Dumpty asked me some serious question while on our drive to Cliff’s Lodge. I changed the topic. He didn’t relent. “Why do you always blame your past?” Dumpty asked me. I had been complaining how terrified I am of writing a book and perhaps I should just drop the idea. Who’s going to read it let alone publish it? Of course I explained in detail how my mother destroyed my self-confidence and how I am just not good at anything—especially math and writing. “It’s not anyone’s fault. You can’t blame your childhood or your mom. I am done hearing you complain about that. You just don’t want to change.” Ouch. My brain and Tony Robbins told me he was right. Confidence was all about attitude and your past can be shaped into any perspective you want to give it. It’s easy to hear it and nod in agreement, but I haven’t figured out how to apply it in my heart. This confidence thing was really annoying me. Maybe a hypnosis session will do the trick. Ha.
So that was our conversation while we drove to De Kelders in Gansbaai—the most romantic place I’ve ever been to. The somewhat isolated town was a two-hour drive from Cape Town and the area was famous for whale watching. We saw several fins splashing in the waves from Cliff Lodge, our B&B for the night. The host poured me a generous glass of red wine and I walked out to the cliffs. Dumpty forgot I existed—he was too busy taking pictures of every wave, every rock, and every cloud. I also forgot that we were on a trip around the world, that I ever had a sad past and that confidence was ever an issue. The cool wind whipped my hair like crazy and I felt a nice warmth stirring in my chest—the wine was kicking in. I am sure I had a silly-looking smile fixed on my face.
Interestingly, there was only one restaurant in the whole town and it catered only to B&Bs. That meant locals who lived there weren’t allowed in. I was bundled up in my warmest clothes. The moon that night was particularly bright and eerie. There were zero streetlights and yet everything had a bluish glow. After a few minutes walk we got to the quaint small restaurant. I was surprised by how nice it was– especially since it was cash only. We were the only patrons there and the whole place was lit-up by the fireplace and candlelight. The menu was written with white chalk on a blackboard behind our table. We pretty much ate in silence. I am sure part of the reason was that we were running low on new conversation topics (definitely didn’t feel like talking about my issues) after not leaving each other’s site for more than a hour for the past few months. However more likely we wanted to enjoy the loveliness and perfection of De Kelders. Our only complaint was eating too much (again). We felt like we were the only breathing creatures out that night on our walk home. Other than the sound of crashing waves hitting the cliffs, the whole town was dead silent. Dumpty twirled me around in the moonlight. Was this our honeymoon?
The following day we woke up in the dark—5 a.m. to be exact. We signed up to go diving with the great white sharks. It sounded like a great idea at the time. There was a group of a dozen young excited-looking people. The crew strictly told us to vomit into the water and not on the boat in case we got sick. I was pretty impressed with myself. I didn’t get seasick during our ride on the very choppy waves for over twenty minutes. We got suited up (which was a nightmare doing on a small boat with close to twenty people onboard in very cold weather) and hopped into this large cage. We were lowered into the ominous ocean and one of the men threw bate into the water. Then we waited. Suddenly all the men on the crew yelled, “Down down down!” That meant we had to grab the bars and force our bodies into the water. There was a shark nearby. I got nervous; I kept grabbing the wrong part of the bar, the part that could get my hand chewed-off, in my haste to lower myself. I could vaguely hear someone yelling at me. The sharks came pretty-damn close. I could literally pet them if I reached my hand out. The girl on my right side was super hyper. Every single time we saw a shark she would start laughing really loud and gush, “Oh my God! Oh my God! Did you see that?!”
After going in and out of the water several times and having my patience attacked by hyper girl, I had enough and got out to let the second group go in. The cold hit me hard and I practically ran to the bathroom to change. Now this was the part I was not impressed with myself. I couldn’t control the nausea that came on suddenly and I threw-up in the garbage pale—twice. The honeymoon was officially over. After what seemed like forever, I finally came out to find Dumpty in a similar disposition. We couldn’t wait to get off the boat. I am still not sure if getting up so early in the morning to jump into frigid water with a skin-tight gut-protruding suit on in order to see an animal that wants to eat me was worth it. I have no doubts that the hyper girl signed-up for a lifetime package.
The question I asked myself on our drive back to Cliff Lodge was that how come I have the courage to do these crazy things like the shark dive and quitting my job, and yet I choke-up when it comes time to do something a lot more harmless like writing a book? Perhaps moving to Gansbaai will solve the problem 😉.