DAY FOUR: Confused Seas

McGraw-Hill defines a confused sea as “A highly disturbed water surface without a single, well-defined direction of wave travel.” Craig Smith describes it in his book “Extreme Waves” as a sense that something has changed.

When you are on a long passage in the open ocean, you will find that a certain rhythm is established. The motion of the vessel, repeated hundreds of times every hour, becomes a ballet that sailors sense almost without thinking. It guides their movements along the deck or within the cabin. They know instinctively when to lean to the starboard because in a moment the boat will roll to the port side and so on. This ballet of movement is accompanied by a symphony of sounds—the sound of the rigging, the creaking and groaning of mast stays, the sloshing sound of water passing the hull; all become part of a familiar melody.

My senses become finely tuned to sound and movement. At night, asleep in Dreams when someone else is on watch, if the roll of the boat shifts slightly, or if a certain sound changes pitch or a “clunk” becomes a “clink,” I find myself instantly awake, asking myself, “What changed?”

This is just about where I find myself. I was going along “fine” and then something changed in my life. I realized that I could not move forward in my life and accomplish what I wanted to accomplish safely without getting rid of some weight. Even though I have a CLEAR goal in mind, I am in turmoil inside and questioning why I made this change in the first place. And although I do have a well defined direction of travel, it feels like I do not. I am confused and my body is confused. I am adjusting to 30/10 and have been enjoying preparing foods I traditionally eat in new and different ways. My brain understands that I have all of the nutrition it needs but this same brain is telling me all day long that I am hungry…that I have not been satisfied and that I need something else. What my brain exactly wants it refuses to tell me outside of “I need more food”. I am not craving anything special or specific…I just want to eat more food. My desire to chew some gum has not gone away…the panic I feel when I have eaten and do not feel full has not diminished. I am almost to the point where I don’t even care about my weight number anymore…I just want my hunger to go away. This is almost where I have given up before.

As every mariner knows…the sea always calms down. The storms always subside. Mariners also know that smooth seas never make skillful sailors. It’s the rough waters that teach them how to navigate their boat to safety. “Ride with the waves, smooth seas lie ahead”. I received that statement that maybe 15 years ago now in a Chinese fortune cookie. I was going through some traumatic and trying times and feeling the same sense of hopelessness as I feel now. I opened that fortune and read it it utter shock. It was exactly what I needed that day, month, and year. It was what I needed to get me through that rough patch and it is what I will continue to rely on as I move through this storm in my life.

smooth seas

Just as mariners rely on their compass and charts to get them to save harbor, my nautical tools were delivered to me today in a beautiful box. My sister solicited help from my “shipmates” without my knowledge…she asked all who I hold near and dear to send me something that I can turn to when the sea is just too rough. I now have a box of what I am assuming are letters and small tokens filled with words of encouragement or shared stories of struggle that will help me shift my focus away from the storm and to the smooth seas lying just ahead. It is one of the greatest gifts I have ever received. I have always known I have the support of these people and I have called on and appreciated it. But to have a physical declaration of this love and support radiating my way is inspiringI will build my strong ship and sails from the paper and pens which these words were sent upon. The sea will calm…the storm will pass…and Poseidon himself, I think, will guide me to my safe harbor of love, understanding, and long life.

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To those who sent something- thank you. These words-thank you-seem inadequate for the unbelievable gift you have given me. Know that they will be cherished and protected through this storm and all storms ahead. Mariathank you. You always seem to take an accurate inventory of my toolbox and supply it with exactly what I need for the task ahead. I could not find safe harbor without you. 

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