I Am…

Tinja - Charleston, South Carolina
Entered on November 24, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I am the ocean. I am the wind. I am the feather that floats upon the undulating current of the ocean’s swell. I am the salty sailor who endures the trials of a vicious storm simply to experience the emotions of fear, adrenaline and elation.

These emotions, which course through ones body, are as unique as the freckles on ones face. They are emotions that one must experience along their path to enlightenment, to wisdom, to happiness, and to acceptance. For me, those emotions come in waves; the journey through peaks and valleys; the highs and lows of life; many of which I experienced younger than most should.

As a young girl I always strived for excellence, for perfection. I was a straight-A student, a State Champion soccer player, a National Champion sailor, and a former Little Miss San Diego. However, with those highs in life, come the lows, just like the passing of ocean swells.

It may have seemed like I had every reason to be happy, if not elated with life, with all that I had accomplished, but I was not. There was a turbulent storm simmering under my surface which manifested itself as depression and bulimia. It became apparent to me that there is truth behind the saying, “the higher you go, the harder you fall.” So the challenge became a balancing act; to balance the highs and lows without letting your self hit rock bottom, face-first.

But for those who do hit bottom, I commend them for picking themselves back up, time and time again. I believe that I am one of those people who always pick themselves up, who is constantly striving to achieve the next high in life. But now I know to be wary of the slippery slope on the backside of the swell; I need to maintain a balance between the extremes of depression and elation. And I do.

Life is like sailing a boat, in that you can only take life as it comes; a gust here, a swell there, and every once in awhile you can catch a brief moment of bliss, of serenity; the moment right before the October sun dips below the horizon, when the sky becomes a fresco of vivid red, orange and purple. This is the image that will forever be etched into my memory, and will forever be my beacon of light to guide me home, back to serenity and sanity.

I am the feather that floats upon the undulating current of the ocean’s swell; I live for stolen moments of bliss that make life worth living. Winston Churchill said it best, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”