· By Maria Nilsson
FRIDAY TUNES BY CAROLINE
Describe to us your dream day?
Obviously there would be waist to eyelash high waves, it would be glassy at Queens on a rising tide. It would be a day off and I would wake up naturally have some snuggles with Toots and my dog Diego, coffee and then surf, walk dog to the beach for a surf check. Waves are good, and then paddle out with no worries of any time constraints. There would be like 10 people out and plenty of waves for everyone. Afterwards, we’d make a nice lunch have some beers listen to music, and friends would come over to eat.
What is an environmental or social issue that hits close to home?
I am a Master of Social Work, and a Mental and Behavioural Health
Therapist for a non profit on Oahu. I work as a therapist with
families who have become involved in the Child Welfare System. My job
is to ensure that the issue that landed them with Child Welfare is
resolved, and long term services are set up so the child will stay
with the family. This program is intensive and I practice home based
therapy, if our services are not available, the child will be placed
in foster custody. I have always been an empath and altruist, so I
fell naturally into this profession. I am extremely passionate about
social justice pertaining to race, gender, class, and mental illness.
Many clients I work with have been abused, and mistreated their entire
life, which in turn created their problem behaviours. These problem
behaviours are usually just harmful coping mechanisms, stemming from a
need to self protect, and are learned behaviours, genetic
predisposition, made worse by lack of resources and education to help
process trauma, and systemic, covert and overt racism, sexism, and
classism. Most people cannot see past the surface level of people’s
mental health status, or drug use status, and cannot bring themselves
to think critically to try to understand how people become the way
they are, and find it easier to blame the individual. I am a
relativist through and through and do not believe in objectivity. Life
is not linear, clean, nor objective, and I am passionate about
connecting with people with many different stories, listening to them,
and advocating for them.
How do you practice self-love?
Does everyone say surfing? But yes surfing. Surfing, I am not near my phone and it feels like a brain massage. I like to challenge myself mentally and physically, I like to set goals and cross things off lists. I try to practice radical self acceptance, lots of reading of women’s memoirs, talking with friends, and challenging my negative self talk EVERY DAY. Working out, eating pizza, sleeping in when I need to, waking up at 5 AM when I need to, alone time, and social time, CALLING MY MOM. My mantra since I was 25 has been “I am a strong and beautiful woman inside and out deserving of love.” I have realized at my ripe old age of 31 that the grey area in itself, is happiness. Living in a non binary, non-linear state of acceptance with goals of personal growth, discipline mixed with freedom, and acknowledgment of all that I have, is how I practice self love and it is also called reality.
If you could have a super power, what would it be?
To fly, I dream about it all the time, it’s like swimming through air.
You only get to choose one colour to wear for the rest of your life, what colour would you choose?
Oh man thats hard its a tie up between black and that light brown yellow mustardy color. It would be white if I could never stain it, but that is impossible because I have bad fine motor skills and my food misses my mouth a lot.
Favourite surf memory?
EASY. I went on this epic surf trip last summer where I went to Sri Lanka with two friends from Hawai’i and solo to Canggu and Batu Karas, and ended it by meeting my fiance and some friends in the Philippines. When we were in Sri Lanka, we met this fellow named Jaya who is one of the most amazing people I have ever met in my life. He took me and my two friends from Hawai’i surfing every morning and every evening. He would take us to the most amazing spots in his Tuk-Tuk showing us elephants along the way and then surf with us. One day we had surfed a little point break I will not name (EVER) we were pretty tired and surfed out because it was the end of our trip, and we had been surfing 5-6 hours a day. We went to a little snack shop and our friend Ryan ordered a mountain dew in a glass bottle, the mountain dew had broken glass and fire ants in it (sorry had to add that part), he spat it out everywhere and we all laughed so hard we almost peed our pants. We all ate a ripe jackfruit together, then Jaya suggested we check out another point break around the bend, we were so tired and sunburnt, and not sure if we wanted to surf or nap. We walked maybe half a mile with our logs. When we got there, shit you not, there was NO ONE out, head high waves with 5 wave sets coming consistently on a perfect right hand point break. The four of us surfed our brains out for hours. It was amazing, no cameras, no proof, just smiles chee-hos and us asking each other if it was real over and over again. On the tuk-tuk drive home the sun was going down we were sunburnt and the perfect type of tired and happy.
How do you measure success?
I feel most successful when I am enjoying life, feeling grateful and chipping away at a dream.
Do you have any secret skills or talents?
I used to play guitar and sing in a band and travel up and down the west coast touring with my best friends you can listen here: https://soundcloud.com/the-family-stoned
I was also the lead singer in like a black sabbath worship band : https://soundcloud.com/deadhead42069666
Staple healthy meal?
Pizza? JK. Watermelon is my favorite food. and Pizza? JK, but seriously. .
What is Caroline’s life motto?
“When you plant lettuce, if it does not grow well, you don’t blame the lettuce. You look for reasons it is not doing well. It may need fertilizer, or more water, or less sun. You never blame the lettuce. Yet if we have problems with our friends or family, we blame the other person. But if we know how to take care of them, they will grow well, like the lettuce. Blaming has no positive effect at all, nor does trying to persuade using reason and argument. That is my experience. No blame, no reasoning, no argument, just understanding. If you understand, and you show that you understand, you can love, and the situation will change.” -Thic Nhat Hanh
Words: Molly Oneill