“I need the sea because it teaches me…” This evening, I sat beneath a Santa Monica sunset to reflect on a moment of realization I experienced a few hours earlier:
It was Manhattan Beach and the sand was too hot to bear. I lifted myself from my beach towel, the wreckage of shattered heart-pieces, half-thoughts, faded memories and tokens that prove my growth. I carried myself to the sea, my beautiful beast, the ‘scape that has remained beside me my entire 22 years. It felt cold at first as it rushed like frigid wild fire from the tips of my toes to the tops of my knees. In the minutes I stood there gazing at the water blue, the way she moves in confidence and bold pursuit, all for nowhere, all just to shake and roll and howl, I thought of all the ways the sea teaches me.
She teaches me strength and hugeness, boldness, how to be wild, how to be free, how to be. But most importantly, when I stand by the sea with my feet immersed in the blue linen edges of her body, I feel part of her. I feel entirely in love, complete, whole, independent. With my feet in the ocean, I forget about the loneliness that captures me every so often, I forget about how I might like the feeling of falling in love again, I forget that I ever wanted someone to hold me in a way that promises to protect, I forget that it is normal to have another person to feel in love. She teaches me to feel that much love all by myself, within my own sun-kissed skin, beneath the walls of my own wildly beating heart. She teaches me to love the way I’m here, the way I breathe, the way it feels to be natural, completely me. I feel at home, at ease, with peace. My whole body forgets the toxins that I’ve learned from concrete: the fast food, the processed snacks, the beer in bulk, and instead, all I want in the entire world is a juicy cantaloupe, a pineapple, fresh orange juice, ginger, lemon, a handful of lettuce. The sea teaches me and keeps me the person I was always supposed to be: fit, thin, vibrant, alive, strong, independent, fueled by whole foods, bred from the earth, one with the elements of pure life.
This is why I know now that the sea must always remain a constant for me; I realized I want to move to an ocean place to teach English for at least a year. I want South America, or some tropical island that I’ve yet to discover, somewhere wild with the windblown whispers of the water blue…