A Wave of Fears

November 15, 2017

While I was in the Pacific Ocean on my surfboard  I stared back at the tan sand and the white foamy water mixed with an ombre turquoise blue.  The palm trees swayed in the soft breeze like hula dancers. There were  many people tanning on the beach.  Some sizzled  like bacon in a frying pan and some not as much. While children played in the sand and made sand castles. The obnoxious  sounds of the city in the background sometimes ruined my moments of paradise, but the water, sand and sunshine quickly carried me back. Before I was in the ocean we walked to the beach. I was in paradise surfing Waikiki Beach on the island of O’ahu , Hawaii with my family. Of all our fabulous family vacations this one was not only awesome, it was amazing. I went with my cousins Gianna and Michael,  my Aunt and Uncle, my Grandma and Grandpa, and of course my Mom, Dad , and brother Ben. I had been sweating in the Hawaiian sun eyeing surfboards like someone eyeing delicious homemade chocolate chip cookies that just came out of the oven, while my Mom was taking pictures of the gorgeous scenery.

I have had many fears as a child and one of my biggest fear was sharks. My fear had grown worse when I went to Seaworld in Florida. In Seaworld their shark exhibit is a glass tunnel with a shark tank above it.  At this time I was 9 or 8 and I was deathly afraid of sharks. I didn’t want to go through the tunnel at all because of my fear.  I stared at the sharks behind the glass ,shaking worried that the glass would shatter and the sharks would select the 9 year old me as their snack.  At the time I didn’t know that the glass of the exhibit was a thicker glass. I ran out of the tunnel panting and my  tear filled face. I ran over to my Mom with my hat and sunglasses falling to the side to dive off  onto the cement walkway.  I  had told my mom “I hate sharks! I don’t want to ever be near them ever! Ever again!” 

The  sun warmed my skin as it slightly tanned me too. I really wanted to try surfing ,but my fear of  falling slapping the water of the Pacific, and my enormous  fear of sharks got the best of me. My desire to surf finally slightly distracted me from those fears as I wandered over to the board rental stand with my Dad and Ben. The board that I had rented reminded me of one I had seen in a movie when I was a kid. It was yellow like a fresh ripe banana. It had a big beautiful Plumeria flower inlaid in Koa wood with a wide bold stripe down the center of the board.

The waves burned my legs as they crashed against my legs. I thought to myself I can do this I am Jillian M. I will do this!  My arms and legs were covered in board burn. The board burn was clustered on my skin like a school of fish that burned in the salt water like the hot burner of a stove. The burn from the board made my tears splashed in the ocean like a kid skipping a rock on a pond. I thought to myself  why would this happen especially in my paridise?  I sat up straight on my board and breathed deeply and looked for my next target  that would knock me down. The salt water burned me as if someone touched an open flame.  I started to panic in my head and thought No! No! No!  My legs gave out and my balance was lost.  I needed to be better prepared for this new and thrilling  experience.

I wobbled to the shore with my board slipping out of my arms to get something so my board burn wouldn’t cause me much more harm. I had put a long sleeve swim shirt over my colorful, tropical neon pink, yellow, and orange palm tree bathing suit. The shirt thankfully prevented the villainous ocean from attacking my upper body ,but my legs exposed and vulnerable. I realized that I really needed some lessons to guide me to success. The lessons gave me a confidence boost that had really changed me. I got back in the water ready to fail but I would  try until I succeeded. I started to paddle looking straight for victory. I was sure I would succeed. The waves knocked me down around four times and left me with the stinging sensation of the salt water. The burn of the water wouldn’t make me give up what  I wanted to accomplish.  I thought to myself as I breathed in the salty warm air I  can do this.  I got ready and breathed in the salty air again that reminded me of indoor swimming pools. I started to paddle for what seemed like an eternity. I found the wave and repeated the steps to myself that I was taught to do. I told my body to kneel with my knees pointing outward.  My board burn stung and my heart raced with my wet knees out in front of me. Next, left knee up I repeated to myself ordering my body to obey the step. The burns hurt and I felt I was losing my balance, and I was.

This time I told myself  I can do it  this is the time I feel it. My mom cheered for me as she held the camera waiting for the right moment to capture her daughter riding the waves. I picked the best wave and repeated the steps to myself again.  I had gotten to the last step. I repeated step out then got up stepping out with my left leg and then my right and retain balance. My body followed my every command with some hesitation but I didn’t splash in the salty water of the Pacific this time. I was up and riding the wave of the Pacific. I kept my balance without a single problem. I was actually up and surfing!  My mom took the picture and cheered for me. I was so excited that I had conquered the waves. The accomplishment of me surfing led to the loss of my fear of falling and didn’t even think about sharks. An hour later we were ready to go back to our hotel and I smiled. I stared back at the foamy white shore and the turquoise blue water and smiled again. I stared at the picture of a landscape and watched the beautiful sunset. As I had mentioned earlier my fear of sharks.  I am not as terrified of sharks after this experience but I am still slightly afraid of sharks.

Today the screen saver of my computer is the picture that my mom took that day of me surfing. I look at the background with the turquoise-blue water that had stung me and the board burn that used to be clustered on my arms and legs in an arrangement like a school of fish.I can still picture the city with the obnoxious noises and the  soft swaying palm trees in the background as I surfed the Pacific waves. This experience has taught me a lot about myself that I hadn’t known before. I learned that if you want to accomplish a goal don’t let your fears or anything  limit you. Now I am definitely more willing to do things I would have never considered to have done before. Lastly I  learned that I sometimes use my fears to avoid situations that are really risky. I also need to ignore my fears to live life to the fullest so I don't miss out on some amazing experiences.


 






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