I’ve never really been that fond of the ocean. I grew up with it basically right on my doorstep and the ‘sun, sea, sand’ culture is strong out here. Swimming in the ocean always freaked me out, because I have some utterly reasonable fears of sharks and I’ve been stung enough times by jellyfish to give them a well deserved respectful distance.
However, over the last couple of years I’ve felt a pull towards the sea. Not to swim in, or even to laze about on the sand on a hot day. No, I’ve felt that whenever I’ve stared out at the rolling waves and the endless horizon, that I’m staring at a kindred spirit.
When the wind blows hard, the waves rise up and crash with force against the rocks and the shore. It mirrors the sky, so dark grey days make the immense ocean feel even more threatening. No matter how strong the wind and the rain cry out over the water, it will always fight to be heard as well.
Then, more often than not, the sky is a piercing blue making it so you can see nearly all the way to the bottom on any given day. With only a gentle breeze, the water is calm. Barely making a ripple even though there is an entire world underneath it’s surface that’s teeming with life.
I’ve lived with anxiety and mental health for nearly all my life. They’ve not gone anywhere no matter how many people thought I would ‘grow out of it’ or ‘once you’re an adult things will change’. It didn’t. Anxiety doesn’t discriminate. It affects all ages. All religons. All cultures. All races. It’s a hard pill to swallow.
However, there are a few… (I hate to call them perks, because they’re not) advantages to living with a race horse for a brain – it’s always ready to spring out and run in circles for seemingly no reason.
It’s a sense of connection you get. That’s how I can explain it. You see fragments of yourself everywhere.
You can empathize with anything.
You can see things that most people spend their entire life oblivious to.
You question things. Things that people will blindly accept because it’s percieved as ‘normal’.
For the most part these things are amazing. But, I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you how exhausting it is too.
“It’s both a blessing and a curse to feel things this deeply.” – Sylvia Plath
The ocean is terrifying. It has swallowed ships that were deemed unsinkable, it’s wrecked towns and villages with it’s force.
And yet, we still stand on the shore and let the water gently wash over our feet.
I’ve spent hours watching the waves, pondering on life. Trying to calm my whirring mind.
I think I’ve learnt a lot from these moments.
When there’s a storm, the water rises and fights. Sometimes destroying everything in its wake.
When things are hard and you feel a pain you never knew you could feel, don’t sit and give in. Fight. Yell. Scream. Cry, but don’t let it beat you until you can barely stand.
And when there is barely a breath of wind and the water is as calm as a mill pond, it sits and revels in the quietness.
I’ve learnt It’s okay to lie in the quiet and not expect turmoil around the next corner.
What I’m trying to say is that you can be a fighter, a strong, take no bullshit person, and at the same time be soft, gentle and understanding. They don’t cancel each other out.