I went to India after getting out of an extremely abusive 8-year relationship. My mother decided to join me for the first 3 weeks of my 3-month journey. She didn’t really know much about my crazy whirlwind of an experience, but she knew I wasn’t backing down on this couchsurfing adventure to a country I knew almost nothing about. I didn’t even want to do much planning because I needed the universe to tell me where to go.
At the time I had no fear. Mostly because, in my mind, I had nothing to lose. I had no value for my life. If I died, if someone raped me, so what?! If that’s the worst that could happen, I was ready. My mother thought it was frightening, so she took her entire year’s vacation to come on this journey and couchsurf with me to make sure I was ok before leaving me there on my own.
We got to our first destination, Kerala, in the south, and stayed with a family who lived by the ocean. I was happy to be there, though in a sad, slow-motion, dream-like state. On our 2nd day, my mother and I went to the beach. There weren’t many people on the beach, but a few scattered here and there. We lay in the sun and talked about how beautiful the south of India was. I decided to go in the water. My mother doesn’t really swim well, so she decided to stay on the sand because the waves seemed quite aggressive. She told me to be careful.
I ran into the warm ocean and turned to wave at my mother. As I did that, a wave smacked me from behind and I flew head first into the sand, and got pulled back by the water. I got up. My mother and a few other people had stood up, concerned to see if I was okay. I started giggling as I stood up. Smack! Another one. Again I was whipped by the wave into the sand, scratching my body lightly all over. I got up again, fighting the wave to not get completely sucked into the ocean. But instead of getting out of the water, I turned into the wave to get smacked down, again and again and again, willingly. Laughing hysterically at this point. At this point, everyone had finally settled down and were baking in the sun, after realizing that I was just some nutty girl who wanted to get her ass whooped by the sea. My laughter could be heard all the way down the ocean stretch, I’m sure of it. It was loud, from my gut, from my soul.
After a few more whip lashes, I ran out of the water, fumbling like a piece of Jell-O to my mother, laughing so hard I was crying. She got up to greet me and I hugged her, telling her how much I loved her and how happy I was she came on this trip with me. I realized then that I hadn’t laughed in 8 years. I had no idea of the true depression I had been in for almost a decade until that very moment when I laughed again. What a lesson. What a freedom. The kind of laughter that aches your belly and brings your cheeks all the way to your ears. There’s nothing better. What kind of life had I been leading without such a joy? I made a huge step forward in healing that day.