The Ocean Wants Me

Treading water
I can’t see the light
Can’t find the bottom
I’m losing the fight

Dark sky above
Cold water around
Pieces of my broken past
Scattered where they’re found

Lord can you help me
I’ve tried my best
Been treading for so long
Now I just want to rest

The ship of faith
hit rocks and sank
swallowed by the sea
A distant memory

Savior can you see
I’m treading water
Can’t see the light
Can’t find the bottom
I’m losing the fight

The ocean wants me
And I’m so tired
It feels so cold
I want to let go

I wrote this poem last year, when I was still married and stuck in what I have now come to realize was a very toxic and abusive marriage. I couldn’t find a sense of groundedness and I felt really lost and fearful all the time. I tried to cover up this feeling by keeping busy, but the feeling never left me.

As a result, for 9 years of my marriage, I took anti-depressants and sleeping pills to manage my fears, anxiety and general feelings of unrest in the marriage which affected every aspect of my health.

No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t find solid ground to stand on. When my marriage finally fell apart after my husband (now ex) violently assaulted me and then started victim blaming me to people in church and whoever would listen to his narrative, I was forced to stand still and really deal with my deepest fears of rejection and abandonment.

Surprisingly, it was the most freeing experience of my life – having to confront my biggest fears and realize that I had it in me to survive even that.

More recently, I took a deep dive into the world of psychology to understand myself and my marriage, to make sense of the past ten years of my life – the dysfunctional dance of relating which I had equated with love.

In my research, I chanced upon a research paper which talked about the human psyche. Freud defines the self as multi-layered. He talks about how it is made up of

1) The ID: the instinctual part of the identity that is motivated by primitive drives and the pursuit of immediate gratification of basic physical needs and urges, e.g the need for food, shelter, sex. It is noteworthy that this part of the self operates at an unconscious level.

2) The Superego: it is concerned with social rules and morals – normative expectations of what it means to be a good person. Some have likened it to a moral compass or even the conscience. The Superego is often said to be at odds with the ID, similar to the angel and the devil sitting on the right and left side on your shoulders, pulling you in opposite directions.

3) The Ego: this is the rational, pragmatic part of our personality, it is less primitive than the ID and is like the top part of an iceberg – partly exposed to the conscious mind but still largely driven by the unconscious. This is the part of the “self” that negotiates between the ID and the superego, striking a fine balance that allows the self to thrive and flourish.

The research paper talked about various neurosis – one of the most crippling kind of mental health issues is when your superego completely stifles your natural instincts. This means that even your rational ego is stifled by the dictates of the superego – the moralizing, judgmental part of yourself that is concerned with being “good” by the standards of religion and societal norms.

The analogy used for someone with this neurosis was that of a mermaid in the midst of a vast ocean, sitting in the middle of a leaky rowboat, desperately scooping water out so that she is not submerged by the sea.

But the irony is she is a mermaid.

I was so inspired by this picture that I ended up writing a song about it:

Mermaid

Sitting in the boat, desperately
scooping water out
You afraid to sink
Afraid to sink

Terrified of Drowning
Even though you have a tail
And water is
Your native world
Your native world

Can I be your mirror
Hold it up for you to see
The person you really are

You don’t need a boat
And you don’t have to stress
You, don’t even have to try
Your best


Can I hold you close
Tell you not to try with me
Letting go isn’t easy
But you can face reality


It’s not that hard
Just let go
Ooooohhh
Something better
coming your way


Deeper stronger
You’ll sink in deep water
And find yourself safe
In the depths of love and grace

Let yourself go
Let yourself go
Let yourself go

You’ll sink into water
You’ll sink into safety
You’ll sink into the life
You were born to live

Trust me my dear
You don’t have to try
Just let go…


And open your eyes

Mermaid by MeowMeowProject

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