Giving Thanks to Those That Made Me Stronger

With Thanksgiving and the holidays charging at me, a single gal, sleigh bells full in the face, I realize that I’m not dreading them as much as I thought. (Ask me this again—in two months around, oh say, February 14 and see if I’ve changed my mind.)

In the day-to-day, surf-to-surf, board-to-board sessions, we often gripe and complain because it’s easy— “It’s too crowded!” “None of these kooks are locals!” “Waves not breaking right” “It doesn’t break like it used to back in the ‘70s.” “arghs$@#!”

Rarely do we look at the bigger picture…even in the darkest and supposedly “loneliest” hours where the holidays (and V-day) amplify that loneliness. I have recently felt the cold pang of lonely and, in short, it sucks. Learning how to pick up the pieces and move forward was always challenging for me, and often felt like I was exiting an emotional war zone …that is until I changed my mindset. I’m definitely NOT saying I no longer feel sad—I have good days and bad days. But I’m learning to look at things from a different perspective. When the throat closes up and the tears start to well, I remember how far I’ve come and where I’m going—but that is a whole ‘nother bar ‘o wax.

But really—are we alone? No. Should we gripe about that last overcrowded session at Trestles, Steamer Lane, North Shore, Rincon, C-street,…[fill in the blank] surf spot?
What good does griping and complaining do, anyway? Sure it can make you laugh in the moment, but being genuinely pissed about something you can’t change, like the tide or the swell? Why?
As you may know well beyond my years—life is not always easy street. Amiright? But it’s those bumps in the road, those impossibly crowded days, those “Lake Pacifics” and errant haoles/townies/kooks that make your sessions much mo bettah.–ha! (please don’t beat me up)

So, I am grateful for that double-timing douche bag in the Captain America wetsuit who dropped in on me constantly and back paddled me excessively—he made me paddle harder. I am grateful for getting caught inside on an annoyingly semi-big and walled day in Newport—made me perfect my duck dive. I am grateful for the dozens of prick guys who under-estimated my ability based on my blonde locks and cute butt—gave me a good target to aim my spray. I am grateful for the friends who always bailed out at the last minute—it taught me independence.

I am grateful for all the rejection letters from publications, the professors who were extra hard, the bosses who were extra cruel, the parents that were extra dumb, the boys that constantly lied and were, well, just EXTRA, the friends that flaked and flaked some more—I AM GRATEFUL.

You know why?

Without them, I wouldn’t know rejection, I wouldn’t know failure, I wouldn’t know heartbreak.

I wouldn’t know my own strength.

If you don’t know these things yet, are you human? And if it seems like the world puts you flat on your face constantly, know that you are being fashioned to be SO STRONG! Don’t give up on that.

It is not easy to take in these lessons, especially when they force you to change something about yourself… but I learned something from each one…even if it was the same lesson over and over. The same wall breaking in my face over and over, the same guy back paddling me to no end. It will happen enough times to make my blood boil and drags me out of my pity party to challenge me to move forward with self-love.

So with the holidays rearing it’s cheery face, I won’t be lonely, or depressed or heartbroken—despite my 2019 being so crazy. I will just keep paddling back out again and again, regardless–with an A-plus duck dive, thanks to good old Newps!

I will just simply be ME.

And that’s all I can be.