You invited me to play in your waters assuring me that it would be safe and I could trust you.
I believed in you and, like an innocent child, placed my hand in yours and followed you to the water’s edge.
So naïve and unassuming to the dangers lurking within your depths.
With your gentle encouragement, I waded in, your waters calm and inviting.
It felt so refreshing and exhilarating.
I trusted you implicitly.
You promised that you had me.
Deeper we moved until your waters began to feel icy-cold and I sensed an undertow threatening my footing.
I convinced myself to be brave, to move toward my fear, and not to fight your current.
You urged me forward, insisting I could not let go now.
We were in this together and you needed me to be strong.
Unexpectedly, your sea began to storm.
Emotion set in motion a wave that crashed hard against my chest taking my breath away.
My body pulled under as the undertow raged against my feet.
Your words burning like a thousand, stinging jellyfish on my flesh.
I held my breath, I tumbled, grasped for you—but you were not there.
I emerged disoriented and confused.
My heart raced, hammering loudly in my ears as I drew a shaky breath.
Again, you directed a swell at me, so malevolent, I wondered what I had done for this cruelty.
Caught in your maelstrom, I closed my eyes, and shut my lungs, and desperately reached for you.
This time I found you, and you lifted me, coming to my rescue.
You reminded me that I could trust you.
Telling me how you had just saved me from drowning!
I was grateful.
Grateful you held me tight and grateful that your waters had calmed.
You promised me again that you would bring me no harm.
I wanted so much to believe you.
In the comfort of your embrace, your arms began to morph, slowly and insidiously wrapping slimy tentacles firmly around my body pulling me down toward your ocean floor.
As I sunk deeper, you chided me for not being strong enough to swim in your currents or to endure your waves.
I had failed at learning how to navigate the language of your waters.
Anger rose within me.
I would not lay rotting on the bottom of your ocean floor like other corpses you had drowned in the name of your love.
I would not let you hold me down any longer.
I was done with your deceptive tides.
Anger became my friend, my source.
Anger, giving rise to find the strength to fight for my survival, my sanity, my breath.
Anger fuelling my instinct, for my muscles to contract, for my mind to clear, and my heart to pump.
Anger became the warrior.
I pushed hard into your trust finding nothing but lies.
I pushed hard into your integrity finding nothing but brokenness.
I pushed hard into your love finding nothing but emptiness…
I pushed hard once more, this time deep into my core, finding, at last, the strength to propel back to the shore, and out of your unpredictable waters.
Laying quietly in the sand, the sun warming my skin, my breath easy, I am untangled from your tentacles, immune to your stinging jellyfish, and free from your storms.
Never again will I play in your waters.
Author: Karyn Lawson
Image: Christopher Campbell/Unsplash
Editor: Taia Butler
Copy Editor: Lieselle Davidson
Social Editor: Yoli Ramazzina