Katrina Costedio

photo Scott Braun

It’s warm in my bed. Cozy. I was laying there a few minutes ago. Trying to sleep.

I’m here now. At my desk, pen in hand in the half-dark. Bed-headed and pillow-faced, attempting to excavate a seed of authenticity from the pile of debris that is the current state of my psyche. Somewhere deep in there, past the arrogance and the insecurity, is Truth. Sometimes, the hardest part of writing (of life) is recognizing yourself when you see her.

Two Fridays in a row now, I’ve gotten to steal a couple hours away from this desk to get wet in the Gulf. The first Friday was cold and stormy. Rough. I was a shipwrecked sailor happily clinging to life on my little board. Awesome. Last Friday was ripe with sunshine and glass. Tiny, little waves made just for me. A barren line-up both times, but I didn’t feel lonely. In the water, I’m enough.

It’s Thursday now as I write. Despite rumors of a bump in the water, no sand falls from my hair onto this page, I didn’t hunt any waves today. Last Friday, after surfing, I went to CrossFit. I collapsed in the middle of the workout. In front of everyone. I didn’t finish. My first failure there was a public one. While my ego recovered fairly quickly, my body did not. I continued to collapse over the weekend.

I’m always talking about the ways in which we (as surfers, as humans) confront fears; sometimes aggressively charging ahead, other times relaxing into the flow of things. This week I was forced to confront a fear so scary, so looming, that I’ve never even acknowledged it’s existence before. I’ve protected myself by relegating it to the shadows. My limitations.

The doctor told me to lie down and eat. “You’re thirty-three years old, you can’t expect to do all that.” She told me. I cannot accept this sentence. I’ve always operated under the premise that we are the things we do everyday. Striving is the cornerstone upon which I’ve erected the house of cards that is my self-image. Extended rest, for me, calls into question who I am at the very core. I’m laughing now as I write this, as you probably are as you read it, because I know this to be a ridiculous statement; trust me. But damn if it isn’t true.

I can’t do everything. I can’t be everything. I can’t control the situations I most want to control or take the pain away from someone I care about.

But I’ve realized something this week, mired in the recognition of my so-called limits. The real limitation lies in identifying with external attributes. We are not the sum of our achievements, not the aggregate of our abilities. I am not my body or my talent. I am infinitely more. I am the woman I am in the water, all the time; I am enough. And so are you.

I’m going back to bed now.