There she was, naked, vulnerable, and alone on a plank of wood, floating in a sea of self-doubt.
She was shaking, holding her knees to her chest. Mascara stained her face as the mist from the sea mixed with her tears. She gazed hopelessly at the violent, blackness that surrounded her.
In the distance, she could see a chunk of land. Redemption. But it seemed so far away.
Behind her, closer, was an island called Regret. Regret was easier to reach. Swimming distance. But she’d heard about that island. There were deadly creatures, and it was dark all the time. No sun. No moon. Just blackness.
Redemption, on the other hand, although not paradise, was much more pleasant. It was a place to call home. But it was so far away. She wasn’t sure she was strong enough to make it there. She wasn’t sure she was ready to put in the work. To believe in herself. To forgive.
It’d be so easy to give in to Regret. To live in fear. To live a life tip-toeing around, holding herself back, surrendering to her demons.
The temperature began to drop. She needed to make a decision. Fast. Would she move backward or forward? Would she choose Regret or Redemption?
A flash of light split the sky in two. Lightning. Shortly after, a clap of thunder shook her eardrums, and the sky opened itself upon her, soaking her instantly. She closed her eyes and began to breathe.
Inhale the courage, exhale the fear.
For a moment, she forgot where she was, and had a vision that she was sitting in the sand on the edge of Redemption. She envisioned herself thanking the moon for shining—thanking herself for choosing forgiveness.
Another crack of thunder, and she opened her electric blue eyes. She knew what she needed to do. She began to paddle. Toward forgiveness—toward Redemption.
It was not an easy journey. Her arms were aching. She was soaking wet. Freezing cold. Exhaustion was creeping in. But she wanted to make it to shore before the sun came up. She needed to sit in the sand. She needed to thank the moon. But it wasn’t looking good. The current was too strong. She looked up and asked the universe for help. “I’m ready to reach Redemption,” she screamed. “Please help me. I am ready to forgive. I am ready to put in the work. I am ready to believe in myself.”
Suddenly, the wind began to blow. It came from behind her, and changed the current. The wind began to push her toward Redemption. She still had to pedal. She still had to work. But she asked the universe for help, and it responded. Guiding her, nudging her in the right direction.
She gave up control. She closed her eyes, and threw back her head. She let the rain beat down on her face, the wind pushing hard against her back. And for a moment, she was free. For a moment, she forgot where she was. Trapped in a nightmare of her own making. Trapped in her own self-doubt and insecurity. She forgot that she had been trapped inside herself.
She let go of control, asked the universe to guide her, and in turn, set herself free.
Then, she was thrown from the plank of wood, and she hit the earth. She felt sand between her fingers and her toes. She was home. Letting go had brought her to Redemption. Letting go had allowed her to forgive herself. Letting go had taken her home.
She looked up, tears and rain still streaming down her face, and she thanked the moon. She looked within, and she thanked herself.
Author: Nicole Dunlap
Image: Ramos Alejandro/Flickr
Editor: Lieselle Davidson