I have no sailing experience. Aside from fishing on a lake – once – I have no experience with boats whatsoever. And yet I know exactly what it feels like to be adrift, lost at sea, with no idea of where to go or how to get there if I did.
It’s such a usable metaphor. Everyone knows what it feels like to be isolated and directionless. I’ve certainly been here before. But the difference between now and then is that before I would have nearly killed myself thrashing in the water. Now, I just want to lie in the boat and stare out at the distant horizon and wonder when it will get to me, not the other way around. That’s probably something that comes with age. It’s not terrible.
I’ve had two well-meaning people instruct me not to shout into the void. That is, not to put my struggles and thoughts in public, online. Another thing that comes with age is the ability to say, “Your constructive criticism is greatly appreciated, fuck you very much.” As well meaning as I know they are, sometimes shouting into the void is the only thing that makes me feel human. I have a voice, and despite being lost at sea, without compass or supplies or mobility, screaming my pain is enough to save me. But I am alone, and no one has to listen.
Maybe they’re afraid that I’ll say something injudicious about the person who left me here. I won’t. He’s lost and rudderless, too. We’re adrift on this sea of pain, unable to move or reach each other, waiting for the horizon to come to us.