I’m JessSea, and this is my story.
Some would say I killed the old me, but I assure you, she left on her own. It was just her time to go. Sure, she just up and disappeared quite unexpectedly, but we all have limited time on this earth. Our days are numbered, don’t you know?
To wrap it up, she’s long gone by now and, if I’m honest, hardly missed. Instead of her, it’s just me, sitting on the bed, sorting through boxes of things in my newly remodeled beach home. With my legs tucked underneath me, I casually flip through photos and bills. The rustling of the papers between my fingers competes with the roaring sound of the sea outside my window. The rhythmic movement of the water captures my attention. There’s just something about the way it dances beneath the sun. I let my gaze drift over the ocean, soaking it in. It stretches beautifully across the horizon. It’s coastal perfection. A stillness washes over me.
Forcing myself to focus, I draw my attention back to the box of pictures I had been half-heartedly sorting through for the past hour. Glancing at my baby picture with my face frozen in a yawn, I stare at it in wonder. Can you believe it only takes one ugly baby to change someone’s world? The warmth from the sun soaks through my window, drawing my attention back out to sea.
It’s breathtakingly blue today, maybe even turquoise. Whatever the shade, it seems to change right before my eyes. With my eyes on the waves and the rush of the ocean in my ears, I realize that, in this moment, I am happy.
Watching the birds glide gracefully above the ocean, my chest swells with gratitude as I try to soak this all in.
Some people wait a lifetime for a moment like this.
My eyes fill with grateful tears.
How did I even end up here? How did I end up so incredibly lucky?
I sit with those questions for a moment, but the answer doesn’t come to me. Instead, I find myself reminiscing. The past few years float through my mind like a chaotic dream. Despair, sadness, anger, frustration, pain. It’s all brought me here. Home. By the sea.
I’m now a firm believer that you have to taste the salt to appreciate the sweet. Really taste them. I can say that I’ve tasted each. Both thoroughly and individually. I’ve held them both in my mouth, letting the aftertaste linger on my tongue, even when I wanted to spit them out.
I bring myself back to the present, only to be greeted by the prehistoric photos in my hand. In them, I’m an infant and an ugly one at that.
Clutching the photos between my fingertips, the ugly baby in the pictures smiles happily back at me. I grasp exactly where my happy ending began.
The details slip my memory as if it was all a dream. Maybe it is a dream. Maybe I am dreaming.
Sorry. Back to this weird story.
Once upon a time, I was dropped as an infant. Perhaps that is the most relevant factor in all of this.
It was the year 1984, and with a head full of black hair, I entered the world kicking and screaming during the 13th hour. There I was, pink, precious, and fatherless. Well, not actually fatherless, but his name was left off my birth certificate nonetheless.
While my sperm donor flirted with the nurses down the hall, my mom was bringing an ugly baby girl into the world. Seriously, I was hideous. Ugly babies do exist, and I was one of them. I consider it a blessing that my parents split shortly after my grand entrance into the universe. Perhaps it was even meant to happen (if you believe in that sort of thing). Destiny. Fate. Irony. All of those things.
They say being abandoned will give you daddy issues. Somehow though, his absence, for whatever reason, never seemed to bother me. Maybe I was just born independent because it never occurred to me that I should mind.
As I transformed from my ugly baby form into a young girl, imagination takes center stage. Innovation and my love for color were a part of me long before I knew who I was. In my early years, it wasn’t nearly as appreciated as it is now, though. Especially if you ask my mother.
“Jessi!” My mother would scream. “You can’t color on the walls! We’re renting, for fucks sake.”
Wide-eyed and curious, I can’t help but wonder what renting is. Soaking in her angry expression, I don’t dare ask this question.
Of course, this isn't something my colorful imagination can possibly understand. Nonetheless, I mumble apologies to my mother as I watch her wipe away my artwork.
A few days later, I found a more creative place to color. Determined to keep my mother from becoming angry with me once again, I climb my little creative body to the top bunk and proceed to color on the ceiling instead.
By the time I’m done and the ceiling is littered with my fine artwork, I’m incredibly pleased with myself. My mother, however, is way less than pleased. As she’s screaming at me once again, I simply don’t understand.
I was just trying to color the world beautiful in the only way that I knew how at the time.
Little did I know that one day, I would color the world. At least parts of it. One jar at a time.