California came two weeks after a miserable break up.
I was devastated, heartbroken and exhausted.
Nothing was fitting clearly in my mind between the constant flow of excuses and reasons creeping in the corners of my brain and I was ready to jump in the ocean and let the waves carry me wherever they thought I should go.
Wind whipped my hair constantly and the waves would crash around my ankles as I hopped frantically out of the freezing water.
As I walked the beach, I would find pieces of broken shells everywhere. Soon, I found cracked sand dollars every few steps. The farther I would go, the more whole the sand dollars would become.
But I couldn’t find one that was whole.
Ironic, I thought to myself, the broken girl stumbles across all of the chipped and cracked sand dollars, never finding a whole one because she’ll never feel that way again.
On one of my last trips to the beach, I remember sitting in the sand, digging my toes as far as I could into the earth and covering my legs until a mini sand castle kept me warm.
I ran my hands through patterns upon patterns, the sand felt so good running through my fingers.
I came across this sand dollar that was 90% whole and I held it in my hands. I spoke aloud to the universe and I said “If I can find one whole sand dollar, please let that be a sign that everything is going to be okay.”
I can’t tell you how stupid I felt saying this to the ocean. However, I had complete confidence in those words and so I said them aloud a few more times, begging for the universe to show me that eventually I would be okay.
I walked for miles down the shore and found one more sand dollar that was not quite whole and I smiled. Maybe this was it. A sign that even though this sand dollar was chipped, it was beautiful. I told myself that this is what I would find.
Still, I kept walking along the ocean.
Not even a minute later, I spotted another white circle buried in waves.
I remember this moment clear as day.
I gasped and ran to it, gently lifting it from the wet sand and washing it in the next crest that came to shore.
It was whole.
That’s it, I thought, I will be whole again.
And it’s so strange that I needed the universe to tell me that I would be okay, but it did. Every trip to the beach after that never led me to another whole sand dollar.
It was my sign.
And maybe I made the entire coincidence up in my head in order to find the fight within me that I needed to heal.
But it worked.
I still have that sand dollar in my room, telling me that feeling whole is a process. I kept the broken one too if only to remind me that imperfection is still beautiful.