That night on night watch I wanted to tell my family what I had done.
How I had conquered my fears, but I couldn’t. So instead, as the clock ticked quietly, I started to write in the scribble book. I wrote until my hand cramped. I wrote until I felt like I all the tears I had been wanting to cry had found their way onto the page through my pen.
Then I started to write about the ship.
And that was the first time I recognized the ship swaying on the swell as her heartbeat. The hum of the engine as her breath. And that night after my night watch hour was up, I went to bed and I snuggled into her wall and I felt safe in her belly.
The next day was Trainee Day. Trainee Day is pretty self explanatory. It’s the day when all the trainees take over the ship.
Before our elections I was talking to the Captain about the coming day, and he offered advice that I will never forget.
It was very simple: Back yourself.
This advice applies to many contexts and should be put into action frequently. In this case he was talking about the fact that in a few hours, we would be electing our Trainee Day Captain.
‘Back yourself. Nominate yourself for whatever position you want, then don’t be afraid to vote for yourself as well. Don’t ever be afraid to back yourself up and to be invested in your own success.’ He said to me as I was taking a turn steering the ship.
That night, I nominated myself for Captain. And then I voted for myself. There were plenty of other candidates who deserved my vote, and I didn’t win, but I got to experience putting myself forward for something and then validating that action myself, for myself.
Our Captain was elected and I was voted First Mate, another position that I nominated myself for.
Trainee Day rolled around and I found that I was completely in my element. Who would have thought that the little girl who was told she was bossy and a control freak, would then be congratulated for those very same traits ten years later.
All the trainees pulled together and we worked so well as a team, managing to put the sails up, stop off at an island for a few hours and still get to our destination before the deadline!
Then it was the last night. I climbed out to the very front of the ship to put covers on the front sails. My nose didn’t run and my legs didn’t shake as I waltzed along the rigging coming to sit at the very point of the bowsprit. I sat there, watching the sun set on the outline of Auckland city and thought about my voyage.
The ship had thrown every challenge I had not yet faced at me and torn me apart. She had exposed all of my weaknesses and vulnerabilities in one way or another, but instead of leaving me in pieces on the floor, or up a mast, she had rebuilt me. Or at least, helped me to rebuild myself.
When I stepped off the ship and onto the dock the next day I felt different. I walked differently and I thought differently.
Anxiety no longer haunts my mind holds tightly to my heart. I learned true resilience. Fear no longer dictates what I do. I’ve done things that terrify me beyond my own existence and I won the fight. I know now that I can win.
So naturally, as I was sitting in a posh cafe, basking in the glory of a mango smoothie and contact with my family I wrote down that feeling.
I no longer care about social media
Who has the most likes or what somebodies food looks like
I no longer care if my body doesn’t quite fit into societies box
My body is stronger than I thought and now my most trusted friend
It won’t let me fall instead it pushes me higher than my fear
I no longer care about my clothes, the latest trends or if I look pretty in a shop window reflections
If my clothing keeps me warm and comfy I’ll be happy
My clothing is not what people should judge my worth on and if they do they aren’t worth my time
I no longer care about the latest hot actor, his face pasted like an obscene painting over every billboard you can see
I no longer care about makeup
I don’t want to spend my time, that's ticking, decorating my face with products
I no longer care about the noise
I don’t want to have to be on Pinterest to poop
Surely my mind is allowed to be quiet for a few moments, at the very least while using the bathroom
I no longer care about societies preconceptions of my life path
I’ll go where I want and enjoy however long it takes to get there.
I care about the people that surround me.
I care about what someone’s hug feels like and how their laugh makes me feel.
I care if their smile makes me warm and their jokes make me giggle.
I care about sandy feet, salty hair and smoothies.
I care about fresh fruit, climbing high, cold water and hiking.
I care about homemade food and helping the hands that make it.
I care about the sea and the sky and chasing the line in-between
I care about homemade music, mixing melodies with my voice and fingers.
I care about good books, on rainy days with hot cups of tea.
I care about maps, driving and the mountains.
I care about dirty fingernails and bare feet with ankle bracelets.
I care about chasing stories.
I care about all the right things now.
Check out #spiritofnz here.
And check out my video of the trip below as always, thanks for reading..!