Just Be Yourself | Surfing Edition

woman in wet suit
Photo Credit: Karen Grubb

This isn’t a ‘practice makes perfect’ post, or even a story of perseverance.

This is a post about a time where I came, I saw, I failed.

And then I made it mine.

This story begins with me standing on the edge of the Pacific Ocean at 8 a.m. Saturday in a borrowed wetsuit, about to take a surfing class in Avila Beach. My first surfing lesson, in fact. At age 36.

And everyone wants so badly for you to pop up on that board. To cheer you on as you try something new and succeed. But, there were no pop-ups for me. There were tumbles,  sand up my nose and sore arms for days.

But if being a parent has taught me anything – it’s that in my very limited kid-free hours I have zero time for things I don’t enjoy. That’s just the truth.

So when I was out there in the water decidedly the worst surfer ever, I promptly walked my board back up to the beach. I sat on the sand, wiped the saltwater from my stinging eyes, and allowed myself a hot second to feel frustrated/annoyed/embarrassed. Then I ditched the board and got back in the water.

But not to rejoin the class. Just to enjoy the freedom of the ocean – to jump and play in the waves. I haven’t had the freedom to body-surf since I was a teenager. But to dive through a crashing wave and come up for air just in time to let the waves lift me up – there’s just nothing like that. There’s just me. Doing something that made me happy. And nobody judged me for that. Or if they did, I didn’t take the time to notice. My new friend even took this picture of me ✌🏻.

Moral of my story: you do you.

About Tonya Strickland

Tonya Strickland is a journalist and Instagram influencer in the family and travel niche. A former Tribune news reporter, Tonya shares unfiltered #momlife content about places to go with kids. Her family moved from California's Central Coast to Washington state in August 2020. Their adventures now continue in the Pacific Northwest.

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