Pieces of Me


Challenge_Josefa Pete_03_wm

As I sat by the ocean I craved for my heart to beat in rhythm with my mind, searching for a sense of lightness. Juxtaposed against the sand and the sea, I was part of something far greater here. Watching the sun dance on the water, the glistening reflections seemed like tiny ballerinas pirouetting on the thin and delicate surface. The deep blue and green hues, in their slow swirl and constant motion, kept my gaze transfixed. My thoughts tumbled over and over on themselves.

Even here it was hard to listen to all the voices. The voice of ego in my head was loud, yet the voice of my heart was soft and meek. I drew my arms in tight, vulnerable and exposed as the breeze passed through me. With each crashing wave, I imagined all the weight and burden inside me being drawn out to sea. Envious of the seagulls that soared overhead, envious of all they could see from up high, I realised why I came here. Here I could try and see things differently, try to shift my perception.

Challenge_Josefa Pete_01_wm

Challenge_Josefa Pete_02_wm

Our first year of marriage started with the picture perfect wedding. Then fell into pieces. I clung to my stubbornness to do everything and be everything. Unwilling to admit even for a moment that maybe I was wrong.

I forgive you, whispered the ocean.

The first few months with AJ were impossible. Exhaustion was my only certainty. With each unbearable night I would glove up like a prize fighter limping into the ring to slay out twelve hard championship rounds.

I forgive you, whispered the ocean.

The year when we went from having it all, to almost having nothing left. Looking for a rental house to buy one weekend and facing a redundancy the next. The black wolf of depression was juggled with one bad choice after another, piled high into a mess of debt.

I forgive you, whispered the ocean.

The fresh salt air slowly filled my lungs and unfurled like whispers of smoke in my body. Holding on to my exhale, I stood at the shore, closed my eyes and set fire to the burning fear and doubt. Methodically, I unzipped myself from the itch and the unbearable scratch of past decisions. The perception that I was asphyxiated by expectation and obligation began to shift.

Challenge_Josefa Pete_04_wm

Challenge_Josefa Pete_05_wm

Challenge_Josefa Pete_06_wm

The voice in my heart became a loud and clear crescendo.

Our first year of marriage was the foundation that has given us ten years together.

The first few months with AJ broke down the coldness in my heart and gave me the chance to love my son in a way I had never imagined.

The year that nearly tore our life into pieces was the year that taught us what was most important – each other.

Across the ocean, the words echoed in my heart. The walls I so dutifully built over many years started to fracture, light streaming through the splinters. While I may have felt that my mind was bound and smothered, it was only by the chains of my own perception. Like a sandcastle being taken out with the tide this once strong and steadfast perception was being swept away in submission.

The choices I had made do define me. Yet, they also are an opportunity to keep redefining myself. I embraced these choices. Let them wash over me. Realising the only challenge I ever face is to be open to my vulnerability and humble enough to seek my own forgiveness. For it is only through this forgiveness that I can hope for a new perception and the chance to move forward.

Far across into the horizon, the hues of blue and green diffused so that sky and sea seemed like one. I had found my sense of lightness. In a whisper I vowed to always try and live through the voice of my heart. As I cast this promise to the ocean, challenge was set free to the wind.

“Challenge” was first published on Kidspot. It was my third  post as a finalist in the Personal and Parenting category of the Voices of 2014 competition. You can view the post here.

© 2023 always josefa - designed by adelphimou