Sometimes I dream of the sea. I can taste the sea air, feel the water on my body and the water fill me with comfort as I dive below. I’m never human in these dreams, but a creature of salt and spray.
They’re wonderful dreams. I actually wake up rested, which is unusual. My mantra these days is that I’m tired of being tired.
I’ve long been obsessed with the sea. As a young child, I thought it was because I was a child of the desert – and something I just was obsessed with when I moved to California.
We’d go to the beach and even if the water was too cold, I’d wander along the jetties and feel the surf thrum through my veins. I’d joke that my lungs, strong and able to hold a note for far longer than most girls my age were a sign that I wasn’t quite human. I read The Little Mermaid, watched the Disney version again and again. I loved the mermaids in Peter Pan, even as they tried to drown Wendy (only a little, Peter).
My happiest moments are at the beach. Listening to the surf, smelling the salt air, and staying out of the water for fear it will take me from those I love. (Though that’s more selkie than mermaid)
This year, as my body finds new ways to fail me… it’s easy to muse whether or not I really did come from the sea. Is my body failing because it wasn’t meant to be on land, out of the surf for all these years?
It’s all a fantasy, of course. I was born in the dead of of a rainy night, a month and a half early. I am as human as they come.
The more realistic concern is whether or not I’m living on borrowed time. Did I cheat fate too many times? Being born early, surviving when I might not have.
Evita is one of those musicals that resonated with me, for some of the strangest reasons. There’s a line in it, when Eva learns she’s dying, and she talks about the choices she’s made. “I could burn with the splendor of a thousand fires. Or else, or else I could choose time. How lived! How I shone!” On my worst days, I lie in bed and wonder, did I burn too bright? (Which says so much about the ego that I hide from you. I haven’t accomplished nearly anything I wanted to do, but was my childhood of singing and acting somehow too much?)
This post is going to frighten a lot of people who don’t know what it’s like living with a chronic illness. Those who have live with one probably understand where I’m coming from.
I don’t know why I have Crohns- the cause is unclear, though mostly it seems as though it’s something you’re predisposed to. I just have it. I have no control over curing it, just living with it day to day and coping. I do what I can to make things better, and have had to accept from time to time that it isn’t enough. That I’ll be swept into the vicious of pain, blood and far too many trips to the bathroom. That I’ll find myself kept in bed.
I’m 37, and I have this long road ahead of me filled with unknowns. It’s scary, in a way that I can’t quite describe. Actually, I can. When I was 20, I was caught in a riptide and just couldn’t break free. TheBoy actually pulled me out. Somedays it feels like that. Being pulled down, just barely getting enough air, and letting it wear you down until you just can’t fight anymore.
Don’t get me wrong, I have plenty of fight left. I am still so early in my journey here, that I often feel ashamed to feel defeated at the end of the day. I’ve had no surgeries, no colostomy bag, only two hospital stays. But I am tired. Simple tasks escape me because I’m just too tired to get to it.
But you can understand, why once in awhile… it’s just easier to wonder if all my troubles would slip away if I would go back to the sea. And breathe it in.