Is fear your master?

This morning I let fear rule my actions.

Bethany and I woke up before six, the sun just beginning to light up the world with the soft white of morning, the air already warm with the hint of summer. We loaded up the surfboards, and we hit the road. We’ve been compared to a watermelon slice, her hair pastel pink, mine with hints of a blue-green.

She handed control of the tunes over to me, and we drove to Launiupoko beach park. As we drove past Maalaea harbor and thousand peaks, we saw cars lining the road and surfers shredding on the waves.

That was when the fear began to hover.

Then when we paddled out I watched the pack, trying to stay near the end of the lineup.

An hour went by and I hadn’t even attempted to catch a wave.

Bethany paddled over to me, grinning widely, her hair wet from the last wave she caught.

As I sat there, on my soft-top, I found myself worked up about trying to catch a wave. So worked up, so fearful, so in my head about it, that I wouldn’t even try.

It made me angry at myself. I don’t want to be so afraid to fail that I live a life sitting on the sidelines, only to die with regrets.

When I think about my life the only things I regret are the ones I didn’t stick with. I quit soccer, I didn’t push my family to teach me how to mountain bike, and I never pushed myself to learn volleyball. Each of those things has caused me to miss out on fun experiences with people I love.

So as I sat there, feet dangling in the water, sets passing me by, I realized that I was going to have to just try to catch a freaking wave already.

I can’t peg what it is about surfing that intimidates me so much.

It’s a fight to even get myself into the water sometimes. Despite the fact that I have (not once) regretted trying. Despite the fact that I am not afraid of the ocean, and really do want to learn how to surf and genuinely believe that it’s a sport I will enjoy.

So as the next wave formed and I swiveled my trusty wavestorm around, I refused to let the fear of judgment stop me.

I’d rather look foolish a million times over than let cowardice rule me like that.

And while I got pummeled multiple times this morning and caught only one tiny little wave, it has reminded me of my need to be brave.

Learning to surf is lower on my list of priorities, but if I’m not even willing to learn that, how do I ever expect to succeed at anything in life?

People who succeed are the people who are so determined to accomplish their goals that they never stop trying. No matter how many waves you don’t get, or how often life pummels you to the ground or you get crashed against the reef or step on vana, you have to get back on your board and try again. Or you’ll never get anywhere.

And yes, while there’s a difference between looking foolish and being reckless, I don’t want to cheat myself of a full life because I can’t bear to be thought less of.

Unfortunately, I let myself become sequestered by fear more often than not.

What more could I accomplish if failing and looking foolish became a symbol of courage and guts and determination? What more could you accomplish if fear meant you needed to lean into something even more? Who would we become?


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