Forever, we have been told that fear is the enemy. Yet, above all things, I have learned something entirely different: Fear motivates us onward. It is always at our backs, and we are ever aware of its ever present threat.
As a child, I often lost track of time playing in the woods in my neighborhood at twilight, and would ﬁnd myself bolting for the safety of the cozy amber glow of my house. What supernatural force did I expect to ﬁnd were I brave enough to look behind me? What terrifying spectacle did I fear was breathing ﬁre on my heels as I raced through the darkness? Surely, there was nothing. Nothing, that is, but fear.
It’s not so much fear itself that I fear anymore. Indeed, I fear very little. The result of my becoming acquainted with an alphabet of hardships is desensitizing to most fears. I suppose you could consider that an asset, but I’d rather be free from its weight. That knowledge is a heavy burden to bear.
I’ve been on a journey to release my burdens, and the fears that remain alongside them. I have yet to ﬁnd a cure, but I may have discovered an elixir of sorts. It’s seawater.
Our collective focus on fear as a driving force in our lives is a negative approach to living in general. Often, I’ve been told not to run away from my fears, but to run towards the truth. After all, you can’t really leave anything behind forever. It’s always with you. So you might as well move on, and reach for the good stuff.
I’m not speaking without experience. My age defies expectations of the challenges I’ve faced. But I will never mistake my hardened upbringing for misfortune. To be sure, it was the vehicle by which I made my way to who I am.
I’ve come to understand that the level of intensity with which we search is predetermined by the depth of our past suffering. It carries with it an increasing sense of urgency to discover peace and joy. My resume of suffering includes a laundry list of hardships such as abuse, addiction, anxiety and chronic illness. These things have pushed me to search for happiness with a vengeance.
The existential search for truth and happiness is a natural rite of passage for countless youth such as myself. Wanderlust is often merely a symptom of the madness. It’s spiritual mania, and the physical manifestation of our own introspective journey.
I forgot my fear and found my bliss somewhere between where the sea meets the sand and where the horizon meets the sea. There, I paddled and surfed my way to a divine experience, in some combination of nirvana, orgasm, and yoga nidra (or “yogi sleep,” a fundamental state of being experienced by seasoned yogis).
Being that I’m still quite young, I had only just recently left much of my painful past behind me. Little by little, I persevered to make myself into the image of my childhood dreams.
There is no doubt that I have tried many different ways to escape. Eventually, I learned to focus less on escape and more on the development of my inner self. I have spent so much time desperately seeking truth and salvation in all forms, probably because many of them have completely failed me.
I grew up at the beach. Salt, sand, and sea minerals are as much a part of my chemical make-up as carbon, oxygen, and water. It’s only natural that the ocean is the motif of my dreams. I literally dream about surfing every night. The odd thing is that I never surfed when I lived at the beach. It’s only since I’ve moved away that it’s become my passion.
It started after I got my first apartment with my boyfriend. I had wanted to visit the beach for a long time, and hadn’t been back in years. I had just begun to understand the caustic effects of my childhood trauma, and needed an outlet. On top of everything, I needed a dream, I needed to be inspired. Stress was killing me, and I had to lift my spirits. I found myself standing before the froth of the Atlantic, and I found what I was looking for.