I woke up back in San Diego, where I lived for a short time in my first year. I was born in New Orleans, and my mother was transferred to the Navy base here shortly after. Supposedly my father was in the Navy too. All I have of him is 2 polaroids or a smooth and handsome looking Puerto Rican guy that doesn't look much like me, but I'm not the one with the truth on that, just what I've been told. I have faint memories of being in San Diego with my mother, and the sort of oversized uniform hat she wore, but maybe only because I've seen photographs of that scene. I do definitely remember the whale shaped strollers they had at Sea World.
From there, my mom backed out on the whole parenting thing before I knew what a mother was, and I went wherever my grandparents and aunt went, who I came to know as my mom, dad, and sister. Titles are important and unimportant. They are my family, and we've all huddled through some real storms together. We moved from CA to NM and AZ, where we lived on two separate Native American reservations. Then we spent time in FL, NC, AZ again, PA, and NE. When I flew the coop, I landed myself in IA for a decade before coming back to NE. We never seemed to stay in one place too long, and in some cases we were there just long enough. I never fully understood the changes when I was coming up, but I was along for the ride, and we all did our best.
Time brings complications to relationships. Blood, love, space, and distance and forgiveness can extend the magic of a continuous, closed circuit, reciprocal connection. My family and I have had all of that, and the relationships I have with my friends that I call family have those elements, too.
There's a rhythm to the waves. Maybe I'm partly drawn to the ocean because of it. Water is our true mother, and in our bodies. Life is born out of it, sustained by it, and can be defined or ended by it. Water can heal and nurture, or burn and drown. It's amazing stuff.
I remember telling a friend an analogy when things were getting her down. She said she wasn't crazy about the beach, because the waves were a bit too much. I explained that when they come at you, there are a few options:
You can stand and take it. If you're stronger than it is, you might do alright, but you'll likely take a good shot.
You can ride it in, but you'll take steps back that you'll have to retread.
You can time a jump just right, up to the crest and then back down. You're lifted off the ocean floor with a vertical leap dictated by the wave itself. This is a really fun one, but you have to have your S together to pull it off.
It's a bit counter-intuitive, but the smoothest way to meet a wave is to dive down, crouching and holding your breath until it passes over.
I said that when emotions come in like waves, the thing to do was to get a low and strong center of gravity, and watch the feelings go over your head. No adjustment means getting knocked over. Jumping takes you off of your feet. Surfing could leave you anywhere, if you can even stay up. To me, the thing is to let the feeling pass, and watch them flatten out at the shore.