i don’t know that much about the ocean. thalassophobia keeps many things at bay that I will never discover by myself.
i DO know too much about swells and rip currents though, which does not help with the phobia. I cannot live without water (no, I’m not talking about drinking it), I spend my best moments in water. Swimming pools, showers, baths… give me water and let my body go free and I am a happy camper (never literally, camping is the worst).
i cannot be immersed in a body of water that is not completely, ridiculously clear or in any situation where I can’t see what we call infinity. Ridiculous is another way to describe how I am attracted to those images – the divers that recorded their last moments underwater by accident, the videos of large whales existing in the dark only to appear in a flash right in the face of someone who is brave enough to be in such a vast and scary place.
it makes perfect sense now. I never understood why can I love water and the need to immerse myself in it while having such a strong phobia. it makes perfect sense now. You see, I can’t handle not seeing what is around me, both literally and figuratively. I can’t exist knowing that something might be heading towards me in the darkness or that I cannot see with utmost vividness and clarity what is around me, my body, my thoughts, who I am. Clarity and predictions must be taken seriously – in my way of dealing with this phobia.
i can say now that I once went through an occasion where all I could see when I jumped in water was a dark liquid. And I didn’t even have a mask on (no pandemic in there though, so it should be fine), nor a compass, nor a rope to guide myself in it, not even a ray of sunshine to illuminate my circumstances.
but you know what I did? I am going to tell because I easily lose my sense of pride in myself. I stayed there.
now, it’s not the kind of pride I prefer feeling because there was danger in the non-clear, the lack of visibility. That is probably a telltale sign that shows how much I am not acquainted with real self-care. Still, I am proud. Deeply. Profoundly. In the depths of the murky ocean that, along with both a rip tide and a swell, took my breath away and let me in a purely existential state. In a locked-in syndrome if you will (yes, another personal fear that I discovered not that long ago when it hit not close to home but in what I would refer to as home). Tossing and turning not at my will but at the will of my murky, tainted thoughts and feelings. I chose the wrong colour from the palette and what I thought to be a vivid cyan turned out to be the darkest black pigment one could find.
i laid still, I felt the motions, but I let myself be there. Why? I think I know. Lack of proper self-care. Self-sabotage. The old habit of wetting the floor so I can fall on my ass and break a bone.
it turned out to be a very unexpected experience. Thalassophobia renders me speechless, but I could scream out loud at times. It renders me useless when in fact I became stronger – which is a fact I’m still puzzled about. It usually renders me frozen as well, unable to move or act but again, guess what? I moved, I ran, I jumped, I did not stop.
in a locked-in syndrome, you have your whole mind to create an alternate world. You can survive there. I thought I could never accept such a faith until that syndrome got a hold of my feelings and I made my mental palace better.
all of a sudden, when I thought my mental palace had just finished construction and decoration, the water released me. It spat me out. I saw colour again. And how amazingly bright were those coloured lights! I had completely forgotten they existed; I had surrendered to the fear so hardly foolishly that it became my normal.
my body was thrown out in a millisecond, I did not have enough time to understand that I wasn’t in my mind palace anymore.
i appreciate and respect my fears but had I not gotten right into the murky and deep nothingness, I would’ve never again be able to appreciate small things – light, flavour, colour, movement, agility, strength, control.
i am thankful. I let myself drown, and for a while I let myself accept the ill-fated theme of self-sabotaging. Again. Though, to be clear, it hadn’t happened in so long that I didn’t suspect I could ever again do it, drowning myself. It came as a beautiful surprise that I survived being underwater for what it seemed like a lifetime – exactly how time feels like for someone in a locked-in syndrome; slow, fantastical and elastic.
the rip current was stopped by the future. The wants, the loves, the needs, the eyes of someone you can tell is thrilled and happy, even if they are not smiling. Not only was I saved but I saved myself without any awareness of doing so.
i will forever be thankful for that dirty, murky water. I will forever shout, even if my mouth is closed. I will forever keep my mind palace pristine and beautiful, but I won’t be there regularly. I will let my body go, but I will do it when I can control it.
now I anxiously await for tomorrow, when I will jump in clear, shallow water, in its gorgeous teal blue hue, and I will savour every second of it.
for now? A couple of warm showers where I let my head be covered in running water until I cannot hear my surroundings will suffice.
because there is always tomorrow. Until there isn’t but I won’t be aware of it so… it IS all good.
REALLY fucking good