I have discovered that the best way to get myself to do something scary is to decide to do it far in advance. I booked my surfing course months ago, noticing with satisfaction that it was non-refundable. And it has been a few weeks since I booked tickets to London for Mum and me. A research trip for a novel. Tickets paid for – no way out!
It’s as if I have a casual disregard for the feelings of Future Hannah – I don’t seem to care for her comfort. Or maybe I think Future Hannah is braver than me, or has more stamina. And as the time draws closer I have a sinking feeling and become disillusioned. But by then, of course, it’s too late, and I’m forced to go through with whatever mad plan Past Hannah has concocted. Continue reading
You love the idea of this and it’s going to be great, I told myself. You’ve always wanted to give it a go.
Somehow it’s easier to tell yourself that when you’re curled up at home with a cup of tea, dreaming of the waves, than when you’re shivering with a surf board at the start of your first lesson. It didn’t seem the right time to tell the instructor that I can’t skate, or rollerblade, and can barely carry a tray across a room!
I edged into the water, and the other five learners and our instructor were soon on their bellies, paddling their boards towards the starting point. I fell behind. Great, so this is how it’s going to be… I could barely balance lying down and it seemed to require every muscle in my body to keep moving – I fell off, twisting my lower back. What on earth am I doing? I couldn’t even look up to see if I was receiving pitying looks, as I was firmly in survival mode. I caught up, just in time, and was only halfway through a sigh of relief when I fell in again. I surfaced, cleared the water from my nose, and looked behind me. The massive wave was approaching. My heart flipped. Continue reading
It’s my English Language O-Level exam. As always, I spend a few moments looking around at my fellow candidates while the papers are being handed out. There’s the girl with a ghostly-white face, sitting so far forward that she looks like she might slip off her seat. There’s the boy who is so relaxed that he ought to be on a recliner, and doesn’t seem remotely concerned – he either knows he can pass easily, or has already accepted a fail. There’s the blank-faced gazer. There’s the personification of calm readiness. There’s the shaker, hanging on to her bottle of water. Dry mouth, no doubt.
I could go on, but I now have my paper and am focused on spelling my own name, not quite trusting myself to be automatic today. I take extra care with my neat handwriting, which is different every time I write. Perhaps one day I’ll find my style. Continue reading