor, I go on these huge climbing adventures.
You see? Look how I can word it so that everything sounds so perfect.

I'd rather tell it like that.

I'd rather not tell the second story at all, because I don't want anyone to know what a rough time I'm having, how terrible I am right now at my job, at my own life.


Andrew said...

I'm as sure in your ability to excel in any challenge you're faced with as I'm sure the sun will rise in the morning. You're a crazy strong lady with a crazy strong spirit. This little hiccup is nothing but just that, a hiccup. Even if you think all of what I'm saying is as corny as Kansas in August (also corny), just know that I believe in you. No matter what.

Anonymous said...

Love you, st***.

Ren said...

It takes guts to do something new, something you're not sure you CAN do…but it takes more guts to tell the world how you're feeling and what you're going through. Thanks… :)

Ren said...

It takes guts to try something totally new and strange, something you don't know if you CAN do…it takes even more guts to tell us about it. Thanks… :)

Kate said...

Hi, I washed up on The Wilder Coast a couple of months ago and I've been following your adventures since.. wishing you all the best for the next one!
(And thanks for making my coffee breaks so enjoyable, too!)

Adriana Iris La Dulce Vida said...

came by to see you because i live vicariously through you. i am such a chicken shit i am not certain i could reach your heights. keep making me dream.