So what felt like a long vacation is now ⅔ of the way over. I am two weeks away from returning to NY and then making my way to the Berkshires. I’ve always been a woman who sees the glass as “half empty” so I’m a bit panicky about this idea that the vacation is nearing its end. I still have two weeks to go yet, but it feels that the vacation that stretched out languidly before me when I left NYC on the 25th of June, is now finite.
I’ve tried to go “in the sea” as we say here, everyday. Because I still do not swim, I am a bit hesitant to go to the beaches where there are no tourists. I figure if I’m around folks, then, at least if I need help, I’ll be able to get it quicker. I am very envious of all the people floating around and even more so of the ones jumping from the cliffs into the areas of the sea that are like mini whirlpools. I curb this jealousy by concentrating on just enjoying the effects of the water on my spirit.
I am an Aquarian through and through, for the most part and no matter how stressed or crazed I am, whenever I so much as catch sight of the sea, my heart just calms down. Simple. Just like that. It’s been a blessing to be able to drive 3 minutes each day to get calmed down. When I arrive at the water, no matter which beach I choose, before I go in, I stand in awe of the whole thing. The suspended clouds. The sun playing hide-go-seek with them. The sky wrapping itself around the whole scene. The expansiveness of the water. All of it. I have to remind myself that such beauty is existent. I have to consider the existence of a supreme being who makes all this possible, despite of my Secular Humanist tendencies.
I’ve known the ocean as Yemaya for about the past ten years of my life, since my awakening and re-education about my ancestors. My father was a traditional worshipper and healer, and the ocean and mermaids were his god/desses. Mamiwata, the name the mermaids are known by connotes repulsion for some and irrational fear for others. For all of my years in Ghana, I was made to fear this very part of my father. My grandmother wanted little to do with him after he and my mother separated, but wanted even less whenever issues of traditional worship came up. Never mind that my father was also a staunch Roman Catholic, and went to church three times a week, belonged to Knights of St. John, and was a reader and Eucharistic Minister. Being a traditional worshipper automatically shrouded him in suspicion and secrecy as far as she was concerned. For her the two could never go together. The White man’s religion trumped all. Fear was so firmly planted in our hearts that sometimes I went to bed scared I would drown in my sleep. Problems like my bedwetting, which was a result of my early sexual abuse, were attributed to his Mamiwata, leading me to always maintain a fear of this beautiful offering of my ancestors.
I’ve come a long way from the kid who had the irrational fear of traditional belief systems and the ocean. Of course, I still harbor a fear of floating away if I’m not careful, but everyday for the past month, I’ve had a conversation with Yemaya, and all she’s asked of me is to trust myself and also to love myself fiercely because she does. It’s beautiful to watch our interaction, Yemaya and I. It’s been healing to also note that I’ve come to accept a part of my ancestry, a part of what my father stood for. I don’t presume to know the first thing about traditional worship, but I think accepting it and loving this about me and my father has been very helpful in defining a new kind of spirituality for me. Sustaining this relationship will be my challenge when I am no longer surrounded by the ocean.
In addition to visiting Yemaya everyday, I’ve been reading Nook books, eating everything put in front of me, and staring at that memoir. I haven’t written any new material for it, but I am ok about this. I’m trying not to make myself feel too bad for not working on it. I wonder if this is why it takes some writers ten years to produce certain books.
In any case, I am writing other things. I am researching places to submit to and I have received my first paid publication! Pentimento published my creative nonfiction piece titled “The Covered Wagon” which details my April 2012 breakdown. I’ll post on how to get you copies soon as I find out.
Hope you are having a blessed summer thus far!