Being at the beach is one of the most peaceful places for me to be. I could sit on the beach for hours, listening to and watching the waves. Crash, then ebb and flow. Back and forth, the rhythms are hypnotic. One of my favorite memories from childhood was our family trips to Seaside, OR. It was a time when our family was all together, my parents and two sisters. Where we almost felt whole. The tradition was to get up before the dawn and head to the beach to search for the untouched sand dollars. It had the same feeling as trying to contain excitement before Christmas morning, to open up all the presents. During the twilight was the best time to find the whole and complete sand dollars, anytime after the sun had fully risen the sand dollars were always broken. There in the early morning, all of us would be on the beach running to the hopes of finding full and complete sand dollars. I would see white on the sand and my heart would jump. I would run to it and YES! A whole one, a whole one! We would collect them in a bucket and when we would get back to our temporary residence, we would line the sand dollars all up; admiring the different sizes, the wholeness and completeness of the sand dollars. The feeling of finding a complete and whole sand dollar, was like how it felt for us to be together. Sharing these traditions, for us to be together and the feeling of happiness, even if it was just the short moments on the beach, warmed my heart. My parents took us there every summer for as long as I can remember, and Seaside will always hold a special place in my heart. A place that feels warm, complete, and whole. These were the moments that I wished happen daily in the routine of our family life, but when we came back to reality the loneliness consumed me.
My parents were both hard working, a wonderful representation of what it meant to work towards achieving your goals. They worked full time, raising 3 girls (including myself), and even went to night school. I admired my parents, they were wonderful role models for me and my family, always instilling their wisdom upon us. However, both my parents were distracted, as well as my two sisters. My dad suffered from Tourettes Syndrome and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and my mom was hard focused on breaking the glass ceiling within her career. My two sisters and I shared the same mother, but had different fathers. They were adopted by my father at a young age. When I came into the world, I had that feeling of wonder and joy, excited to be a part of something so wonderful. I was just a little, freckled, red head who looked up to her parents and two older sisters, wanting to do anything to please them. My family was always physically there, but mentally elsewhere. We all wanted to be there for each other, but we all had our own lives and internal battles going on that we just couldn’t. This left me with learning what it meant to be emotionally unavailable, and alone, alone to take care of my needs and desires. Soon, my family didn’t worry about me as much because they would think “Oh, she’s got it figured out.” I didn’t realize this at the time, but I desperately wanted a whole family, a “tribe.” A place I could truly call home and a place that filled my heart with the infinite love I desired, but instead there was a part of me that was empty. I think I desperately searched for that feeling of being together on the beach, continuously throughout my life. I continuously searched for acceptance and a place where I felt I belonged; A place of unconditional love and attention. Later I would learn through unhealthy friendships and relationships, that left me feeling more alone and insecure, that to find my sense of unconditional love and acceptance, I had to start within.
So, here it begins, my waves of healing. I have been exploring my past, digging up the feelings from behind the cobwebs and the emotions crash down on me like waves. As the waves crash down they go back out, and a sense of renewal begins, and my hope is that a balance of myself is left. I have always searched for answers, and I have always tried to forgive. My path hasn’t been easy when I have been searching and journeying to the center of myself, but each time I dive in I remove another veil. Another veil that is removed allows me to see and think a little more clearly. It wasn’t until this last year, that an entire, heavy cloak was removed and I see everything so completely different now. Here, I launch and set about the stories of my life, my past. Through this journey, I expose the truth behind my “veil” my “mask,” and show everyone that I really don’t have it together. That I have been trying to fill my voids at the bottom of a bottle, at the bottom of the cookie bag, and in my darkest past at the bottom of the bar through promiscuity. Only to find myself even more alone, surrounded by guilt and shame. Through these vignettes of my life, all stories point to searching for the feeling of what it means to be the whole sand dollar that experiences the ebb and flow of the waves. This is the journey to the center of myself.