So…..I’m in Hawaii. I can’t really AFFORD Hawaii, especially now being unemployed. But yet, I am here. And it’s one of the greatest decisions I’ve made. I booked this trip almost a year ago so it seemed a total waste not to come through. Even though I am likely going to have to live off of ramen noodles and tap water for the next several weeks, I am incredibly glad I came. I felt it was most important because after my stint at the hospital I have been desperate to get out of NYC. Even to the extent of looking at what are my options as far as MOVING goes. NYC has just been making me feel so damn claustrophobic and overstimulated. So, alas, I find myself here in Hawaii.
I could go on and on about all the specific things that have made Hawaii amazing so far. But I’d like to talk to you about one specific moment I had. One of those “so miniscule yet life altering” types of moments. To give a LITTLE bit of context that make this story important is 1. (as a reminder) I was suicidal the beginning of June and needed some high levels of emotional healing and 2. I came to Honolulu to see it coated in white tourists, which, for someone who works in the field of social justice, makes me cringe. Cultural appropriation, colonization, capitalism, etc. Yikies.
So, on Wednesday morning, I found myself doing research on beaches because there was NO WAY I was going to the beaches in Honolulu. They were ridden with tourists taking up lots of space (physically and metaphorically) desperate to get their white skin as browned as possible to show off to friends and family back home. “LOOOOK! We’re so exotiiiiiccccc!” Ok….I’ll stop hating…..for now lol. I found some remote beaches and ended up driving to Kailua Beach Park, which is about an hour away from Honolulu. I got there at 10:30am and there was no one. I mean….NO.ONE. I internally danced with excitement and endless joy! A whole beach all to myself!?! YES, PLEASE!!! I got settled in and my joy quickly turned into fear.
The feeling of me being alone really sunk in. I am actually quite good at being alone and prefer it sometimes. As an only child, it has been a common practice for me to entertain myself and I’ve been pretty good at it for the last three decades. But this was REALLY alone. Like…some axe murderer can come out here and chop me up, feed me to the sharks, and no one would ever know. I also had a hard time relaxing because, as much as I love nature, I genuinely fear it. My fear comes in a form of respect. For example: I LOVE the ocean. I would marry the ocean if it was legal…and it didn’t completely freak all of my loved ones out. But I am terrified of what is IN the ocean. I don’t wanna fuck with any sharks or barracuda or lord knows what else that’s trying to eat my face off. And I honor that they would do that. Who am I to be invading their home!? I think Mother Nature is a lovely, compassionate being. But like any mother, you fuck with her kids, she’ll fuck you up. So my respect based fear really impacts me time from time. I couldn’t even lay in the sand for too long with my eyes closed because I was terrified some bird was going to come at my face, try to peck my eyeballs out, and no one would even be there to save me and shoo it away. Ok, I think you understand the fear now, let’s continue.
I began to meditate; more like practice a ritual. Even though I was scared to swim in the water, I was not scared to be in it. I kneeled about 6 inches into the waters and let the ocean hug me. It tickled my knees and would sometimes splash up high enough to flick my chin with a “buck up kiddo, you got this.” I dug my hands into the sand on either side of me. I started imagining with each wave that came in that it was my grandmother, mother nature, and all of my ancestors coming to embrace me with love and support. As the tide would pull back into the ocean, I imagined it pulling black light from my hands; drawing out any negativity, pain, and trauma held within my body. I did this back and forth, rhythmically with the waves, for about 15-20 minutes. I felt so connected to the water and to all the people who came before me. I felt grounded. I felt on a stronger path of healing. It calmed me down a lot and I was finally able to lay on the sand to relax….for the most part.
After about an hour or so of being alone on the beach, this old tan white guy came out with a top hat, a surf board, and some sort of parasail looking thing. He hooked the parasail to this belt around his waist and the wind picked up the fabric and was stretching high into the sky. He literally threw his surf board into the water, jumped on top of it and went on his merry way going at indescribable speeds. He went far far out into the water, barely being a speck on the horizon. I was in awe. First of all, what the hell was this!?!?! Some sort of kite surfing? I could easily google it, but I like the name that I came up with better than whatever they’re likely calling it. If they aren’t calling it kite surfing yet, they will, and I betta get my damn money. COPYRIGHT, BITCHES! I digress…
I found myself envying this guy. He went so far out into the water and there was NO ONE there but lil ol’ me. If I hadn’t been there he would have been doing all of this solo. How can he be so fearless? What about sharks? Or tsunamis? Or just plain old drowning? I was in so much awe but found myself self-deprecating since I wasn’t even able to go more than knee-deep in the water. What is wrong with me? Why am I being such a baby? It’s JUST water. I should go out there RIGHT NOW and just jump in, what’s the big deal?
During that same moment, these little crabs started coming out of the sand right in front of me. They were digging little holes and just venturing in and out of them, seemingly for no reason. Then this bigger crab came out; it couldn’t have been more than 4 or 5 inches wide. It has the biggest sand hole of them all and I immediately became transfixed by its movements. I noticed that it made this little home for itself and then would venture out to find food or connect with the other crabs. However, every time it felt too much movement or the water came too close to it, it would scurry back into its little home. Only a few moments later it would crawl back out and it would repeat this process dozens of times. I watched mesmerized.
It was so fearful yet not at the same time. It created this little home for itself; its ‘safe space.” But still took the time to go out little by little to do everything it felt like it was willing to do in that moment. Whenever it no longer felt capable or ready, it would head home, rejuvenate, then go out into the big scary world again. I looked at that crab and thought…it’s so brave. There are so many things that could easily kill this crab and yet it still keeps trying to live its best life over and over again. Maybe in part because if it doesn’t it will not survive, or maybe it has a genuine desire to live for the sake of living. Whatever its reasons are, it does it. Although it is fearful, it does not let its fear contain it to a life of solitude or lack of trying to make life better.
I also loved the way it walked. Crabs don’t walk forward, I think EVER. It always moved side to side and sometimes backwards. Each path it took back home was a completely different one; its body moving in different dances to get back to where it felt safest. Even if the final destination was the same, the path to getting there was not.
There was SO much of this crab that I could relate to and felt inspired by. As I broke my gaze from my fascination with the crab, I saw the man finish his kite surfing (that’s what it’s called and I’m sticking to it!) and he returned to the sand right next to me. I made eye contact with him and all I could say was “that was incredible.” He smiled at me and said “I love it out there,” and just packed up his stuff and left. So much meaning in just two sentences. In that moment, I realized, other people’s fearlessness is not to be envied, but to rejoice. I am so proud of him for having that deep of a connection with himself and the ocean to just be out there and free of fear. Or, maybe like myself, respect the fear and take a chance with mother nature. My fearlessness is there, but perhaps not as observant to the naked eye. We are all fearless in some shape or form; we just need to really dig deep down to find it and not criticize it for not being “enough” or not a large amount. As long as our final destination is self-love and compassion, fear ridden or not, it’s not just getting to the destination but all of the ways in which you can get there.