One of the things I’ve always loved about our sailing trips is the ability to let go and get “raw and real”. No make-up or hair worries…Living in bathing suits and just BEING in the world. As a woman, and as a professional, I’ve always experienced self-imposed and society-imposed pressures to behave a certain way or look a certain way. I’ve not always been very good at playing by societies “rules”….Just ask my business partner who frequently reminded me to “put on my Southern” in contentious situations…My tendency to speak my mind is seen as a positive trait to some, who value always knowing where they stand with me, and a hindrance to others, who find me off putting or rude. I don't have much of a filter. I tend to dress for comfort or for fun rather than for “success”. Still, I understand society’s rules and can USUALLY follow them when I choose to, especially when not doing so could hurt other people.
We are all conditioned through our life experiences to behave a certain way. As a behavior analyst, it’s been helpful for me to examine my own conditioning. To look at why I behave the way I do. It’s helpful to look at the things that continue to work for me AND to look at the things that are no longer working for me. As an adult, I get to decide ways of being to hold on to and ways of being that I want to let go of. The work to “let go” of things that no longer serve me well is not easy and I slip up frequently. Some things, like my tendency to take control and be in charge, work well for me at times but not so well at other times. My fears of not being able to count on other people and being let down show up frequently as an attempt to take control. I constantly need to check in to see if my fear is about the current moment and needs to be addressed or about something in the past so I can “let go”.
I don’t have to be a person everyone likes…Just a person I like. When I do so, I find my “tribe” of like-minded people show up and those who don’t like me fade away…And that’s OK.
Sailing certainly gives me the opportunity to continue to learn about myself and grow as a person. To be successful, Robert and I get to learn how to work as a team. We get to look at
the wind, the weather, and the boat as part of our “team” and work in a symbiotic relationship. There is no “controlling” the weather. We just figure out how to work with it. As people, we each have our strengths and weaknesses and we get to use those as needed. We get to continue to learn our boat…What she’s capable of and what she needs from us to keep running in tip-top condition. And we get to continue to practice trust…To trust each other and Solveig to get us through tough times and rough weather.
One of the things I’ve found so refreshing about sailing is the people we’ve met who accept everyone as they are. Other sailors, as least the ones I gravitate to, don’t care where you came from, what you do/did, what you’re wearing or if you show up in make up or not. They don’t care about your sexuality, your sexual identity, your race, your religion, your interests, or your personality quirks. They appreciate individuality and the uniqueness we all bring to the table. A shared love of the ocean, of sailing and the sharing sailing stories is all that’s needed to bind us together. These are the sailors that exemplify total FREEDOM to me. Freedom for me to play dress up when I want, to dance like a child, to wear make or not, to laugh, to cry…Just to enjoy BEING myself in the world with all its beauty and all its fascinating people. These people are my tribe.
The way I get to have this freedom is to stand to ensure that we ALL have the same freedom. The freedom to be our best version of ourselves by having equal access to education and evidenced based therapies, to protection under the law, to medical care, to bodily autonomy, to love who we want, to be who we want, and to practice our religion the way we want.
This past weekend, Robert and I had the opportunity to go on a “Pirate Sail” with the NC Sails group. We got to play dress up, experience some great sailing and experience a small slice of the world we see possible and strive to create around us…Thanks to all the new friends we met and those who took charge and organized! We look forward to the next time our paths cross!