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Tricks when we were meant to plunge.

Happy Day 28 of our Dry January Journaling Series!

Here is our prompt for today:

”What does freedom mean to you? What about wild? When you think about your own life, where do you feel the most free? The most wild?”

You know what animal I most closely relate to? A dolphin.

A dolphin at sea world specifically.

I remember being a little kid and absolutely losing my shit over Shamu and those damn dolphins. I knew then and there at 8 years old that I was going to be a dolphin trainer.

I was convinced the bond between dolphin and trainer was like no other. As a kid I really believed that a Doctor Doolittle animal relationship was a possible thing. My imagination was a pretty dope place. I also really wanted to believe that animals could talk. Toys too, but that wasn't my fault.

Naturally, I convinced myself that I would be a dolphin trainer and they would be my best friends.

And then I grew up and watched blackfish.

And then a year or two later, I stopped going to church and virtually changed everything about my life.

I wonder if baby dolphins born at SeaWorld think life is pretty great at first. Because they're with their mom and they get food and they play.

I wonder when they start realizing that something is wrong but can't communicate exactly what it is.

I wonder if they are born with their wild and at what point sea world forces them to lose it?

Because evolution didn't create them to do tricks day in and day out. To eat the same food and stay in the same place and exist in a tank.

Evolution created an entire ocean for dolphins. An entire ocean. With fish and big pods of dolphins and whales and seals and whatever else they come into contact with. Because it is their one life to do with it what they please.

Dolphins do not exist to make humans clap and cheer.

And neither should people.

If you get the honor of seeing a group of dolphins swimming together, it is a privilege. It's beautiful and everyone knows how rare it is to witness firsthand.

Because real magic isn't curated, it's created out of emotion. An explosion of emotion that creates beauty.

Humans should be allowed the same freedom. To not live in a cage where we perform for other people.

It took me a long to realize that I had been performing. I had spent so long getting praise that I didn’t realize I was swimming inside a cage.

I spent so long inside cages. Some that I was born into and some that I learned from other people. Freedom can look like unlocking the cage of insecurity that you’ve built around yourself. Sometimes in order to keep ourselves safe, we stay locked away. Unfortunately locking ourselves up doesn’t save us from pain.

We may still be lonely or unfulfilled or frustrated.

We will just also be alone.

Choosing to leave the cage and join others in this messy, scary world is actually how we get through the messy scary parts. We show up to them. Not perfect or to show off but just to show up. When we get out there in the big old ocean, we see that while yes it is vast - it also free.

I used to compare my recovery to a person who is just treading water. The ocean was swallowing me whole. But as I learned to ride the waves of this life with tools that helped me handle what the ocean would bring me, I was able to not just tread water but swim and thrive out there.

The more that I let myself roam into the freedom of my own healing ocean, the more wild I was able to discover.

And after some time, I got my wild back. It comes in waves of creativity, of passion, of social justice involvement, of learning - so many parts of myself that have always been there but were hidden by my addictions and insecurities.

It's only the beginning too, I can't wait to see where the ocean takes me and you and all of us.

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