I am currently on vacation in Bethany Beach, DE, and this is what came to mind as I was sitting on the deck of the beach house, watching the waves crash the beach.
It’s funny, I’ve seen so many people talk about feeling so small when they stare at the ocean. They realize that they are so tiny when confronted with water that seems to go on and one and on forever. The vastness overwhelms them. They wonder about their place in the world, thinking they are so insignificant. But I don’t feel that way.
Instead, when I stare at the ocean, I see an infinite number of possibilities. On land, I feel like all the human beings are crammed together like crackers in a sleeve (think Ritz here), always forced to conform, to fit into the narrow packaging they are given. They all have to be the same shape, the same size, in order to be part of the group or quality control will throw them out as defective. And these people do everything that they can in order to fit in, to not stand out.
I’ve never fit in well into the narrow sleeve that I was given; I’ve always stood out…whether it is because I tend to think deeply and over-analyze everything, because I like to wear bright colors, or because I have an odd sense of humor that few people understand, I always get those funny looks from the rest of the people, or the crackers in the sleeve. I feel I’m a triangle trying to fit into a round package. I don’t conform well to others’ expectations of me. I don’t fit in, which has made it very hard for me to find my place in the world. At the same time that I don’t fit in, I get bombarded with the message that I have to change in order to be more like everyone else. Yet, some people still tell me to stand out, not fit in. The dichotomy is confusing and, at times, a little overwhelming.
But when I look at the ocean…the wide open spaces, the beauty and the majesty, the way the waves strike the beach, unaware of the people who might be affected, I feel inspired. I feel like I can do anything. I feel like there is space for me in the world, even though I don’t fit into the norm. I don’t feel tiny and insignificant. I feel alive, released from the prison of civilization, which traps people in cages of shoulds and musts.
I feel like there is a place where a triangle cracker can stretch out, find a home, and be at peace. In the ocean lies infinite possibilities. And I am inspired when I stare at the beauty and majesty in front of me.