Saturday Sister: Jessica Watson

jessica watson

A LITTLE ABOUT THIS WEEKS SISTER:

WOW!!!! What an incredible honour to have the amazing Jessica Watson as this week’s Saturday Sister!!! At just 16 years of age she unofficially became the youngest person to sail non-stop around the world unassisted.

She is passionate about sailing, adventure and making a difference. Her mission is to inspire our youth to pursue their passions and achieve their biggest, craziest goals.

In 2011 she was awarded the prestigious Young Australian of the Year title. And in January 2012, Jessica was announced in the Australia Day Honours list, receiving an OAM (Order of Australia Medal) for services to sailing and being a role model for the youth of Australia.

Jessica is a down to earth, Aussie chick, who radiates joy and is an inspiration to many. We are so deeply blessed to feature her post this week; we just know you’ll love it!

Happy Reading xoxo

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WITH LOVE FROM JESSICA

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A few months ago I gave a talk to the Year 9’s at a girl’s school. I talked the girls through my adventures and explained the inspiration behind my voyage around the world. I love talking at schools, so I tried to include some stories that I thought the girls would enjoy.

During the speech, the girls listened quietly and I felt the presentation went really well. After the formalities, a group imagesof girls gathered around me to ask questions. But a comment from one girl shocked me, “wow, you’re so skinny” she remarked. I was a little disappointed that this was the only thing that the girl had taken away from my visit. She seemed more interested in the way I looked, rather than what I had to say.

And for the record, I do not at all aspire to be skinny. I have scrawny arms that stubbornly ignore any efforts to build them up!

Anyway, talking to my younger sister and other girls after this, I realised how sheltered I’ve been when it came to body image issues for girls. From the age of 11 till I was 17 and finished my voyage around the world, I’d been completely focused, even obsessed with the voyage. Body image had nothing to do with boats, navigation or weather systems, so it didn’t enter my head! I was blissfully ignorant to the pressure placed on young girls and the way they should supposedly look.

It really wasn’t until this comment, that I realised what young girls were up against. I realise now how sheltered, even ignorant, (but mostly lucky) I’ve been.

I was also very lucky growing up. I’ve always been surrounded by family and people who placed far more value on what you thought, than the way you look. Better still, my parents very rarely treated my brother any differently to my sisters and I. I am so thankful that my Dad (thanks Dad, I know you’ll be reading this when it pops up on your Google alerts!) made my sister and I tie our boats to the trailer after sailing, while the other girls chatted on the other side of the boat yard. In our house, there weren’t jobs for boys and different jobs for girls. We all chipped in together.

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This attitude stuck with me when I first dreamed of sailing around the world. It didn’t occur to me to be the youngest ‘girl’ to sail around the world. I wanted to be the youngest ‘person’.

Having said that, there were times at sea when Ella’s Pink Lady (my boat) and I were being were being rolled upside down by massive waves. And at times like this, nothing motivated me more than telling myself that I had to beat the boys who had previously held the record! There’s also a quote by Bethany Hamilton (an amazing pro surfer who lost her arm in a shark attack when she was 14) that I use to recite to myself. It goes like this….

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These days I believe fitness and body image is about feeling your best, both mentally and physically. Going for a jog or the occasional yoga class is as much about my head space, as it is getting fit. I also think spending 7 months at sea on a tiny boat, has also given me an eternal appreciation of being able to go for a walk!

So while I don’t claim to be any sort of expert, I know that if you chase your dreams, little else matters – and best of all you just might realise those dreams! It’s incredible what we can achieve if we set our minds to it!

Jessica Watson x

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