What are you afraid of? Like, most afraid of in this world? Can I make a friendly suggestion? Go out and do that thing. Your life will never be the same (in the best of ways) and you will realize how strong you really are. That for me was surfing. And thanks to Chica Brava, I did it. I conquered my fear, and I feel invincible. That is what being a strong empowered woman is all about.
When my work bestie suggested Chica Brava for our spring break last year, I said yes. I was determined to make it work no matter what. I had always dreamed of traveling and writing, and thought that’s what my whole life would be about.
Then I had kids. As a young mom, I was always forced to put myself on the backburner. I worked and raised my kids all throughout my years in college. There was never time or money for me to take care of myself. I was way too busy taking care of my kids. And I was happy to put them first; they really were what my whole life was about. A trip to Nicaragua to learn how to surf might as well have been a trip to Mars on the next space shuttle for how feasible it would have been. I was working to survive. To begin a career. To buy a home. To provide for my family. It was a struggle to make ends meet, but somehow, my husband and I did it.
In the last year, I’ve noticed my kids being more independent, now that they are nine and eleven years old. Additionally, I’ve been working hard for the last few years to get to the point of financial stability. It occurred to me that my dream of traveling the world might be more realistic at this point in my life.
Chica Brava appealed to me because of the empowered women aspect. I am so inspired by strong, powerful, independent badass women, and I wanted to spend a week with as many of them as possible. The surfing really wasn’t the priority for me. I mean, I am always down to learn new things, but as a native Seattleite, I didn’t really see myself becoming a surfer. It seemed like something I would do for fun for the week and that the Tonas and tacos would be the real stars of the trip.
To say I underestimated how difficult surfing is would be the most hilarious understatement of all time. I was not prepared for either the mental or physical demands. My body was sore and bruised. My mind was exhausted from fear. My anxiety makes me afraid of so much. I am scared of stepping on a stingray. I am scared of getting stung by a jelly fish. I am scared of getting bitten by a shark. I am scared of getting rocked by my board, knocking myself out, drowning, getting caught in a rip-tide. The list goes on and on.
Thank God for the instructors. Their confidence and knowledge and support made the week possible. Micaela was my instructor. She pushed me beyond my limits in the best way possible. On the first day we were taking a break I said “This is so hard!” and she said, “Yes, but life is hard. And you just keep going.” I know that seems like an incredibly simple concept, but for some reason, it really resonated in that moment. I realized that the week was going to be more of a battle of conquering fear and meeting challenges than getting past physical limitations. I thought about how many times I had given my own children this advice, and how this would be such a good lesson for them to learn through my example.
So I did it. I surfed for the entire week. I never gave up. And I learned so much. About surfing, but also about myself. About meeting challenges, and conquering fear. About not giving up when things are hard, and scary, or seem like too much to handle. About the kind of empowered woman I want to be, for myself and for my kids. I will push past the pain and uncertainty. I will continue to try.
I kept saying that I wouldn’t surf again after the week was over, and I really believed that. But now that I am home, I realize that I really do want to keep surfing. I am no longer afraid. I know that I can do anything I decide to do. It’s up to me to control my mind, and work hard. Because life is hard, but I won’t give up. I want to get better. I want to continue to push myself. I want to show my kids what a strong, empowered woman looks like. I want to be a Chica Brava.
– Rachel Wiley