As a Sri Lankan, the elements of the ocean and rain forests are embedded within me. Growing up, I remember vividly spending hours by the beach, watching the waves crash on the shore, kissing my toes and breathing in the crisp salty air. I have always loved the ocean. Especially in the mornings, when the sun is just peaking over the horizon, and the cool morning breeze brushing against my cheeks tenderly, almost as if they were placing a light kiss, and then spreading to every part of my body, leaving a sea of goose bumps across my skin.
There is something so refreshing and pure about feeling the soft sand tickle the soles of your feet as you walk down the shore. Something so sensual in the way it enfolds you and humbles you as it places your life into perspective. Looking back on my life, I’ve realized that no matter where I’ve gone, the ocean is a place I can call home. Whether it be the shores of California or North Carolina, my home lies in the mysterious ways of the sea.
For the longest time, I’ve been so afraid to be happy. Because every time I find myself being happy, something bad always seems to happen. As if there is a sword hanging over my life, just waiting to drop at any moment. What most people seem to forget is that words pierce deeper than any sword ever can. And that trust is a fragile and delicate thing. It’s easy to break and easy to lose, but almost impossible to ever completely get back. Whenever I find myself upset or in tears, I close my eyes and bring myself back to my favorite beach in Sri Lanka, where the water is clear turquoise blue. And the sand tickling the soles of my feet as the gentle breeze kisses my cheeks. My mind calms for a second, but just as the ocean brings me peace, it also reminds of my past.
My mind travels back to when I was about 16 years old sitting on the beach in California. In many ways, I have always been the black swan of my family. I wasn’t as fair-skinned as the others, soft spoken, or cultured. My roots may have been Sri Lankan, but I had grown up in the states. Often times I felt myself being torn between two identities I could never fully embrace. I remember my salty tears that day, slowly rolling down my face and dripping from my chin, as they become one with the ocean quietly murmuring against my scarlet toes. I pictured my tears flowing around the world, envious of their freedom, of their ability to melt away and travel as they please.
The ocean sings a sweet lullaby. The lullaby of a lover that places salty kisses on your cheek, and leaves your tousled hair feeling light and free. The sounds of the ocean tell a story of sorrow and grief, laced with a touch of sweetness and joy. Much like the reality of life. At times, life is calm and still. At other times it is rough and harsh. But despite the conditions, in the end, it is always beautiful. We all have two types of days, one that seems in our favor, and another that seems only to go against us. On the days, which are in our favor, we must not be aloof and imperious. And on days, which we feel are against us, we must be patient and understanding. Because in the end, both days stand as tests to strengthen who we are, and ultimately to show us that the beauty of life comes from change.
Even now as I struggle to overcome hurdles of my own, I think back to the moments in my life I’ve spent comforted by the ocean. My soul is and forever will be intertwined with its elements. And whenever I find myself reunited with it, I am filled with an incredible sense of strength, of inspiration, and hope for my future. When I breathe in the ocean, it’s salty smell reminds me that I am stronger than I think. No matter what comes my way, I can overcome it. And when it’s breeze embraces me, I feel my soul warm, and my minds let go of things I am held prisoner to. The song, which the ocean sings to me, encourages me to listen and trust myself. To understand the nature of life and to recognize that there is more to this life than seeking the approval of others and material wealth, but most importantly to recognize that love and compassion are not to be seen as a luxury, but as a necessity to humanity.
My pulse is one with the ocean, and in its lullaby, you will find my soul.
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