Facing Your Fears

All photos courtesy of  Christine Chang Photography

All photos courtesy of Christine Chang Photography

Anyone that has met me in the last five-years might be surprised by this confession: Growing up, one of my greatest fears was water + the ocean.

Yep.  That's right, I said it.  I have vivid memories of vacationing in Hawaii with family, my dad taking me into the ocean to jump the tiny waves.  I bawled and screamed for him to take me to land.  I hated it.  My eyes stung from the layered sunscreen that trickled into my eyes, the ocean was always so cold, I engulfed more salty water than I ever wanted, the unknowns of whatever was lurking in the water freaked me out, and OMG...Jaws.  My happy place was on the sand, building my sand castles, collecting seashells while soaking in the sun.

In elementary school, my mom enrolled me in swimming classes and I was that one kid, that could not...for the life of me...dive off that diving board.  My knees would get weak and wobbly, I'd get light-headed, and I always opted for the embarrassing walk-of-shame back to land vs. diving into that pool.

It gets worse...One family vacation, we decided to take a dip late-night in a resort swimming pool.  I remember being terrified because it was dark and the pool was lightly lit.  I was afraid of sharks.  IN THE POOL.  I know right?  Freaking, Jaws.

hermosa beach photographer

One of the reasons why I decided to take up surfing was to overcome my fears of the unknown.  And oh lordy, the first few practices were terrifying.  My heart pounded so quickly I felt like it would pop right out of my chest.  I envisioned deadly creatures circling around me, preying on the weak.  Many drowning/impounding incidents, bruises, cuts, and sea creature encounters later, I fell so madly, deeply, in love.  One ride on a wave felt so magical--honestly, I can confidently say it is the second best feeling in the world (after 'being in love' of course).  I always wonder, What if, I never took that leap of faith?  What if, I never discovered the overwhelming emotions from catching waves?  What if, I let my fear stop me from experiencing life fully?

Manhattan Beach, CA

Manhattan Beach, CA


The same fears that we are all so familiar with almost kept me from pursuing my passion in photography.  I learned from my surfing experience that everything I wanted was on the other side of fear.  I knew if I didn't try, I'd miss out on an opportunity that could change everything.  Along the way, I'd slip, I'd fall, I'd get laughed at.  But I'm here.  I'm so happy.  I feel so alive.  And I don't regret a thing. 

Surfing the waves at the Manhattan Beach Pier

Surfing the waves at the Manhattan Beach Pier

Hermosa beach photographer

Special 'Thanks' to Christine Chang Photography for battling the waters to get some shots of me and for making me look cooler than I really am. <3

Thanks for reading!
Hannah Q.