I’m practicing paying better attention to my actual preferences – what my body’s telling me, what boundaries I want if I’ll let myself have them.

Reading a book set on the ocean brought back memories of boating, and a surprisingly strong visceral reaction. Then I remembered how relieved I was when a boat trip I was meant to go on last year got cancelled due to COVID. I grant myself this: I never need to sail on the ocean again.

I hate the diesel and saltwater stench and the funky smell in the cabin, I hate the cramped quarters and low ceiling and storing my junk in wall hammocks, I hate the lurching roll that doesn’t quite make me sick just bleh so I have to stare at the horizon line to keep it that way, I hate the tackiness of salt spray on my skin and salt crusting my hair.

I hate feeling scared when the waves are too strong or the boat’s heeling over too much or the tide is stronger than the engine. I hate how slow boats are and being trapped for hours longer than I wanted to be finished. I think the ocean concentrates powerlessness.

I’ll stick with ferries in the Puget Sound. Big boats in not open waters. Even there I find myself eyeing the safety instructions and gauging whether I could make the swim to shore (no).

Tracy Durnell @tracydurnell