“Don’t wait for your ship to come in, swim out to it.”
― Cathy Hopkins
If you are landlocked, do you long for oceans, lakes and rivers?
For me, the answer is “yes.” I live in the arid state of New Mexico, and as much as I love my home in the high desert, I’m increasingly drawn to ocean metaphors. Some personal favorites are the film “All is Lost,” the book and movie “Life of Pi,” and Tanya Aebi’s memoir Maiden Voyage (written in conjunction with Bernadette Brennan).
About Maiden Voyage: When she was eighteen and going nowhere fast, Tanya was offered a challenge. She could either go to college or accept her father’s offer of a twenty-six-foot sloop in which she was to sail around the world alone. She chose the latter. For two years, her boat was her home. She not only survived but triumphed over fear, uncertainty, feeling lost, being alone.
She did not allow herself an emotional breakdown. To do so would have been dangerous. For months, sometimes off course, she negotiated skyscraper-tall waves, incredible storms, weather and illness, and her journey became, in the words of one review, “a spiritual quest that brought her home to herself.”
Two years ago, I published The Goodbye Baby-A Diary about Adoption, a memoir comprised of diary entries from the 1950s through 1980s. Through the act of writing, I began to heal from years of repressed anger and pain. I forgave the past and myself. I redirected my imagination. Instead of dwelling on all those invisible wounds from being separated from my birthparents for most of my life, I was able to focus on writing.
Tanya Aebi had to conquer herself and focus on surviving the elements. She focused on the journey. For me, the unveiling of past suffering, my miasma of self-recrimination, was a journey at sea. Not Aebi’s voyage alone at sea, an endeavor that required extraordinary bravery and focus, but nonetheless, a voyage to a fresh beginning.