When I was in 6th grade, I distinctively remember one day a friend came running over at recess, and told me that another girl from our grade (whose name I can’t remember) didn’t like me. She was one of the more popular girls at school and my friend felt the need to share this with me thinking I would drop what I was doing to find a way to win her over. Instead, I expressed that if the girl didn’t like me, that was her problem - not mine. I felt absolutely zero need to change anything about myself for someone else, no matter how popular they were.
That was my earliest memory of owning my authenticity and standing in my truth.
The year after that, my family and I moved halfway across the world to Uruguay, a country I barely knew how to spelling less had I ever visited. I was 12 and I was the new girl. Being the new girl (especially a foreigner) in a small town was not easy. I remember going to my first week of school and other girls rummaging through my bag, calling me names and anytime I mentioned California or my old ways, I heard, “well you aren’t in California anymore.”
I could’ve let these mean comments hurt me, but instead I learned to let things roll off my back, staying true to my personality and my passions. I eventually found a group of 3 other friends who saw my true light and respected that. We are still friends to this day.
When I was 16, I discovered sailing. This opened a whole new world for me, finding others who were just as excited about harnessing the wind as I was. Still, my friends from school were more focused on parties and staying up till the sun rose. Once I had saltwater running through my veins, I didn’t want anything to do with the parties, since staying up late and drinking got in the way of the next day’s sailing plans.
- First time sailing! -
- Punta del Este 21' keelboat I learned to sail on -
Luckily, one of the first friends I made in Uruguay also fell in love with sailing, so we became inseparable and were known by most at the local yacht club. We basically lived there - we were the only ones who took a club boat out on Christmas Day. Beyond my ride or die, we made friends with a group of guys who were also avid sailors. This friend group never made me feel bad for being myself and I never felt pressured to put up a show just to impress them.
- Greatest group of sailing friends, we were inseparable! -
I can’t help but wonder if I would’ve fallen in love with sailing if I hadn’t found my people. If I had to show off my body in a bikini just to get out on the water, would u have ended up where I today? This thought bounces around in my head a lot these days, as I see many women boaters filling the role of the pretty face/body. It’s even more relevant in the YouTube sailing realm. We’ve been sharing our sailing adventures in video form for 4 years now and the major trend is showing off your body in order to gain more followers. I just can’t jump on that bandwagon because as much as I may feel sexy in a bikini, I love sailing for so much more than that. For me, it’s the challenges. The projects. The planning. The sunrises. The ingenuity and creativity that this lifestyle requires. To make sailing look glamorous, easy and sexy is doing it a disservice, because although it can be those things it’s much, much more.
- It's definitely not all glamorous, but one can luck out with those perfect days on the water! -
As an adult, I have had many interactions with other women especially in the sailing world that have ended with them feeling intimidated by me. I don’t quite understand why this is their reaction, all I’ve done is be myself and be confident in my skills and capabilities. I’m honest, strong, independent and have made sailing my life. One of my favorite things about sailing is that there is always something new to learn. No matter how many storms you’ve endured, how many wrenches you’ve turned, how many miles you’ve sailed, it’s a never ending learning experience. I definitely don’t know it all and I never will, but to downplay my knowledge and experiences would be going against me standing in my truth. So yes, I am confident in what I do know, but I’m also always willing to learn more from others. I don’t know if my confidence is what intimidates others, but I still stand true to what I told my friend back in 6th grade: that’s their problem, not mine.
My favorite reminder these days is: Authenticity Wins!