A lifetime of memories: the storm, causing a million ripples in a bottomless sea. One event, followed by another, and another. Each one building momentum, creating their own ripples through my life, my “ocean”. Hard earned time has taught me that those waves come and go. The crashing of hard water on soft lungs, followed by minutes of muted suffocation, always ends. But it never feels like it will. Decades of time have taught me to swallow the waves, to gulp and chug the water searching to crush me until my belly is full and my ocean is calm. Until the threat is gone, if only temporarily.
The only problem with swallowing the ocean, is the fact that you’re always chock full of it after. You live, breathe, eat, and drink it. It trickles out of your pores, tainting every moment, every relationship, with it’s bitter salt kiss. Yet you continue to survive it. You fill your belly with it, every time. You swallow mouthful after mouthful of water, trying to stop the drowning. Trying to prevent the salt water from rotting everything beautiful. You eat it, over and over again; hoping for a day when the sea is calm and stays that way. But the waves always come back; and they always will, until you calm the storm that’s feeding the ocean’s rage. It turns out that swallowing your pain, the ripples of your trauma, your ocean, never actually heals you. It just staves off the suffocation, that time.
Trauma creates a storm in all of us. One that batters our shores, throws the ocean of our minds into a fury, until it’s so volatile that it tries to swallow you whole. You have to deal with your shit. If you don’t those waves will spill out of you, drowning you and everyone around you. It will taint every corner of your life until everything is water logged, drowning, unhealthy. A man once said “The difference between an addict and one who is drowning, is the one who is drowning knows it. The addict will drink the ocean until he becomes it.” That is trauma. You either keep swallowing water, trying to keep your head above the waves while everything around you, including yourself, is effected; or you go through the storm, you deal with the shit, and heal. Calm waters must be earned, it takes time, and hard work. You can only swallow the waves for so long…
by Ashley King
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