The Voyage, Reflected

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This is the documentation of a voyage.

Should I say, it is the documentation of the steps needed for the voyage. One day, with enough luck, we will see written the details of the actual journey, but first we start here–with only the framework we were all given. Perhaps rusty with years of abuse. Perhaps the sides moldy and weighted with barnacles and calcified scum. Maybe the figurehead that adorns our prow is gaudy and terrifying, a symbol we didn’t understand at the time that has only brought us bad luck.

As we all have, I have been on voyages before, and none without their purpose. But at one point,  as it is always told, I lost my way. The sea during those first journeys was rough, and I wasn’t ready.

It broke into wide chasms, and I wrapped myself up in the garish blankets I had brought with me, ill prepared for the storms.

I stayed there for such a long while that even when the skies had calmed, and the ocean lay in perfect stillness, I still kept to my quarters. And even as I made it back, safely to shore, and my friends and  family dragged the boat inland, far away from the sea and its dangers, still I lay. And soon I began to fume with anger and shame that I had not had the support, not had the preparation that I should have. That I had been afraid. And that fear was now veiled, in shame, as hatred.

I enjoyed this feeling–I replaced the flashy trimmings I had naively picked out before with rugged, spiteful symbols. I gathered up everything that was offensive and carefully adorned myself with them, ashamed of the fear that the ocean has exposed to me before.

I had been living that way for years, until I woke up one day with the longing of the sea-smell that had infused the air of my memories from long ago. Longing to feel the wide chasms open below my ship, giving my stomach a lurch and a shift.

The fear hasn’t gone, but with it admiration–of both the sea and my survival of it, and the need to find my place in it again, this time perhaps more prepared–not with figureheads of mermaids and colorful lanterns, nor with the black sails of hatred and spite, but with those things that lie outside of me–the surface of the sea, and the air, and the abyss that falls both below and above it.

I do not propose to know all of the answers. This log will be, at the most, an attempt in finding those answers. I have not come out on the other side, and I don’t claim to know what it looks like. To be quite honest, I distrust most who claim they have, and give answers and absolutes–as every voyage is different, every ship came to be from different decision about the type of lumber used, about the reinforcements, about the fabric of the sails or the fuel of the engine. Every destination has different coordinates. And every voyager is a different person

It will be a test for me to positively interpret back to you the ebbs and flows, the tides and moons as they occur, and allow some insight into my interpretations, but more than anything, I encourage your own translation, in your own terms, and with your own ship.

I will spend my time adding to and taking away, constantly pushing myself towards the destination I want, fully knowing that that destination will constantly be changing, and enjoying the journey along the way. I plan to document it all here–the successful anchoring into the shores of my choosing, the unsuccessful crashes of wild storms, fires, mutinies, the times that I’m thrown overboard and have to swim back to shore, and the times that I consciously jump ship, feeling the need to succumb to the wild ocean around me. But first, we start with the building, and the taking away. The busy preparation  and sea-wild anticipation.

The voyage starts with understanding my current position. Looking with absolute scrutiny at the landscape in which I reside, not focusing too much on either the rugged beauty of it’s cliffs, nor the painful drudgery of it’s dried plains–the terrifying rapids which lead to the sea, nor the ease and comfort that comes from the small hill I currently reside, that begs me now to stay. Apart, these features tell their own story, but only together do they tell mine.