The Gulf of Mexico holds the story the last two decades of my life. The Gulf wooed me here to Florida. Days and nights spent on the gulf shores have given me more than shells as mementos. I’ve watched my most precious things transform in its magical waters: my children swimming stronger each year, my friendships deepening on beach house porches, my happiest days and nights creating themselves on the sand, under the sun, in wave after wave of salty sea.
The Gulf is most certainly the story of my love affair with MS. We celebrate our anniversary based on a weekend we spent eight years ago in Cape San Blas–when it was love, love, love, we knew it was love. Ever since we’ve sought refuge from the noise of our day-to-day lives with little honeymoons by the sea. Once a month or so we return to the year-round beauty of the coast. A little house, a walk in the sand, a gin and tonic or cup of coffee on a sun-blistered porch. It doesn’t take much. The stars are closer to your shoulders there, but the world is farther away.
I wake up every day thinking please, please, don’t let it all be gone.
We’re heading to the beach this weekend to see how it is doing, see how the Panhandle is fairing since the oil spill. We’ll see.
This week the beautiful, luminous, gifted blogger, designer and photographer Tracey Clark graciously featured my essay in her I Am Enough project. I love I Am Enough. It stands as self-kindness against the onslaught of our culture’s peculiar self-improvement industry that pollutes women’s minds with more self-doubt and self-hatred than improvement. It offers a consistent message, told through individual stories, that human beings are precious and wonderful, as is. Just as we are. We are enough. I’m so grateful to Tracey’s vision and the change she is making with this initiative, and for letting my words rest in the deep-hearted space she’s created, and I’m so grateful for the community of writers who gave me support there and via Twitter. Proclaiming I Am Enough has been an incredibly moving experience.
There is an odd, sad story alongside the essay. Who knows what compels us to write something at any given time? When thinking about coming to terms with not needing to change to be worthy of taking up space in the world, my thoughts went to the ocean, because it has played such an important role in my life. I send the essay to Tracey–who herself has a deep and abiding connection to the transformative powers of the sea, as it turns out–in mid-April, and four days later the Gulf Coast oil spill started. So much to think about.
I’ll work to fight for its recovery and restoration, as the sweet Gulf surely has prompted mine. If you are looking for a way to help rescue wildlife injured by oil, please look at Sun Coast Seabird Sanctuary. They need specific items, or you can donate or adopt-a-bird. I have a Pelican! I can visit him any day of the year. I know!
So we’ll see, we’ll see this weekend. We probably won’t visit Pelly, but we’ll see. Please, please don’t let it all be gone.