The beach has always been a place I frequented growing up. Adults took us there to play and create special childhood memories.
I clearly never got the memo because I’d get into my swimwear and rush to the deepest part of sea until I’d start drowning.
I took swimming lessons all throughout my primary and high school years, I’ve always known how to swim. I just chose not to.
Even though, I was quite a timid child, it seems the roaring sea was the only thing that didn’t scare me.
It held a secret I desperately ached to discover.
I don’t ever remember being at the sea and not yearn to disappear into its vastness, always ready with another deliberate attempt to end my young life.
Sometimes I’d go all the way until the part of the sea that doesn’t wave.
I’d let the stillness push me further and further into its belly. Ignoring the desperate whistles that beckoned me back to safety.
I’d float on my back under the sky, basking in its sun, until I felt an intruder dragging me out of my dance with death.
My mother’s strict instruction was clear: not.to.swim.when.she.was.not.around.to.watch.over.me!
She was raising a suicidal child who never passed up the opportunity to die and she didn’t even know it.
Death and I seemed to have a recurring appointment.
My siblings have seen me trying to die, so have my friends and random adults on church outings.
I’ve always wanted the sea to consume me into its engulfing pit.
I’ve been trying to kill myself for as long as I can remember.
I’ve been that unhappy, that sad, and that consumed with feelings of hopelessness.
Not one person understood the language I was using, begging to be rescued not out of the sea but out of my entire life.
Now that I am older. I remember all those times and I cringe.
I look back at the little girl I was and I shudder to think my life has always been a burden for me to carry.
It hasn’t gotten any better though, life keeps trying to find ways of stealing my joy.
The only difference is that I remember to fight to stay alive.
Last December, I went to the beach with my sisters and my step mother.
I started swimming proudly along the edge.
The sea water was ice cold and I couldn’t stop shivering. The saltiness stung my unspectacled eyes and kept choking my throat.
Within minutes the sea was doing what it does best, whisking me away.
Once again, I was staring death in the face.
I could feel my body reaching its limits. Staying alive was becoming a wild struggle.
The sea was angry.
I was at our meeting place but this time I didn’t want to stay.
I seemed determined to live and the sea couldn’t understand why.
I could feel myself losing the fight. My lungs were getting tired and I could hear the panic in my sister’s distant screams.
Today I woke up with a craving to consume something I’m deathly allergic to.
I waited for the moment to pass. And when it wouldn’t, I sat in the warm bathtub and allowed myself to drown in all the sadness.
I could end it all but I didn’t want to.
Permanent escape is no longer a place I rush to.
I remember to breathe.
It’s a throaty attempt that ends up with me choking on my own tears. I can’t help but laugh at myself.
Being alive sucks sometimes but those overwhelming moments of hopeless sadness no longer last very long.
In the mess of it all, there are moments of fulfillment & happiness too. The memories are sometimes a blur but I still remain determined to be alive.
I am choosing my life and all the inconsistency of its fractured fragments. I am still here ❤
Photo By: Lonwabo Zimela