Here I am, jumping from platform to floating platform above a deep blue ocean. My grandmother guides me along, leading me down the path. In the distance, there is a dock. She stands above the water and points toward a raft.
I deserve this place to rest, she tells me wordlessly. I deserve peace and love and comfort within. A break from the turmoil. An end to the unrest. A spot just for me, where I can lean back and just be.
I am relieved to finally see this place, this comfortable raft where I can float on top of this tumultuous ocean. I can bob above the water, basking in the sun instead of being tossed beneath the waves.
Sit, she beckons. Rest. Observe. Feel the waves underneath you and understand that you can always rise above. There is a permanent perch where you control your life. Where you are of it but not in it. Always remember this place.
I am about to take my seat. I look forward to leaning back but I step too fast and slip. I feel a surge of fear. All fear leads me to the same place. A monster lurking behind a friendly face. I can’t be a sitting duck. I can’t relax and believe in peace. I can’t trust what falls apart so quickly.
The platforms tear like wet paper.
The raft turns to wicker and my foot falls through. In the presence of this evil, my soul departs and my body takes control. In fight or flight I was too small and powerless to fight. My only choice has been to flee. I take a great leap without wanting to. I am suddenly pushing the raft of mindful life behind me and plunging into the depths of the waters below.
I am paralyzed. Rigid. My hands don’t move as I sink further from the surface. I am a rock. My body tells me this is where I belong.
Demon, his evil binding my body, claiming to have won. My body, he is telling me I don’t own it, he is trying to control it, keeping it from making any movement, locking me up in a primal state of paralysis. I am not worth saving. If something so wrong can happen again and again, it must be what I deserve.
I am being squeezed in the fists of evil. It tells me it will never let me go.
Suddenly, above the surface, I see my grandmother’s face. Wouldn’t I rather be up there with her, she asks. Wouldn’t I rather have one good moment than an eternity of suffocation? What am I doing there, not even trying to swim? That evil doesn’t hold you, baby, your body is yours. Move it. Use it. Fight. You can fight and you can win.
Is it too late? I wonder. I’ve sunk so far. I start to move my arms and kick my legs. I hold my breath and feel it burning in my lungs. It is actually a relief to remember I have breath, even though it hurts. I don’t remember how swimming works, how fighting works. I flail as I try to figure it out. I am frustrated by the clumsy movements of my body. It’s stricken with rigor mortis. It has been frozen, fear stricken, for so long.
You can do it, she tells me wordlessly, but what you can’t do is let yourself sink. If you don’t stop yourself now, you will drown all your life. You will never have lived at all. It doesn’t matter what has happened to you. You can fight and you can win. That body you have is what holds this entire ocean, that body you have isn’t insignificant. It’s all you’ve got to fight this evil. It’s all you’ve got that will set you free. Use it. Love it. Remember why you have it.
This body you think deserves the worst doesn’t exist. The body that thinks it is so owned by evil is an illusion. Who you are can not be owned. You are this entire ocean, you are the waves, you are the raft, you are the stars above it and the earth beneath it. You are an entire, beautiful world. You are the only one who can set you free. Reclaim your world. Reclaim your life.
She leaves and I am alone under the water.
And suddenly my body takes over. But this time, instead of pushing me down, it reminds me how to swim. I know there will be peace at the surface. I remember who I was. All I have to do is fight on her behalf before she is lost forever. I’m the only one who can.
Finally I reach the surface. I struggle onto the raft. It’s still there. My grandmother is on the dock. She smiles.
I’m proud of you, she says without words. Everyone has this ocean. Everyone has these demons. Fighting isn’t just for you. The ones who make it to the surface become the platforms that you walked on. They pave the path to peace.
Your life becomes a testament to the people who are struggling, a pathway to help them find themselves again. Live your life as an inspiration. As a testament to the power of love. Live your life to show that no matter what has happened, you have the strength to rise. You have the will to fight. Even after you’re gone, that love you gave yourself has built a platform so that others who have been lost can find their way back home. Never stop fighting for yourself. Everyone is lost in a world like this. Show them why it’s worth fighting for.