Already brave

I wonder how people jump off cliffs with their surfboards to get to great breaks. You know what I mean. It’s in almost every surf film. Surfer courageously takes the drop and then joins with their surfboard on their way to their next great adventure together. I really wonder if bravery is something one gets from surfing, or if one is inherently brave to begin surfing.

Are we brave as surfers or just brave surfers?

I constantly hate myself and my surfing because I am anxious, cautious and timid, and my surfing suffers from this. I talk myself out of waves all the time and I have unfortunately been victim of too many panic attacks out in the water to admit to. But people that don’t surf look at what I do and tell me they could never do that. There’s a four-foot wave about to break in front of me. I try my hardest to duck dive and try to get through. A wall of ugly grey water surges up behind me. I’m in the wrong spot (as usual) and I am about to be chucked over the falls. I either pull back (if I can) or I just relax into the tumble of the “hold-down”. Other people wouldn’t even step into the water.

So I suppose that is all I have to think about the next time my anxiety gets the better of me. Just by entering the water, I am already brave. I got this.

The sea scares me but I love it too much to stay away

The sea scares me but I love it too much to stay away

Rule number one: remember that you CAN do it

Something unusual happened when I peeked over the rail at my local break yesterday. It was little…and I was actually disappointed. I chugged anti-anxiety drops on the way to my break and had pumped myself up for a confidence-building-progressive surf. … Continue reading

Brave enough

I woke up feeling anxious. So, of course, when I got to the beach in the evening and saw that it was 4-5 foot onshore close outs (AGAIN), my anxiety erupted. It felt like I was being stabbed in the … Continue reading

Surfing has given me strength

First successful surf

First successful surf

I remember my first successful surf fondly. I was so eager to stand up that eventually I did, but I also remember feeling as though I stood out for the wrong reasons. Not for being uncoordinated and unbalanced, but because I was older and not exactly athletic. The anxiety I felt when being handed my wetsuit (would I have to change in front of these buff surf coaches?) and feeling weak as I carried the huge foamie to the beach (cue out-of-breathness). It made me want to be “good” at surfing all the more, just to prove to any critics that I could.

Ultimately, BED hit me after my first successful lesson and I got even fatter. But when you’re severely depressed and grieving, you really don’t care how you pull yourself through each day. We all need comfort. Unfortunately, mine turned into an eating disorder that made me even more depressed because I hated the way I looked (and felt). I hated myself enough to stop eating, and that’s when I knew I needed something else to focus on – other than hating myself.

"Boardie" - the beginning of a new stage in my life

“Boardie” – the beginning of a new stage in my life

That was when I decided to get healthy and see a psychologist, and go out on a limb and commit myself to surfing by buying my first surfboard. I’ve learned a lot about myself since deciding to surf. I know I have someone inside me that is confident and able to paddle through the impact zone, but also someone that feels confident enough to change into a wetsuit in front of buff surfer dudes (albeit awkwardly). Surfing has given me endurance and strength I never would have found in the world. I have my rough periods; the day the doctor “updated” my eating disorder was a day I felt like I had tinnitus – the words Bulimia Nervosa rang in my ear – in fact they still do because it doesn’t feel right. I am not Bulimic, yet I have Bulimia. I feel very disconnected from this diagnosis. I do not throw up food so how am I Bulimic? Again, the surfing has helped me re-establish my sense of identity and give me a place where I am safe.

The journey is still just beginning...

The journey is still just beginning…

Now I am fitter and healthier than ever before. I surf and I workout. I still struggle with eating like a normal person, but the important thing is that I try. I’ve given my psychologist the sack and I’m relying on my own strengths to heal myself, because thanks to surfing, I have power.

My journey is still just beginning…