We are all fascinated by beauty and many of us devote much of our lives to its pursuit. But physical beauty can only ever be held fleetingly. Real beauty is far greater – it’s a life force, an energy, which radiates from within and transcends the physical. It’s a vibe – you feel it in those who truly know they have it.
Real beauty is not beauty generated purely for others consumption. Real beauty is beauty in action, not beauty that sits on the sidelines of life, worried it will run or get messed up.
Real beauty may not always be visible at first glance, but it lasts forever.
So… I didn’t win an ESPY… but it’s all good. It was never about winning anyway it was about the experience. These kind of things could be once in a lifetime so I am really happy Luke and I went. It was definitely a bit different than I expected. Such a different crowd of people and athletes, it was overwhelming. Everyone was so…famous. It was hard to approach people and start a conversation when they had their own entourage, agenda and ego. I don’t know if being that famous really intrigues me. I’m happy with my life and things just the way they are.
The award show was pretty cool. I’ve never been a huge fan of any other sports other than surfing but the ESPYS really made me appreciate every athletes handwork, determination, and the moments that bring us all together. From surfing to football… there are those moments of pure joy after a win or frustration after a loss that every athlete can relate. Watching the raw emotions expressed by athletes in triumph and defeat play on the big screen brought chills to my body. It was empowering to realize that we all love the game. We all want to be the best. We all put in countless hours of training and hard work knowing there will be failure. We all do it for that one moment when it all pays off.
While watching the award show, one of the athletes really inspired me. His story of courage really touched my heart and I was so excited when I bumped into him after that I had to ask for a picture. I was a bit taken back when he gave me the cold shoulder and acted irritated with me. Wait…Was this the same guy who had a heart of gold on stage just an hour ago? I’m not gonna lie… I was kind of bummed. It was a great lesson for me. I really realize that those simple moments mean a lot to people. It’s important to take the time for others no matter how busy, moody or out of it you feel. I know it’s unrealistic to be happy all the time but I can try. You never know…sometimes it’s the smallest things that can make the biggest difference in someone’s life.
I think about you everyday since I found out. I got a message from Luke when I was finishing up dinner at this little Italian restaurant in New York.
“Wait… What? What happened? No! Couldn’t be! Not him… No way!”
Questions. Shock. Tears. Chills. Trembling. Lost for words…
I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t want to believe it. I took mom outside the restaurant and told her. Immediate tears.
That night we cried. Called family, told them we loved them. I talked to your brother. He seemed alright event tho I know he was just trying to be strong. I could never fathom losing my sister, my best friend.
You brought so many together. Thousands of people filled the gym to celebrate your life. Hopefully you could feel our tremendous amount of love for you. You brought so much joy to our lives with your smile, laugh and positive outlook on life. You made a difference. Your legacy lives on. You will be missed.
I will miss seeing your smiling face at family dinners, catching up on life, school, soccer… Hearing you say, “Yaaa Rissa! How you doing?” And getting your big hug. Oh, I’ll miss your laugh. I smile just thinking of you… so many fond memories growing up together. Your bowl cut and silver teeth. Beach house, New Years and Christmas celebrations, Sunday get-togethers… I remember your graduation. Watching this incredible young man speak in front of his entire class and empower them to chase their dreams.
You are so amazing and I love you. I paddled out to surf the other day and dedicated my session to you. I don’t know if you heard me. I landed one of the biggest airs of my life.
That night in NY, Mom, David and I sat at the bar downstairs of our hotel, ordered a drink and toasted to you. I know there will be many more to come.