Stories of ordeal and adventure have been raining from me since the moment I bought my first boat at age 23. A fresh me. The me who didn’t yet have basal cell moles from sun exposure or any money in savings. I didn’t have any debt, a mortgage, or any ties to anywhere or anyone. I didn’t have to pay for health care, and I certainly wasn’t paying taxes. I didn’t have a marriage that needed nourishing, an offspring whose life depended on me, or parents who were becoming vulnerable. With golden mermaid hair, a freckled nose, and the calloused hands of a creative, I took everything I was at 23 years old and threw it into a 1979 Cal 27 named Louise. It was this boat and this decision ten years ago, that wrote chapter one. It was where I began what my definition of success would become. Community, perspective, and adventure weighed at the top.
I desired a “big life” since I was a young girl, though I couldn’t have told you what that meant. All I could have told you was that there was a pit in my belly that was utterly impossible to satiate. I moved to Hollywood when I was 18 to go to art school. Not to be an actress or a singer or anybody famous but to build some sort of purposeful and inspiring life. As I met more and more drop-dead gorgeous talents, all similarly striving for “big lives,” I became strictly motivated to have a different answer to the most common question asked in Hollywood: “So, what do you do?” Which was a code question for “So, who do you know?”. I hated it. I hated the feeling of having to associate who I was with what I did and with who I knew that got me there. I cringed the moment I realized a conversation would come to a close because I was not someone who could help them get recognized or introduce them to those who would. All I had to offer was a warm mid-western smile and a kind conversation, but that certainly was not enough. To a young me, that translated to “I am not enough.”