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My wife Tiffany and our daughters are my favorite people to be around, and the beach is our favorite place to be. 

Last week, Tiffany and I piled in the Jeep with our three girls, Ocean, Kali and Summer and headed out for a vacation at the beach. After an insanely exhausting and emotional year and a half with the pandemic, we were excited to relax and spend quality time as a family. (In our family, relaxing means hours upon hours of bonding, surfing and soaking up the sun.) The beach, any beach, is definitely our happy place. 

But this time, even amid all the chaos of the world, the beach seemed a little bit happier. 

For the entirety of our vacation, seven days in a row, we were surrounded by crowds of kids eager for us to teach them to surf. These kids, mostly girls and a few boys, were amazing. They showed up day after day excited to learn to surf. I love kids. I just love them. I love teaching them how to surf. 

The kids (and some parents) admitted they thought I looked scary at first. But once we met, they thought we were the coolest family they’d ever met. (I’m partial, but I’d have to agree.) 

Which leads me to say, never judge a book by its cover. 

I never quite fit into the mold of what the world considers “normal.” I’m used to being judged because of how I dress or my gender or because I’m lesbian or because of all it rolled into one. I’ve often found that people fear me simply because of my tattoos.

Even though I’ve always loved myself and worked to stay true to who I was, there was always a part of me that never felt truly accepted.

In addition to surfing I want to teach kids that people can be more than one thing. I want to push forth the notion of women empowerment and crush old stereotypes and continue breaking down barriers. 

I want every child, everywhere, to feel loved and accepted. 

I want to teach children to truly love and accept themselves

And I want the same for you. 

Be you. Be different. The world needs YOU.

Nurse Amy O

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