Ever since I was a little girl, I always tried to take all the courage I can take just to be able to do the things that people wanted me to do even though I was so scared. When I was 11 years old, I went for a vacation in my grandma’s place (my mom’s side) in a province. I went there before when I was really young (probably 5 y.o.) so I can barely remember how the place looked like.
I can still remember going for a hike in that place with my eldest brother, my aunt, my uncle (who was just about my eldest brother’s age), my cousin, and my younger brother. Inside the mountain we hiked, there was a little river that ended up in a little lake. From there, my uncle, my aunt, and my eldest brother always climbed the highest rock and dived into the deep water. In the middle of that lake, there was a giant rock (as how my eldest brother [Kuya Jojo] described it). What we (my cousin, my younger brother, and I) had for floaters were empty bottles of milk with a tight-wrapped cap and straps of ropes for us to cling on.
I was always afraid to swim in the deep. I know how to swim… but I get tired so easily that I don’t last a minute of it. Kuya Jojo stood in that giant rock and told me to cross the lake, from where I was, to him. The gap in between of us was really deep… I know coz I’ve seen him jump from a very high rock, plus the water was really dark. I was scared… but he assured me he’ll save me if I started to get tired and/or drown. So even if I was scared, I took off my floaters (coz they distract me), held all the breath I could hold … and with the short span of my legs and arms I paddled through the water with my eyes closed, one hand stretched forward to know if I was going to bump on something. After a while (it was a long swim, by the way) I felt my brother grabbed my hand and settled me down on the giant rock (the water was just by his hips but it’s about by my neck). I couldn’t believe I was able to swim across that deep water. I felt proud about myself that day (though I almost drowned on my way back… and there was another close call that day that I’m glad didn’t happen cuz I had my younger brother with me).
Yesterday, I felt the exact same thing I felt 11 years ago. My friend surfs. I am afraid of big waves… like my knees start to shake just by the sight of it. I suggested that we go to Pounder’s beach because I thought the waves there were bigger than in Hukilau (well, they are.. but they’re too close to the shore). He didn’t like the waves so we went for a swim for a while… all I could think of was, “I’m going to eat this wave really bad and I’m never gonna see the surface again without a sand in my face…” Everytime I see a big wave coming, that’s all I could think of. My heart was beating so fast and my hands were shaking so hard I could almost die that instant. My ears started to hurt so I rode a big wave to the shore with the thought that I’m gonna tumble up and down inside it while we reach the shore – good thing I didn’t!
We then moved to Hukilau beach with hopes that the waves would be better… but they weren’t. So Jesse suggested (again) that we go to Goat Island… but we’d have to cross the waves and the reefs. I heard people say that the water level is really low early in the morning and then it gets high in the afternoon. Well, it was in the afternoon when we were there! I was scared to death as I stood on the shore, staring at the island and the waves that we’re supposed to cross. I’M AFRAID OF WAVES!!! It’s a phobia I’ve been trying to overcome but still can’t. He still kept on walking though and so I followed… then he laid his surfboard carefully in the water and held it firmly as he let me lie on it so he can push me through it as we cross the beach. Too bad I’m not a good swimmer even… but then he was having a hard time so I switched places with him since he can paddle better on the surfboard than I can. It was exhausting for me… and for him more! We reached the island… and he got to surf. I got to see seaturtles at least.
On our way back, I saw the waves coming from opposite directions then smashing at each other. I was scared again. I always joked around about it but deep inside, the fear is killing me. I didn’t want to get in his surfboard anymore coz I felt terrible for him for having me as a burden. I’d rather go through the waves with him in the exact way he’s experiencing it… even though I was really scared. As long as I know I’ll be safe with someone, I can take all the courage I should take just to face my fear. At that moment, I knew I would be safe with Jesse. Funny thing is that I even made an analogy of that experience. Even though I was scared to death (oh the reefs really hurt), I was able to crack a joke… “aaaw two of us facing these hard things together? how sweet…” Hehehe.. it was weird it came out the wrong way.
When we were able to cross back to Hukilau and as I looked back to where we came from (and the waves we crossed), I felt what I felt again 11 years ago… Though the waves weren’t as bad as they had looked from the shore, I was happy I overcame my fear. I was happy someone was with me to keep me safe. I was happy I was able to face my fears and that I lived my dream… to be able to go to Goat island. I’ve been here for 3 years and I never crossed that beach… because I didn’t trust in myself and there was no one who really encouraged me and made me trust myself… and them.