By Leah Barker
I fell in love with the ocean the first time I saw it. Its vastness, its depth, and its mystery have always astounded me. I love the blueish hue it gives off when it’s in its purest form, and sound of the waves crashing against the shore. I’ve always considered my life to be a metaphoric picture of everything that the sea represents: How it’s unpredictable like its hidden undercurrents, incomprehensible like the undiscovered creatures that hide within it’s depths, and beautiful like a sandy beach whose horizon ends in a pink sunset that seems to drop off at the edge of the world.
Our soul is an ocean, even though we are afraid of its deep waters and stormy waves. Sometimes in life, we need to embrace our fears for the purpose of overcoming them and taking hold of everything that scares us so that we can control it rather than letting it control us.
For that reason, we let ourselves venture out into the deepest parts of the sea. It makes us feel alive as we dangle our feet beneath a depth that holds a world of it’s own-a world full of curious creatures and carnivorous creations.
That is where we found our Octopus. He goes by four names: Huntington’s Disease, Mental Illness, Tragedy, and Hope.
The Octopus holds our secrets, much like the ocean, and mysteries of individual depth. He is an active predator, venomous in nature, and fierce in protecting his home, attacking anything that threatens to take away who he is and what he’s built.
He is also known for his skillful escape tactics and ability to regenerate. If a tentacle is ripped off, he is able to grow another limb that is just as strong as the one before.
The Octopus stands for everything we are. We are warriors, fighters, and unstoppable when we realize and accept what we are truly capable of.
When we inevitably lose a part of ourselves during our battles, we are able to regenerate the pieces that have been torn off and devoured by our enemies. We learn to fight quicker and sharper, growing stronger and more venomous after each opponent knocks us down.
We are each individuals who hide inside the Great Mystery of the ocean. Though we have torn through tragedy, mental illness, and disease, each of our stories are different. Though our struggles may seem similar, they are all unique to who we are. Nobody has been in our exact shoes or walked the same path, therefore our stories must be told.
After camouflaging itself inside of his habitat, The Octopus eventually emerges, displaying his true natural color and design to be glorified by the ocean’s eyes.
We are choosing to do the same.
Though we named The Octopus after some very heavy burdens that life has the ability to hand us, we choose to embrace it and wear it as a symbol to show off the scary parts of who we are…and set out to wage war against anyways, head held high.
This is the part of our Octopus that we call hopeful. We can fight, wrapping our tentacles around our burdens tighter and tighter until they can’t breathe any more.
We can do all of this using what we named our octopus: Huntington’s, Mental Illness, and Tragedy, and when we emerge victorious, we call him Triumph.
We are Capturing The Corners. We are The Octopus. We are Hope.