Sometimes I don't want to go in the ocean. It might be cold. It might be a brownish green color because of the seaweed. I might be feeling sorry for myself.

I put the last one in because the second I go into the ocean, I automatically feel better. I don't even have a choice. Once I put my head into the water, all the calamity disappears. I don't hear the chatter of the people sitting under their umbrella and their beach volleyball game. Most importantly, my mind goes quiet. It's like the water turns off the noises, the fears, the incessant talking. All of a sudden, I am good enough, I am loved, and I am capable of anything.

The ocean is my safe place. I wish I could say that I go to the ocean all the time. Coming from a landlocked state to living 10 minutes away from the beach, I should go every day. My 8-year-old self yells at me every time I stay home instead of going to the beach.

Addicted from day one

I learned how to swim before I learned how to walk. My parents wanted to make sure that I could swim in case I fell into some sort of body of water. One of my first memories is riding my tricycle into the poolin my snowsuitbecause the instructor wanted to make sure that I would let go of the bike and swim to the side (I also wore the same snowsuit when I took the training wheels off that bike.... safety first, kids!)

Little did they know that I would join a swim team shortly after, and never quit.

I swam competitively up until the day I graduated high school.Looking back, any body of water I go into is my safe space. From the day that Corey Williams stopped being my friend in 3rd grade to when I told my mom I hated her in 11th grade. I sunk my head into the water and none of that mattered. Even if it's just for the moment, I am at peace.

When I surface, my life still felt like it was ending, but just a little less.

So why does this matter?

I have been fortunate enough to be able to go to a lot of places, and see a lot of things, but my favorite place to go to is the ocean. It washes everything away.... if I let it. It emotionally and spiritually cleanses me and I know that everything is going to be okay.

That when I surface, I can look around and instead of focusing on what's wrong in the world, I can see the beauty and be grateful that I am alive and able to experience the beauty of myself and my surroundings. If I am strong enough, I am able to carry that attitude from the ocean and apply it into my daily life. But I always know that if I fail, the ocean will still be there, waiting for me

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