“I will be a mermaid when I grow up.” These were the words spoken by a young girl many years ago who goes by the name of Hannah Fraser.
And weirdly, she is, in fact, a real-life mermaid today.
Don’t believe me? Watch this video and be mesmerized, and amazed.
I stumbled across this today, and I am smitten.
Her bravery. Her beauty. Her tails (she designs them herself!!). Aaaand she makes being a mermaid ridiculously cool and utterly believable as a practical career.
If that’s not enough, she swims with sharks of all kinds, manta rays and dolphins. She’s an activist actually making a difference and changing laws that help protect the oceans and its inhabitants, aaaand she’s doing it for a living.
This is so awesome, I can’t even…
You know why I’m so over the moon about this girl? Yes, her approach to living a brave life is beautiful and perfect, and inspiring on so many levels, but that’s not what stopped me in my tracks.
It’s the fact that she decided to be a mermaid, and she became one! A mermaid!
I can’t think of a more dramatic illustration of you can be whatever you set your mind to be kind of pep talk (parents, take note). In fact, one might even use this as a means of exaggerating the idea, yet here she is in all her magical awesomeness. A mermaid.
Clearly, she had a home that cultivated this sort of wonderful madness. I mean, she even made her first mermaid tail when she was just 9 years old.
Here is a photo from Hannah’s Instagram, and it’s delightful.
Flashback to my childhood! My first handmade mermaid tail – age 9 ♡ #hannahfraser #hannahmermaid #underwatermodel #mermaidfashion #mermaids #mermaidmodel #siren #beautiful #happy #picoftheday #instadaily #reallifemermaid #hireamermaid #babymermaid #professionalmermaid #love #mermaidlife #mermaidforhire #realmermaid #myfirst
This got me thinking. A lot.
Actually, I was already thinking along these lines. Not about being a mermaid, sadly. And not because I can’t—but because it isn’t my calling.
There are two messages in her video that struck me.
Firstly, her message on being brave. Yes, yes, yes!
It takes bravery to follow your heart. It just does. I don’t care what you want to do with your life, if there’s a will, there is a way. I believe this completely.
I promise you that every accomplished professional in their field, no matter how obscure or outrageous had to overcome obstacles to get where they are. Every. Single. One.
Even as a blogger (and this almost sounds silly in the context here compared to swimming with sharks), I was terrified when I hit “Publish” that very first time. It still gets me.
It takes tremendous courage to put yourself out there in anything you do. Anything. I can’t think of a single career that you could choose that wouldn’t require guts to achieve even a moderate level of success. Think about it.
Even an office job requires a job interview and application process. Then there’s the first day, and wrapping your wits about the job itself. Actually, this starts even earlier while in school. Practically every facet of life requires some measure of putting yourself out there IF you want to be successful.
I think of this often in the lives of those around me. So many people back away from whatever their calling is because other people have said “You can’t succeed doing that.” Or even worse, they’re so afraid they’ll fail, they never even start.
That’s the true failure. And THAT will haunt a person for the rest of their life. Guaranteed.
At the end of the whole long game of living, the thing that will haunt them the most is that thing they’d always dreamt of doing, but didn’t dare. That’s a lousy time to wonder, “What if?”
So what if you fail? Go ahead. Fail spectacularly. Fail brilliantly. But pick yourself back up, and keep LIVING. Because, who knows? What if you actually succeed?
Seriously. What if?
Because the second point that struck me in her video is the fact that she actually accomplished what she set out to accomplish, no matter how insane or impractical it may have appeared to others.
This took focus, determination, study of the subject at hand, practice-practice-practice, more practice, and just for good measure, more practice.
She swam with sharks. Not cute little toothless sharks in an enclosed environment behind the protective bars of a cage. No. She swam, utterly unfettered by protective barriers with Great White sharks and Tiger sharks. In open water. Go ahead a Google those little guys and see how snuggly they are. I’ll wait right here.
But you know what she did before she attempted to do such a crazy, amazing stunt? She really took the time to understand them (the sharks), and to understand how she should best behave in their environment so that she could be as safe as possible under the circumstances. Don’t take my word for it, just read her blog and her FAQs for yourself (I’ve included the link below).
She also practiced breathing and diving, and swimming, and probably a bit about materials and sewing so she could design such epically realistic, stunning, AND practical tails (for propelling, or beauty, etc).
When we see talent and skill exemplified–sure there may be raw talent–but to be exceptional, requires a lot of doing whatever it is they are doing. In other words, practice. Of course, I would assume that they would be practicing a system that works so that when it is polished, it is like living perfection.
So, if all of this is necessary to become successful at whatever one is endeavoring to accomplish, what happens if you never get to do the things outlined above (focus, determination, study, practice)?
Because, let’s be honest: Whoever heard of a world-class athlete who didn’t do these? Or a world-class dancer? Or a grammy award winning musician? Or an Oscar nominated actor? Or a chef? Hell, even a best-selling writer needs to master some semblance of typing skills if he wants to be prolific at all.
The problem is that many of us never even get a chance. And sadly, this often starts right at home.
What would most mothers say to their daughter if she said she wanted to be a mermaid when she grew up? Maybe they’d humor her as a child, but what about at 13 or 15, or God forbid, 18?
That’s when the “practical” conversations start to happen.
It’s a little heart-breaking to think that most kids actually get their dreams tromped on much younger than that. They tell their parents they want to do this or that, and their parents dismiss it as a childish fancy. These kids never even get a chance.
And you know what sucks about this in real life?
These kids, if actually taken seriously and challenged, could become our modern day Tesla, Mozart, DaVinci, or Washington.
If you don’t believe me, look around. These kids do exist in smaller numbers. You know them as NFL Champions, Soccer Champions, Gold Medalists in the Olympics, Grammy award winning artists, World renowned chefs, and more.
THOSE are the kids that had parents who said, “Okay, I’m in. Let’s do this.” And they did.
One of the hardest things to overcome in living your dream is self-doubt.
And then it’s compounded by the doubters we encounter in life. You know, the people who think we should all fit in some imagined box of perfectly boring normalcy? And if it’s the parents who are telling them “it can’t be done”, “don’t waste your life”, “impossible”, “you’ll never make a living at that” (like being a professional mermaid), then what?
But isn’t that what responsible parents do? Tell their children to stop dreaming and get practical?
Actually, no. It’s not, dammit.
B-b-but what if they don’t succeed?
They will have pursued what matters to them most, and I promise you, they will be happier than that guy over there who settled, and is miserable.
There are so many amazing success stories of people you know and recognize who just disagreed with “public opinion”, and went ahead and did it anyway. And you know what? It looks like a whole lot of AWESOME.
So, go ahead: Be a mermaid when you grow up. Or a fashion designer. Or an Olympic downhill ski jumper. Or a Blogger. Or Spider Man. Be whatever you want to BE.
Sure, you’ll need to focus. You’ll need to ignore all those boring, pessimistic naysayers. You’ll need to study your craft and all the nuances that with application, can make you awesome at it. You’ll need to practice. And yes, you’ll need to fail. And then you’ll need to get right back up, and practice some more. You might even need to get creative and explore ways to make a living at it (like being a mermaid), but that’s also a part of being a professional.
So, go ahead and do it anyway. You’re never too young, or too old. And please remember to encourage others to do it too!
And thank you, Hannah for being brave with your life. You are seriously awesome.
Please share your thoughts with me on this in the comments below, and if you loved this, share it. Who knows, maybe we can change the world together.
Resources, Links and Further Inspiration:
Learn more about Hanna and her awesomeness at her website. //hannahmermaid.com/ Note: If you’re reading this at work, you should turn your volume down because her website has some beautiful, haunting music that goes with an amazing visual the moment you hit the page.
This is Hannah’s Tedx Talk on how she used creativity, fantasy and imagination to actually change the world. It is absolutely brilliant and a must see.
Here’s an awesome list of successful people who failed before they succeeded.
Here is a link to a story of an unlikely ballerina who has become a phenomenon. Her name is Misty Copeland, and her story is inspiring and awesome. I will do a whole post on her at some point because it is just that good, but for now, here is a link to a video that’s worth seeing: Misty Copeland: An Unlikely Ballerina Interview (3 min)
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