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As a child, we rarely went to the beach. Our backyard was a rainforest, outdoors time was spent amount the tall trees with deep roots, our shade a canopy of filtered sunlight. Our play equipment were vines and mudslides. My brother and I spent hours in that place, exploring the wild.

My parents were worriers, much like I tend to be sometimes. The beach wasn’t known to be a safe place, so much could go wrong. It wasn’t until I became a parent myself did I appreciate the joy the beach provides. My children love to run and scream. We live in a small street surrounded by houses on every fence line, so we have to keep noise to a minimum. Inside voices, no running on the road. So many rules. That’s why the beach is so special to us. There are no rules, except the obvious ones. They can scream their lungs out, be completely free, and the ocean doesn’t mind. They can run until their legs give out, we can still see that they’re safe.

But what does the beach mean to me, as a single entity?

Freedom.

Cleansing.

Releasing my inner child.

Releasing my fear.

Today, along with my best friend Emma, I pushed through the breaking waves to reach the calm. We floated and chatted. We shivered until our bodies adjusted to the chill. The sky was overcast and the weather was humid. It was perfect. We watched our children play with their dads on the shoreline, marvelled at the life we had made. We laugh, connected. Fear wouldn’t have allowed me to push through those waves only 5 years ago. I didn’t know there was a calm just passed their violence. I didn’t know I was capable.

Yet here I am, a 32 year old woman, mother of two children, wife of a loyal husband, friend of a dozen supportive tribe members.

Waves crash against me and I keep moving.

The chill strikes my bones and I keep going.

The ocean calls out my name and I come running.

I adapt with the tide and the tide guides me.

I will never just sit on the shore again.

I belong in the ocean.