Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Waters of Romance

By Karen Rae Elkins

It's time to expect more. Make no mistake, I live the life I love.

It's not a fish until it's in the boat or on the bank. I've had many fishless days that I remember happily without regrets. My life to date has been about fishing, everything fishing: be it the latest tackle, the lake fishing reports, or the newest technique. My fishing calender is full from now until October. Almost every weekend I'll be on a lake competing. You can find a way to repress abuse but it always finds it's way out. Monsters live in the dark. So what am I running from? In a profession that is 99% male dominated, I run from dating.

It wasn't until I was recently asked to take time off from my busy schedule of fishing to spend time with a guy, that I realized how I set myself up to not date. He said, "Well, when can we have some time to get to know one another?" It was January. I told him I thought I had some time off in mid April. My response was insensitive, stand-offish, and kinda down right mean.

When ESPN canceled the Professional Women's tour. I scrambled to find local events and team partners to fish my home waters. I'm looking forward to revisiting the Alabama lakes I fished over the years. Alabama has the most diverse and beautiful rivers and lake. An angler can find a tournament every weekend. Not only are the waters familiar, they are a source of confidence. I expect more than a zero on the lakes. Just as I expect more from the lakes in Alabama, I expect more when it comes to dating.

Love is like the lakes and rivers I fish. I can't conquer a lake in one visit. It takes many trips to establish an evolution of knowledge. I've come to believe that a successful relationship requires falling in love many times, always with the same person, but deeper and deeper every time. Each time on a whole new level, you together, open to reveal a new truth. Ther
e is no limit to the beauty of love. 

My dating calendar is empty for the moment but I expect changes this year. I often say fishing never disappoints me. And if I had to complete the phrase it would read fishing never disappoints me but many men do. This excludes my friends and fishing partners. I have casual weak moments with men, but they never leave the dock because I just frankly didn't see the point of letting any one person get in the way of fishing because fishing is safe.

I expect more from a man that wants to date me and often shake men off the line too easily. My motto to date was, I fish, I don't play baseball. One strike and you are out. It has kept me safe and I have no regrets but it's time to step into the dating game. Give men a chance. It's time to believe that only one in three men are abusive, and I am capable of discerning the abusive man.

The uncertainty in romance throws a kink in my fishing line every time. When I'm fishing and feel a kink or the line feels rough, I pull the bad line out past the damage and cut past the damaged spot, re-tie the lure and continue fishing. The last thing I want on the lake is to lose a fish because I didn't check or change the line.

The sport of angling has many lessons to teach. The message of the waters are the same as the ones of love, work out the issues, be patient, and enjoy the moment. Persistence is a virtue that transcends patience. However, the waters of romance are unfamiliar, unexplored, and sometimes unpredictable. When I come to a kink in the line of dating, it never took much to replace the whole spool of line with new line all the way down to the leader. I strip the reel clean.

One of the turning points in my life was when I got my first bait caster. Each trip to fish became a communion with the nature that God created as much as it was about the fish. There seemed to be a certain peace in all was right with the world. The joys of fishing were not confined by the hours on the water. The best fisherman can't catch a fish if the fish isn't there, and so it goes with love. I can't have romance if I sit in my home alone. Funny, I went to the shallows last weekend, knowing where the dangerous stumps were, but when it comes to romance how can I avoid the stumps if I never launch the boat?

When you've had someone step all over you, it isn't easy to open your heart or your mind. I've come to another turning point in my life. I believe the tide is changing and I'm willing to change with the tide. I made that step this past week.

It was the Bassmaster Classic, the top 51 anglers in the world were competing for 3 days. In the end, the top angler walked away $500,000.00 richer. I worked a booth at the Classic. The knowledge I learned about myself was worth more than money. I realized that the fishing friendships had replaced my need for romance. Each day, I saw friends from all over the US, and the local boyz as well. We all had one thing in common a passion for fishing. Somewhere over the years I have put my passion for men in my pocket close to the memories of abuse.

Two hours after the Classic I was sitting at the dinner table with my fishing buddies. We were talking and having a good time discussing the weeks events and the people we'd met.  I picked up my phone to send a text. It was a simple text. Thinking about how much I'd like to see ya. love karen. A minute later, the phone rang. It was him.

It's time to expect more and add a different kind of passion to the life I love. 

Fish Steady my friends. love karen.
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1 comment:

  1. Your style of writing is so honest and refreshing. Use some photos of your Dad's in your posts. Your family is multi-talented in very big ways!

    Call me we need to talk to the ACADV together.


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