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Sailing down the river in my beautiful custom boat, filled with every luxurious upgrade that one can dream of. As I’m smoothly traveling along the magnificently beautiful ocean, seeing in the far distance how the blue of the sky and that of the ocean blend together as one. This scene is almost too much to take in, as well as the feelings of accomplishments from building this gorgeous boat from scratch and slowly adding to it until it became the masterpiece it is now. As the calm waves smoothly and methodically hit the sides of the boat, I slowly drift into a sleep.
In my sleep, I dream of the times of old. Of the dysfunctional and abusive childhood I had. Of the many days and nights that were so dark that no candle or light was able to light it up. I dream of the many years of social, emotional and religious abuse I’ve been through. I remember the loneliness and sadness I’ve felt. I remember feeling so alone, hopeless and despondent, feeling as though I’m doomed for life.
I dream about the over ten years of being a sex slave for my abuser. Being a mere piece of flesh and bones for him. I remember how I belonged to him, in mind body and soul and how he would use me day and night to fulfill his sick and selfish desires. I dream about the feeling of having no identity, no voice and no opinion. I didn’t belong to myself. I was his and only his.
I suddenly awoke to a loud crash of a wave, bringing me back to the present moment. Another horrible nightmare of my days of old. Of the old me. The tortured and pained little boy in me. My old personality that was so beaten and hurt.
Yet, I look at myself now, on my own custom yacht, in this gorgeous and peaceful blue ocean. I look at my adult body and adult self. I look at who I am now and what I’ve become. Instead of the tears and the migraine that usually follows a nightmare, a smile slowly appears on my face.
I remember first building a simple little boat. A small shaky row boat. I remember first climbing into it and pushing myself offshore and into the water. It was at that moment that I left the waters of dysfunction and abuse. As soon as I put both feet in that boat, I left that life behind. I was above the toxic waters of my past. Although the boat was small and shaky, I was still above the water.
There were many times that the waters tried breaking the boat and throwing me in, yet I managed to remain above the water. There were many storms that tried sinking the little vessel I was in, yet I desperately held on to the sides of the cold metal walls and took one breath at a time, one minute at a time to get through the storm. At times like that I’ve learned that I don’t need to row the boat. I don’t need to move ahead. I can put the oars aboard. The very fact the I remained on board was a massive triumph.
Slowly as the storm passed, when things settled down, I added a bit more to the boat. I stopped along boat shops and bought small upgrades. At first it was a small motor. One that barely moved me, yet it was a motor. And I was proud to have it. And then slowly but surely I added and upgraded to the massive yacht I’m in now.
Along the way, there were hundreds of triggers and flashbacks which wanted to drown me. There were times when I wanted to leave the boat and jump into the water, back to the dysfunction, back to my life of ignorance and bliss. Life was so simple back then, so pain free, or so it felt.
There were times that I wanted to jump into the water, because the pain of healing was too much to bear and I just couldn’t handle it anymore. I kept on losing grip and my knuckles were bleeding from gripping the sides so tight.
However, after the storm subsided, I saw that I was still afloat, above the water. I saw that no matter the weather or the strength of the storm, I was unbreakable and unsinkable. Every time my brain would convince me that I lost the battle and that I fell into the water, I would feel my clothing and see that all was dry, indicating that I did not fall in. I remained above water.
Slowly, methodically and painfully, I added and built to this boat. I added a bigger motor. I added a steering wheel so I can steer myself clear of potential storms or triggers that would awake those nasty voices in my head. I added a radio to help me listen out for storm warnings. I added an extra layer of protection on the outside to make this boat stronger. I kept on building more until this boat became a yacht.
Reclining back in my custom chair that I built for myself, looking at myself and the beautiful creation that I’ve built, I know that what kept me going was the knowledge that despite every storm and attempt to make me feel like I lost, my dry clothing proved to me that I was still above the toxic water. That very first time that I stepped into boat, that very first session of therapy, was when I made that transition from being in the water to being above the water.
Looking out at the far end of the ocean and seeing how the blue sky and the blue waters meet, I know that I can continue along this journey and accomplish the impossible. If I made it until here, I can’t and won’t give in to those voices yelling at me to jump into the water. I can’t and won’t give in to the storms that want to split my boat in half.
Having made two massive victories in one week, proves to me yet again how this journey, although almost impossible, it is indeed manageable. One wave at a time. One storm at a time. One day at a time and when the day gets too hard, I’m allowed to take one minute at a time.
When the next storm comes, I know that I can turn off my motor and just focus on staying afloat and that’s enough and when the storm passes, I can continue along my journey, to the very far end, where the sky meets the water and reach heights as tall as the sky. Heights that I would’ve never dreamed reachable.