I felt a crack.
Like a fault line in my brain.
Or my tiny idealist heart shattering.
My sailing trip is now basically over. I said I wanted to test the boat in the harshest conditions both she and I could handle coastal, in winter, to see what we were capable of. I lived on the edges of the sea and my nervous system for seven months exploring from Maine to Maryland. I never had a plan. The boat was completely unfinished and barely hospitable. It was very cold. I was practicing seafaring. She was half seaworthy half dilapidated.
Things were starting to get to me under the current conditions, but it always all seemed to work out in the end. The boat and I came right up on our edge—of heavy weather, and I of my own mind.
Suddenly I more or less now know what my days will look like. I have a plan. My work is steady, the boat patiently waits for her refit which I can now slowly begin. The amenities are plentiful. The people are, fine. And yet I can’t help but feel like I’ve lost something.
For a while everything was really magical. All my dreams were coming true. There were ups and downs but overall, I felt this cosmic thread connecting my every move towards something larger and greater than myself. I was on the right path with my single handing, my career, my personal life and relationships. And everything around me physically reflected that.
This mindset took a long time to achieve and has not been without its regressions. In an attempt to break from self destructive tendencies and crippling self doubt I put notes all over the hull of my new boat with positive affirmations and coping mechanisms, to gain control of my mind and life.
It worked. But did it go too far?
One of the notes read: “Believe in yourself so much they think you are delusional.”
When you continuously have fated, innately romantic and profoundly passionate experiences in regard to every single facet of your life you start to wonder if perhaps the depth of your being and feeling is not magic at all, but a fault in your own wiring that makes you unfit for modern society and relationships.
I’ve often asked the question: do two people fall in love, or does love already exist and two people fall into it? This is a matter of idealism vs. materialism. In philosophy, idealism states that ideas create your material reality. In materialism it’s the material reality that creates ideas.
I am at odds with the material world.
This was apparent when I sailed my unfinished boat and paddled a poorly repaired kayak alone through New York City. Staring at the buildings with a pink sunset and the ocean in front of me it truly baffled me how I was literally the only one out there out of all those millions.
Soul mates. Death pacts. Planets and stars aligned. Astrology. Tarot. Sea witchery. I believed that all my boats had lead me here to this current boat and was symbolic of the spirit of sailing and adventure. That I’d done well in my travels. My dead friends were living on everywhere around me; In my books they gave me, the money they left me, the sea, and through smell. My living friends were serving as inspiration. I felt that despite my mistakes and wrong turns or perceived losses at the times—they all needed to happen so I could be as solid and focused on the dream and goal as I now am. Or, was…
“Do other people just not get to have this?” I asked my old friend Capt. Dan who was the first person to teach me about engineless sailing. “Not only do they not experience it, but they don’t even know it exists.”
I was this close to signing up for a subscription based predictive astrology service. Everything was meant to be and I was moving along with my life’s plans. And then I made a terrible mistake. I started researching. Scientifically, magic doesn’t exist. Only the mind’s ability to believe and perceive it. Science calls this magical thinking vs. the belief in magic. Magical thinking is more of an evolutionary adaptation of the human brain, perhaps in order to survive trying times… Magical thinking is proven to have cognitive and creative benefits. The actual belief in magic, however, has real world implication and historically lead people to cult like and political terrorist behavior, as well as isolation and individualism.
It seems I had fallen into a bit of a rabbit hole.
In one study they used questions such as “to what extent does the ocean have consciousness,” as a quantitative element of how to measure magical belief. It’s no wonder I got swept away living so close to the sea. It’s the only way I know how to survive. If you take away my belief or faith in a person, or a boat, or myself —it stops existing. So who is to say magic doesn’t exist, so much as I’m the one in control of its existence?
I’ve always said that boats are greater than the sum of their parts. How something so simple can be capable of driving something so complex— an adventure through the natural, social, and inner world. Maybe that’s why I do it, because the sea is closest thing to magic I could find.
SUPPORT THE ARTS! Thank you for your interest in maritime literature and other multimedia ventures on the high and low seas!