Wednesday, 19 August 2015
Getting my nerve back
Last year, as some of you may know, I had a big health scare which resulted in a radical hysterectomy - that’s when they basically take everything out for good measure - and I am left with a large vertical scar down my stomach.
While I am a fit person - I walk a lot, am probably a bit underweight and eat well thanks to a high metabolism, my confidence was really knocked last year. While physically I recovered reasonably quickly, I underestimated just how much the operation affected me psychologically.
The previous year, I had embraced sailing with my customary enthusiasm if not passion. We bought a dinghy and sailed a friend’s dragon (classic boat). I couldn’t wait to get sailing again. But as the months ticked by, I became fearful of sailing. When I did go out, that magic had gone. I felt as if a dear friend had deserted me. I started having panic attacks while driving - something that hadn’t happened for years. I hated becoming a lesser, frightened being, and tried to face up to my dragons, if not slay them.
A year on, I’m driving with much more confidence. And last Sunday we were invited out for a sail with our friend on his lovely dragon, Snap. Having also felt that he had lost the buzz of sailing, Mr B had raced all week (for Falmouth regatta) and was loving sailing once again, but I felt it was too soon for me to race and was apprehensive about my first sail of the year. I so wanted to enjoy it but was worried that the buzz had gone.
You can imagine how nervous I was on Sunday morning. How would I feel? If I hated it, could I hide it from the others? I didn’t want to disappoint them, either - and all that kind of thing.
I took Moll round to Sheila for the day and took a deep breath, looked out onto a calm, benevolent sea. At the sunshine beating down. At a whisper of wind. A perfect day. It was almost as if it was saying, “It’ll be OK. Don’t worry.”
By the time we got on board, having had coffee with friends beforehand, I had rushed to the loo at least 5 times in the last hour. I stood on the pontoon feeling somewhat useless, wishing I could remember what to do.
But we got on board and it started coming back. I remembered how to tack. I remembered to tighten the backstays without being told. And finally, I took the helm and we sailed all the way over to the Helford. With me in charge! And with the two men relaxed and chatting - they were happy with my progress.
We had a lovely time and that evening, after a good meal and a relaxing evening, I lay in bed bubbling with happiness. I’d been so worried that the magic had gone out of sailing. But it hasn’t.
Last week we sold our dinghy and I felt really bereft. Now we’re putting the money towards a bigger boat. So if anyone knows of a Shrimper (preferably) at a reasonable price, please let me know!