Dear Flabby Abbi,
You are so lovely and wonderful. Your body is beautiful and you look so at home on this beach. I wish I could tell you that those words you hear every day on the bus, on the playground, at lunch won't matter and they don't mean anything. They do. Those words will stay in your mind forever. It doesn't make you weak or horrible, it makes you human. Just don't dwell in that sad place, stay bright.
Just know that one day, ten to twenty years from now, you will realize that those kids were just mean. They may one day grow up to be really incredible people and regret those words, but most of them won't even remember they hurt you so deeply. Forgive them, move on and don't believe their lies even though it's so easy to do.
Your boobs will one day be an asset. You will always be curvy, you should love that. You will marry an incredible man who makes you feel beautiful at any and every size not because of your outward beauty but for your heart, your passion and your kindness.
Don't be mad at your dad for taking this photo, you will thank him for it one day because he saw you for who you really were not how you feel in this moment. You are beautiful and beachy and awesome.
Last week, I headed back to the Outer Banks of North Carolina to help train the new Marketing team at Kitty Hawk Kites. It was great to see the ocean and while I didn't get much time to see friends or say hello to some of my past co-workers, it was nice to be back for a few days.
Of course, a hurricane came barreling in the last day I was there. I literally flew out of Norfolk (ORF) two hours before it hit the OBX. The Weather Channel was at Kitty Hawk Kites, too, which made for a fun rush back in the job. Jeff, the new Marketing Director, handled it like a pro. Good job!
You can watch the segment here: http://youtu.be/WctH7r2KAx4
I did get the great pleasure of staying with Alyssa. She runs the Online Store for Kitty Hawk Kites and is a treasured friend. You should go chat with her and let her help you buy a kite (shameless plug). Alyssa and her husband, Andreas, were fantastic hosts - they kept me fed and well rested and I got spend my one day off on an almost deserted strand of the island watching the waves and catching up.
It was a good week, and it was good to be back even for just a short time.
It was great to spend some time with John, my previous boss and President of Kitty Hawk Kites. There were a few tragedies during the week and really brought some perspective to how short life really is - I made sure to give him an extra tight hug when I said goodbye at the airport. He's still jumping off dunes in a hang glider and tends to never slow down - though, I am pretty certain that's what's keeping him young. :)
During my trip to the Outer Banks, a good man passed away.
I met Richard back in 2012 at the Kitty Hawk Kites Hang Gliding Spectacular with his beautiful wife, Maggi. Richard was in town early for the event flying a proto-type hang glider at Jockey's Ridge. It was my first week at Kitty Hawk Kites. I headed out to the dune on my 2nd day at work in a maxi skirt and watched them fly our event's coordinator up on the Boone Flyer. Here's a photo from that day:
Later that week, I was walking up the dune with Richard and Maggi for the competition. Richard was telling me all about teaching Maggi how to fly and spoke of her as if she were the only woman on the face of the earth. Every time I ever spoke to Richard about Maggi whether it was to ask how she was or if she was coming with him next time, Richard always lit up. He loved Maggi. She was his girl.
When I got the news that Richard was not well but there was hope he'd come back around, I remember thinking how hard it must be for both of them. Both trying to get to a place of consciousness with each other. I remember thinking of my husband, Jordan, and what that would be like - not knowing, waiting, worrying, hoping. I can't even come close in my imagination what Maggi must have been feeling that week.
It was only a few short days later that I heard Richard had passed away. It was early in the morning.
Richard was a brilliant person. I remember many conversations with John and Richard about the early days of hang gliding, about the dynamics of the wing, the materials, many things I didn't know or understand about the sport but listening to these two talk shop was like listening in on two good friends changing the face of hang gliding from the inside out.
Richard was a reader. Every time we saw each other we swapped notes on common read books we had read or tips on a new one that we hadn't heard of. In fact, when I got off the flight this past week I shared with John that I had brought him a book. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. John simply said, Richard sent me that book a few months ago. I chuckled.
I've kept up with Richard and Maggi via Facebook since I left Kitty Hawk Kites. A funny photo here or there of Richard and the cats, a sweet photo of the two of them on the beach at dusk. They are a beautiful pair and I am heartbroken to know that half of this amazing duo has passed on.
Fly On, Richard. You are loved and missed more than you know by people all over the world. Your contributions to the sport of hang gliding are immeasurable. Fly on.