August 17, 2008

How Surfing saved my life, By Ashley "Lee" Barrett

Once upon a time there was a little girl named Lee. She had another name but her friends and family called her Lee. She was a genuinely happy child, always very content. She had a way of seeing beauty and happiness in everything, even when it seemed that there was no hope. She was friendly, even a bit too friendly. Lee could meet a girl at the beach and in five minuets they were best pals, and never know each other's names. Lee was always the leader, who seemed to have no qualms, or prohibitions to do crazy and random things. She also had an incredible gift for getting what she wanted. Lee was defiantly a lover, but she was also fighter. She would fight to get what she wanted until there was absolutely no chance left. She never gave up. Lee's greatest love was music. she had always loved music. Even as a baby she responded to music differently than all her music loving siblings. Music spoke to Lee in a way that few can really understand as there are no proper words to describe it. Lee studied music and loved the shower of praises she received on her talent. Music was the only thing she had ever felt was "hers". Lee wanted to go to Julliard more than anything in the world. She wanted to go for the wrong reasons. but wanted it nonetheless. So Lee applied to go to Julliard, and didn't make it. Lee's whole world crashed around her. she had been going in one direction since Jr. High and now at age 18, she had no path, no plan, no idea what the hell she was going to do. Lee was scared. She lost almost all her confidence in herself and her voice. She wanted to curl up into a ball and die. Lee spent the next two years drifting. She did music, only because it was all she knew. She was more lost than a stranded man on a raft in the middle of the sea. She shut out everyone, and could hardly see the beauty and happiness she had always seen so quickly. She gave up, and gave in to her fears.

Lee had always been a tad on the lazy side. She had never been sporty. She didn't really enjoy going to the beach as much as her family did. They surfed, so Lee went along with them. It was a year to the date since one of the darkest and greatest days of her life. She had lost a job that was holding her down and back, and had been forced to realize some of the problems she had brought on herself due to not getting into the school of her dreams. Since that day Lee had realized more and more of those things. She could feel the tension and pressure of something building, something freeing, something big. It was a lovely August day one week from her 21st birthday. The family had gone to the beach for the evening. Lee had been a muddle of indecision as to whether she should go, but she ended up going. Lee drove into the parking lot listening to a great new CD she had bought which was called She & Him, which she highly recommends. Now Lee was a fat girl, and disliked exerting more energy that she had to, but for some reason she walked down to the water with her youngest sister and played around with her for a while. Now there are rumors that the next turn of events happened only because Lee had recently Netflixed all the Gidget films as well as the TV show, and also the Beach Blanket movies, but no one will ever be sure of the reason why Lee picked up the surf board sitting next to her mother. But she did.

The water was much colder that it had been all summer. a wave crashed in to the blue board Lee carried and punched her in the chest knocking the wind out of her. Normally Lee would have given up. It hurt too much, why should she do it. But she pressed on. She hopped on the board and tried to paddle out. her weakling arms flailed about offering little real help. a waved crashed over her head and knocked her off the board. Lee jumped back up. Normally she would have headed for shore. "maybe someday when I'm stronger." she would have said. But she didn't. She kept on. wave after wave flew over her head, frustrating her. Splash! a small wave splashed Lee in the face, leaving a piece of sand that felt like a rock in Lee's eye. "damn." she said. she tried to rinse it out. bad idea. she tried to wipe it out. worse idea. the small whoosh of a small wave began behind her. "next one." she thought. finally she got the sand out, just in time to realize that the small wave was now a very large wave that was heading to knock her over! she began to paddle for her life, as a tsunami force wave crashed over her forcing her half pony-tail over her head and into her eyes. For a few seconds lee didn't know what was going on. She got her hair pulled away from her face in time to realize she was in the process of riding a very nice long wave all the way to shore. a giddy yelp broke loose from her lips, then a smile. Then the adrenaline rush kicked in. Lee knew of one other thing that gave her a rush like this, and that was singing on stage, something she missed dearly. Lee's 16 year old sister rushed out to congratulate her. she rode a wave. on her stomach, but nonetheless a wave. Lee's sister laughed at her. "you're like a giddy little girl!" "that was the most incredible thing! and it was all on accident!" "you're beaming! you're just like Gidget!haha!" Lee rushed back into the water. She only caught one more wave before she left, but made it to a knee this time. As Lee sat on the board looking out at the blue horizon she realized why she had been so upset and depressed for so long. She gave up. She no longer fought for what was right or what she wanted. she knew she could live with whatever everyone else chose, so just let them do it. But that day on that ocean she didn't give up. She knew she could surf if she set her mind to it, because she wanted it. and what a reward! it wasn't a tangible reward, it was better. it was the kind of reward you cannot describe unless someone else had experienced it. The rush, the high, was worth all the hard work that had gone into catching that wave (even if it was a bit of an accident). But if she had turned back during one of the moments when it seemed so hopeless that she would catch a wave, she never would have felt that. Maybe it was the water, maybe the sun, maybe the salty air, but something cleared up Lee's mind that afternoon. She could see clearly the things she wanted and loved. and she realized that if she put her mind to it, she could to any damn thing she wanted to. Lee had always believed in a kind of magic that comes from blissful realization, and that moment was magical. This was the moment she had been waiting for, when all the tension and preassure broke loose into the ocean peacefully. There was no drama, no huge epiphany, just a thought, that was true. She closed her eyes and felt the last few beams of sun on her face, took a deep breath and paddled into a wave.

And so today Lee is a happy girl who knows who she is, what she wants, and how to get it, all because of a silly surf board and and invisible push to get into the water. And a little luck with an accidental wave.
The End

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