What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid?

I am a thirteen-year-old girl now living on the Big Island of Hawai’i in Waimea. I grew up in California living a life surrounded by great characters. Growing up in Silicon Valley, everyone was expected to do something great. It was almost like we were all expected to change the world in some way. This was a lot of pressure. In every aspect of my life, I felt tied down.

There existed a triple standard where I was supposed to be good at school, sports, and still somehow maintain a happy life. I tried my hardest to do all of these things to the best of my ability but never was able to achieve satisfaction. It wasn’t long before I realized I needed to make a change.

When my family moved to Hawai’i, we got a lot of judgment from our friends. “Looks like they’re taking the easy way out.” people often said. This couldn’t have been farther from the truth. I didn’t want to move here to escape my reality, I moved here to live a more fruitful and meaningful life. That said, embracing the decision to move was not easy. I had to first convince my parents which I knew would be difficult. On top of this, it was hard to leave behind our whole life in California. Although I did not know it at the time, when I finally built up the courage to ask my parents, I was embracing Ho’omau. Though there were so many things telling me to stay, my gut told me to go and there was no denying the strength of that gut feeling. It took a lot of courage to listen to that feeling. This experience reminded me a lot of Eddie Aikau and how he dropped out of school. He wasn’t doing it to draw attention to himself or any other reasons, he did it because he knew it was right for him.

Before I moved to Hawai’i, Eddie Aikau was not a name I heard often. I was used to hearing names like Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos. The standard of someone important was a business leader or someone of great wealth. Eddie was something different. He embraced his hardships in a way that made him even stronger so he could follow his passion. Eddie followed his intuition, something I am learning to do better day by day. The phrase “Eddie would go” stems from this idea. When innocent people were dying at Waimea Bay, Eddie was not afraid to battle the treacherous seas to save them. He went because he knew it was right. When the Hōkūle’a capsized, Eddie attempted to paddle to shore to get help. Even though he knew he was risking his life, Eddie embraced Ho’omau to gather strength, courage, and resilience. In my own life, I plan to make an effort to embody these qualities of Eddie, tapping into that inner source of Ho’omau that exists within all of us. Sometimes it can be as simple as asking yourself, “what would you do if you weren’t afraid?”