I have now lived in Illinois for 6 years. In all of that time, I think the closest I have come to the ocean has been the breath of salt air during a ferry ride between Jersey City and Manhattan during one of my early trips back east.
And I think the lack of salt air is really a problem for me.
I have never felt quite right living in the Midwest. I blamed it on a lot of things… leaving the only place I’d ever lived… leaving behind everyone we knew and starting over… trying to adapt to a culture I STILL don’t truly understand… not being settled in a home…
I had a lot of reasons to feel out of sorts. LOTS of them. And they all made perfect sense. But now I’m starting to really feel it deep in my heart–this ache for the ocean. I’ve ignored it for a long time. I’ve never actually enjoyed swimming in the ocean all that much. I don’t love laying on a hot beach. But I have always loved the beach and often I would be there in the evening when it was cooler. Walking in the sand and in the water. Listening to the waves. Smelling the salt air. Feeling the spray. I didn’t “live” at the beach like some do, but I was there often enough to replenish whatever void is left by it’s absence.
I tried the salt cave and while it was relaxing, it didn’t restore me.
That void has grown and it feels like it’s going to swallow me up now. I feel silly to think that a trip to the ocean could make this feeling go away. I turned to a fellow coast native who said “No–you’re right. Go.” I spoke to another friend with PTSD that said “There’s no question that the ocean has a therapeutic effect” for them. So I put out the word and found three people who offered to let me crash if I made a quick run to NJ for a few days. I don’t know if the weather will cooperate for the days I have available; and I don’t know if Husbeau can watch the kids (we will see what his work situation is like for that week).
But I’m plotting a mama escape for some Sea Vitamins and salt therapy. See that picture? That is an actual New Jersey beach photo taken by my friend (and artist) Mariya Kovalyov. And something is deeply sad inside of me when I see my friends back East gathering there every Wednesday evening.
Mamas need to tend to themselves. Mamas need to be happy and release the unrest in their soul lest they unleash it on their loved ones. Mamas need to practice radical acts of self-care.
What do you do to restore your soul?