Monday, November 03, 2014

My mom, the fisherman.

I come from a long line of fishermen. My Hawaiian/Chinese/Scottish lineage ingrained a deep-seated wisdom to put a line with a hook on it in the sea and survive. But they did more than just survive, my family thrived. Despite adversity, despite the odds, despite any challenges. Despite being outnumbered, lacking fancy equipment or special bait. Moments after putting a line in the water, they would pull out the biggest, fattest fish in the sea.

And then laugh about it.

My mom always had the gift. When she was a little girl, she would go out in a boat with her dad and brother. Off the coast of Hawaii, near the bay where our family had their piece of land, they would rock back and forth in an outboard motor boat in the warm Pacific ocean. Her brother would cast his line in the sea and get a little nibble, only to find a fish stole his bait.

She'd flash a quick grin, cast her line in the sea and within minutes pull in fish after fish after fish.

And then laugh about it.

Over the years, men would try to out fish her. They would create tournaments and fishing vacations, put trophies on the wall for the biggest halibut, the largest of king salmons, boasting of their bounties. Not many women dared set foot in this hunting ground. It was intimidating. She would see men lined up ready to go out for the day on the ocean and she would walk past them get into a boat and head out to the same fishing grounds. Time after time she would limit out hours before they even hooked one fish.

It goes beyond fishing. She went to college in LA, majoring in Business Management in 1968. She was the only woman in her class. Her dad tried to convince her to be a secretary, something more traditional. Despite his wishes, she picked management. She didn't want to be a secretary. She wanted to have her own secretary.

In the 90s she would find herself the only woman in the real estate business world in Seattle and have men try to persuade her she should let a man do what she was doing. She should just give someone else the power she had earned. So she'd out fish them.

And now, I find my sister and I are in a current full of men in our separate professions. She's in tech and I'm in cycling coaching. And guess what we're going to do?

Out fish them.
"It's not about working harder - just smarter."